Monday, September 26, 2011

Some things I miss about home...

I do not dwell on this much at all, now that we’re living in tight quarters it makes us all be more thankful for the ‘conveniences’ of home…

  1. Space…there’s plenty of room to cook and work and breathe.
  2. Solid floors…at home they don’t quiver whenever you take a step.
  3. Lots of fridge, freezer and pantry space…we shop way more often than we would at home!
  4. Sharp pencils and an electric pencil sharpener…it’s inconvenient to have pencils that don’t sharpen well in a hand sharpener.
  5. A huge kitchen…I can’t experiment and do new recipes in a tiny kitchen that also serves as a family room and dining room and office.
  6. Real linens on beds…we use sleeping bags now because you don’t launder them.
  7. My wonderful bookshelves and book boxes and books…I ran out of reading material about three weeks ago. :)
  8. Good, solid internet and four computers…no squabbling for turns and no spotty internet.
  9. An endless amount of fresh, clean water at ready use…we are constantly filtering water in one pitcher.
  10. Our yard…I just miss it.
  11. Showers…the ones in camps are public (need I say more?) and ours in the trailer is about as big as an upright casket.
  12. Normal, daily life…life in the trailer is a whole new routine and we’re still perfecting it.
  13. Friends and Saints…we have loved spending time just as a family, but of course it gets lonely. :(
  14. Faith…the sweetest, fluffiest, doggish-like cat in the world.
  15. Our piano…setting the keyboard up works but is a pain to do. 

So that’s my list of wistful homesickness.  Y’all are so blessed to have a computer to read this on in a chair in a house, don’t take it for granted!  Everything we have is a gift, including the very breath you are taking.  Praise the Lord for the things we have and are being given!

We spend a weekend in Maine

The last three days have been spent in Maine, the most eastern state in America.  I will start with Saturday…

After unhooking the truck and leaving the rig in Black Woods Campground, we drove to nearby Bar Harbor to do some looking and shopping.  Walking up and down the streets in the rain was fine, because there were lots of canopies to duck under and it wasn’t cold.  And of course we bought things!  I love all the “Life Is Good” stores over here in the East, they’re always so optimistic!  You walk in and smile. 

Even though it was a foggy, misty day, it created a neat scene over the harbor.  It was fun to watch all the traffic on the water, from the lobster boats to the great Queen Elizabeth II, which was in port for all the European tourists to go into town and buy cheap souvenirs.  There was an enormous, 138-foot long charter yacht in port called the Redemption, and we gawked at that for a while too.

A local recommended Stewman’s restaurant for dinner.  Dad, Delaney and I got ladles of lobster bisque, and Miss Libbey got clam chowda’.  She tried the bisque, but found it ‘disgusting’…as she put it.  It was really quite good, at least by our mature taste buds. :)  Mom got a 1 ¼ pound lobster, freshly boiled.  It looked scary, but gourmet!  I tried a bit of a claw, and I found it rather good.  It is chewy and really doesn’t have any strong taste at all, almost bland.  But it was rather unusual to look at the head of the lobster and eat its claw at the same time!

Libbey's reaction to mom's meal

Viewing the lobster boiling after dinner

After dinner, we went downstairs and looked at the tanks full of live lobster, as well as the huge boiling pots.  A chef pulled out a 4 ¼ pound lobster out and posed for a picture (the lobster’s claws were tied closed with elastics).

On this day, the Lord’s Day, was spent enjoying God’s amazing handiwork.  Mom and I exercised in the morning and we all prepared to leave the campground.  Then we took the truck up Cadillac Mountain.  It was a foggy morning, but thankfully it blew over and we got to see the magnificent view of Maine, the harbors and isles, ships on the water and clouds hovering above.  Cadillac Mt. is the tallest coastal peak in the eastern U.S., its elevation being about 1,500 feet!  At home in CA, that’s just a hill!  But it really does have a great view of the beautiful state. 
Morning dew on pine needles

Cadillac Mountain view

We took a tour bus in the afternoon, to another harbor and the surrounding Acadia National Park.  The colors are starting to really pop and were nestled in the leaves of green.  It was very lovely.  And that’s just the beginning of autumn!

Random roadside waterfall

The Lord put us back on the road on Sunday evening, after a superbly healthy, most delicious pre-dinner of whoopie pie, chocolate coffee cake and blueberry bismarks!  Yum!!  (Well, you never know which meal will be your last!).  Then dad pulled this image up on his map...our route...

Sunday evening held a turn of events.  When we were pulled over at a rest stop about an hour out of Bar Harbor to eat dinner, dad discovered a problem with the trailer.  A part from underneath was broken and dragging on the road.  Dad called Mr. Becker for advice and then he tried to decide what to do.  After about 15 minutes, a trucker pulled into the parking lot.  Dad went up to him and introduced himself, then explained our problem and asked if he could help.  The guy was an older man, and confirmed that we had a broken leaf spring.  He said that we could probably drive at 45 mph. all the way down to Boston if we wanted too, but it would probably be safer to sleep in the nearby truck stop and get it into a shop in the morning.  We thanked the man and he got in his truck and drove away.  It was then that we realized that he hadn’t done anything else, at the rest stop!  He just drove up, helped us and then drove away!  It was a real God-thing. 

So, we drove to a truck stop in Bangor and slept there.  We were too tired to really care about where we were.  The next morning, we got our truck into a shop at 6:55 a.m...  It is now mid-morning as I write this in Bangor library, awaiting the call from the shop.  It should be fixed pretty soon, and we are all so grateful that the Lord provided the quick service we needed, instead of having to wait maybe a week to get the part we need. 

“…With God, all things are possible…”

Lord willing, we’ll be back on the road in the next few hours and get to the Boston area tonight.  We should then find a campground to spend the week in, and tour around.  Susanna Telian is flying in tomorrow afternoon to spend nine days with us, and I’m SO excited!!  It will be nice to see a familiar face from home. 

This was our weekend in Maine.  Oh, and we couldn't leave the state without Libbey picking up some of the local accents... :)

You know you're in Maine when...

...You see these magnets in every tourist store...

The latest Libbey-isms

Ever since we’ve slowed the trip down a bit, our family has gotten into a habit of being night owls and then sleeping in late.  So, the other day, when everyone was awake and moving around (except for dad of course).  Libbey asked mom if she could tell daddy something.  Mom said, “No, he’s sleeping”.  Libbey looked over at dad, who was had just woken up and was watching.  Turning back to mom she said, “But his eyes are awake!”

This afternoon after lunch, we girls were laughing and joking about how we were going to marry “rich guys”.  Libbey was going right along, and said, “Delaney, if you don’t marry a rich guy, you’ll get no money and just the receipts!”  That was so funny, but Libbey probably laughed the hardest of us all!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Boston pictures

Since it is a very tedious and tiring task to upload 111 pictures onto a blog, I've made another web album of the Freedom Tour through Boston on the 18th.  Click here to see the album and have fun!  I love comments, so send your feedback!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ramblings of a history buff

Yesterday, in the early afternoon, our family got in the truck and drove to downtown Boston for an afternoon of history and discovery.  But before we get there, let me tell you about where we are…

Instead of staying in Manchester until Friday, (which is what my last post told) dad drove us to Salisbury, Massachusetts instead.  We’re all very glad he did that.  We are staying in Salisbury Beach State Park campground, just walking distance from Salisbury Beach.  I saw (and felt) the Atlantic ocean for the first time yesterday, what fun!  It is much bluer than the Pacific, at least here, and the waves are far too small to even boogie-board in, even at high tide.  The beach here is very large, with soft sand and not a lot of people this time of year.  I love it.  I think it will be a good week.

Back to Boston…we began the historic “Freedom Tour” at around 1:30, after parking underground and strolling through Boston Common, the oldest public park in America.  It was the site of public celebrations, duels, spirited oratory and hangings.  Frog Pond is almost right in the middle, and in the wintertime it is a public skating area.  It was a lovely place and just hopping with all sorts of activity. 

The second stop on the tour was Massachusetts State House.  It was completed in 1798 at five times the budget, and has a gilded dome with 23-carat gold leaf. 

Third was Park Street Church, built in 1809, was nicknamed the “Brimstone Corner”, both for the fire-and-brimstone sermons given there and to the gunpowder stored in the crypt during the War of 1812.  It was once the first landmark a traveler saw when approaching the city. 

Next to the Park Street Church was the Granary Burying Ground, the third oldest graveyard in Boston.  I don’t know if anyone outside my family knows this, but I LOVE graveyards!  I know it sounds weird, but I’m just fascinated by them.  The old, chipped, worn stones and the weedy, winding trails, the eloquent inscriptions that send chills down your spine, I love it.  Not only was it huge, but it is the final resting place of many prominent Bostonians.  We saw the graves of all five Boston Massacre victims, Ben Franklin’s parents, Paul Revere, John Hancock, Samuel Adams and eight governors of Boston.  I had a ball. 

Point of historical interest #5:  the King’s Chapel.  Another old church, actually the first in Boston.  The canopied Governor’s pew is just as elaborate as it was 200 years ago, and the pipe organ and original offering box are still used.  Neighboring the church is Boston’s oldest burying ground, where we looked upon the graves of John Winthrop, William Dawes and Mary (nee Chilton) Winslow.  Mary is believed to be the first pilgrim to step off the Mayflower.  That was really neat as well.

The first public school was the next attraction.  Ben Franklin went there, for two years before dropping out on account of orneriness. J  Ralf Waldo Emerson also attended there as a student.  Can you imagine being Ralf Waldo Emerson’s classmate?!  Girls were first admitted in 1972, so I guess they didn’t have any distractions when studying… ;)

#8:  the Old Corner Bookstore.  My favorite place of course!  In the mid-1800’s, it was a thriving publishing center.  Works by Ticknor and Fields, Dickens, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Tennyson, Hawthorne, Emerson, Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Julia Ward Howe and many others were originally published there.  Now the building’s just a Chipotle Mexican restaurant, but I was still excited to see it!  I love books, old books and reading, and having read books by most of those authors, it was a neat thing for me.  I can highly recommend all the authors, if you are the type that loves a reading challenge!

Just across the street was our next destination, the Old South Meeting House.  (For those who listen to “Jonathan Park”, listen to “The Mysterious Host” adventure in volume 6).  It is another church, much like the rest, but very pretty and old.  It is an entirely brick building with a clock tower that has a lovely, old clock with roman numerals on it.  Definitely a building that makes the Bostonians proud. 

After walking through winding city streets with cobblestone roads and brick buildings, we came upon the Old State House Museum, the site of the Boston Massacre and the Faneuil Hall.  Those places were famous for the anti-slavery speeches made my William Lloyd Garrison, clashes between Colonists and British troops and the reading of the Declaration of Independence.  After following the red brick path a while longer, we stopped in front of Paul Revere’s home.  It was a modest, brown, two-story structure with a small courtyard in back and diamond-glass windows.  I was glad to see that there wasn’t an elaborate statue or marker, just a simple hanging sign bearing the words:

Here Lived
-Paul Revere-

Our next stop was another church, the Old North Church.  Same as the others in looks, with the original bells brought to the Colonies.  More than 1,000 individuals lay in rest in its underground crypt, including the Royal Governor’s second-in-command at Lexington and Concord.  Cool. 

We skipped Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, even I was getting tired of graveyards and ‘here lies…’  Walking with determination, we reached the U.S.S. Constitution just in time to catch the second-to-last guided tour.  In case you don’t know what the U.S.S. Constitution is, she’s the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world.  Made of wood and launched in 1797, she won every single battle that crossed her path and there were many.  Constitution earned the nickname “Old Ironsides” when, during the War of 1812, they were battling an enemy ship.  Cannonballs from enemy cannons were flying thickly, yet they were bouncing off the hull of Constitution!  Not one ever penetrated it.  When a crewmember saw this, he shouted, “Huzzah!  Her sides are made of iron!”  A very fascinating and historical site and one we would all recommend.

Thus ended our Freedom Tour through Boston.  It took us almost 5 hours, but we really took our time.  Taking a small ferry across the harbor, we then walked to Quincy Market for dinner.  For those who’ve never been to (or heard) of Quincy Market, it is a food lover’s heaven.  The building has one long food court with many ethnicities and prices, from Italian pubs to Japanese cuisine to Boston clam ‘chowda’!  Mom and I got bowls of the best chicken teriyaki we’d ever eaten, and enjoyed every bite.  Dad and the littles got clam ‘chowda’.  It wasn’t the quietest place to end the day, nor the most relaxing, but at least the food was good! 

It was a very quiet, peaceful drive home that night.  A good way to spend a Sunday and a great way to start a new week.  I’ll see if I can get pictures out tomorrow, we’ll see.  I like to keep y’all guessing. J        

Saturday, September 17, 2011

One-month milestone!!

Today is our one-month anniversary of our enormous road trip.  It has gone by surprisingly (or not surprisingly) fast, and we have been busy ever since dad put the pedal to the metal.  It has been an incredible, memorable adventure so far and every day there are new and exciting things to see, some that we have been planning for years.

A funny story:  yesterday we were in Montpelier, Vermont, to see the capitol.  When we drove into the tiny, old city with narrow streets and brick buildings, dad parked the rig along the road, taking up three spaces.  They each had parking meters, so dad went into the visitor’s center to ask if there was anywhere else to park, since this was the smallest town in America with a capitol building and was not trailer-friendly at all.  The man helping him was an older local, and let him in on a little secret.  “Let me give you some insight information,” he told dad.  “I know the meter maid personally, and she’s already done her rounds today.  You can set your clock by her.  So I would just put two quarters in the front meter and not worry about it.”  So dad went out, put two quarters in the first meter and we spent almost two hours touring the capitol!

Anyway, I made a list of statistics for the (hopeful) enjoyment of you readers.  During this first month of traveling, we have:

-been through 15 states
-driven about 4,500 miles
-spent $487.00 on campground fees
-found all the state license plates except Hawaii
-used about 450 gallons of gas
-spent 9 nights in Wal-Mart parking lots
-taken over 1,880 pictures

We’ve also been through some cities and towns with interesting names, like Rome, Corinth, Weed and Lovelock.  So, I can honestly say that I’ve been to Rome!!  Maybe someday I’ll make it to Rome, ItalyJ

For those going, “Okay, okay…now WHERE ARE YOU ANYWAY?!?!” I will tell you.  Today we drove from Concord, New Hampshire to Manchester.  We tried to visit the capitol building in Concord, but they were closed.  We did stop in a candy store for treats, walked around and talked a bit with a lady involved with National Day of Prayer.  She was sitting in the capitol building grounds and reading God’s Word through a mike.  That was a neat thing. 

I will try to post some pictures soon, we’ll see.  I thought that the humungous web album would keep y’all happy for a while, but maybe you’re ready for some more?  Comment and let me know!  For now, I must go and engage with the family…

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Happy birthday mommy!!!!!

Today we celebrated mom's **th birthday!! ;)  We started out the morning perfectly, a nice scenic drive and fresh apple cider donuts--fabulous!  At the same shop that we got the donuts, mom also bought a fabric basket and a jug of pure maple syrup. 

Later we had a late picnic lunch on the shores of Lake Champlain, and the whole beach was quiet, peaceful and empty.  Mom picked a grilled chicken caesar salad (yummy), ciabatta bread, chocolate milk (good brand, tasted heavenly) and tiramisu cheeseball with Nilla Wafers.  We also had a small cake of maple sugar candy, which was a delicious, literally melt-in-your-mouth delicacy.  It was a great picnic and just what mom wanted.  Picnics are one of her favorite things, so why would we do anything else?

This evening dad took mom out to a nice dinner in downtown Burlington.  I highy reccomend dinner dates to celebrate birthdays--they're wonderful (I've been on several myself, with dad of course!).

Mom has been a wonderful example of a godly woman to me.  I admire her in so many ways: her love for the Lord and her loyalty to prayer, the way she serves and loves her husband and daughters and so many other things.  I wish I could be more like her.  We've had our bumps and struggles as everyone does, but I can honestly say that my mom is my best friend.  We've laughed, cried, prayed, and lived life together.  She's the best mom in the world, and I won't admit to being biased! 

A look into a STP (aka Snoopy Trailer Person)

Ah, snoopy trailer people.  They look just like you and me.  Some have families; some are just old retired couples looking to have a good time.  All own a home on wheels.

As a snoopy trailer person, you are expected to walk the talk.  It is not hard, you just need time, a good attention span and another person (that makes it more fun).  How to do it:  Start by looking out of the window with the best view of the rig closest to you.  Observe what it is doing.  Is it pulling in?  Maybe it is well established.  Or perhaps its occupants are gearing up to leave.  Either way, you are in for a show.  If they are pulling in, observe how the people work together to get the rig parked, leveled and set up.  If it is a couple, do they work well together?  Do they dress alike?  Maybe they are just a bickering husband and wife who seem make things work even when they disagree on every aspect.  That is usually very amusing.  If there are children, they may jump out of the vehicle like pogo sticks and run amuck, or they could act like angels and help their dear parents who are trying to make everything perfect.  It is always fun if it is an old, sweet-looking couple who have their beloved dog with them (a.k.a. their spoiled baby). 

On that note, I recall once when we were staying in Yellowstone, the RV across the street from us had a little white poodle (we guessed it was a female).  When they arrived, they unhooked their little Jaguar sedan and went inside to get Fluffy.  When they came out, Fluffy had a pink leather jacket on with a shiny collar and something on her paws.  The woman lovingly carried her 10 feet to the car and buckled it in its little dog car seat.  They drove away as dear as can be.  When they came back a few hours later, they pulled in, parked the sedan and reached in to unbuckle Fluffy.  Lo and behold, she had a new outfit, I don’t remember exactly the style but it was probably a girly color and I think it had rhinestones on it.  Whew, talk about people who love their dogs.  You see, only snoopy trailer people can notice that much…

You ask, ‘How do you spot a snoopy trailer person?’  Well, ‘tis quite easy: If the owners of the rig are sitting outside during anytime of day, and you happen to walk (or ride) by, often they will watch you coming from a distance.  You will warily watch them stare at you out of the corners of your eyes.  As you pass, they will grin and wave.  (You respond any way you like).  Another sign: they can often be seen staring out of their windows, whispering to their partner or watching something or someone with ever-widening eyes.  Others are more discreet, casting furtive glances in a certain direction every so often.  Still, each one is a snoopy trailer person and are good at what they do.  We are snoopy trailer people.  It’s awesome.  It’s fun.  It’s snoopy. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Just an update

For those wondering exactly where we are at this time, we are spending the week in North Beach campground.  (I sort of wish it was the North Beach in Pismo, but it's not).  It's in Burlington, Vermont, actually, and it is right on Lake Champlain.  We have a fairly peaceful campground, and the only noises are the wind in the trees and the football game going on at the neighboring high school right now...

We girls went to the downtown area today.  Church street, a pedestrian-only shopping attraction, has some neat perches and we enjoyed ourselves very much.  We went to Borders, which was in it's final days of existence.  A yummy lunch at a local bagel shop and a Yankee Candle store were the highlights for us, those and the April Cornell outlet.  

Dad has been having good internet and has been working as usual.  We've been eating all our meals outside at the wooden table because his 'office' is the entire dinette.  That is all fine, except that from 3:00 in the afternoon to dark the mosquitoes are horrendous.  They bite, through bug spray and everything.  

It's been a nice stay, although rather expensive, if you count up all the quarters we've used for showers.  School is back on, and our days are less leisurly than before, but it has been a nice stay.  More to come in the next days, hopefully.   

Thursday, September 8, 2011

In which we have pictures, pictures and more pictures!!!!!

I have finally made a Picasa web album of the trip so far.  It has 224 pictures on it, so I won't be doing them very often.  But I was getting requests for LOTS of pictures, so for those who asked--here they are!  It is a pretty detailed, well-captioned view of what's been happening.  To see the web album, click here and enjoy! 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Delights in my smallest sister

Ever since the start of our trip, Libbey has been full of cute little quirks and jokes that never fails to brighten our faces.  During the first couple days on the road, she was making up lots of very long, very detailed riddles that made no sense to us, yet she cracked her self up every time.  That was pretty funny, not the riddles but Libbey herself. 

One of Libbey’s absolute favorite activities in the world is her bike.  For the first week and a half, she was riding her first bike, and little 12-inch pink bike that she named ‘Sparkle’.  She rode Sparkle all the time, putting anything remotely interesting or pretty in her white ‘wicker’ basket.  But it now being too small for her, Libbey wobbled and jerked around, sometimes falling.  Nevertheless she always picked herself back up and kept going.  She just delighted in her bike.  But once we got to Nate and Sally’s, dad had decided that he was going to get her a new one.  During a shopping trip, we found a hot pink, 16-inch, almost-new bike at Goodwill for $25.  When we got home, dad went and bought it, cleaned it up and put Libbey’s bike basket on it.  When it was ready, Sally and I ushered Libbey outside to see a ‘surprise’ and she was thrilled!  She went at once to go put her pants, shoes and helmet on.  When she got on and rode around the street, she didn’t wobble or jerk a bit, much less fall down.  We cheered and she beamed!  Now, we are in Niagara Falls area and she rides all day, every day.  She has named her ‘Sprinkle’, and cares diligently for her.  When she rides she often sings or talks to herself, and sometimes finds the company of Lucy Pevensie, her imaginary friend that also has a pink bike.  After a ride Libbey usually washes Sprinkle off at the spigot, and feeds her grass or pebbles.  At night she gently lays her down under the awning or a tree and puts her to bed.  It is truly a delight to see Libbey so content, and it is so much easier. 

Children have such an amazing imagination.  How sad that we eventually lose that priceless, pure, undefiled imagination that brings us so much contentment and joy in our childhood!  It is a gift that we can see it in our own children and siblings, and see yet again how much delight it brings to those who have it. 

Niagara Falls

We have spend two nights in 4-Mile Camground, a few miles from Niagara Falls.  The first day we arrived we went to see the falls.  We didn't have to pay the $10 entrance fee because of the camground we're staying in, which is great because now we can go back and forth to Niagara Falls anytime while we're here. 

At my first glimpse of the immense waterfalls, I was in awe of the greatness and might of the water, how it went from a tumbling, swirling river to an avalanche of white, frothing water that made great clouds of mist and flitting rainbows.  We saw American Falls first, then walked over a pedestrian bridge to Goat Island and viewed Bridal Veil and Horseshoe Falls.  Despite the overcast day we were having, it was a majestic sight and sound, and the walkways were flooded with people.  While we were at one overlook to Horseshoe Falls, watching as the river plummeted to the gorge below, we all watched as a seagull calmly floated down the river that was going right over the edge.  For some reason I thought that I would watch this poor bird go right over the falls to its death, and didn't even consider the fact that it had wings and could the little bird floated right over the edge, and about 10 feet down it raised its wings and soared through the mist.  It was really neat.  

Niagara Falls is a beautiful, unique place in God's creation that really displays His power and majesty.  I highly reccomend it to be an item on your bucket list,  preferably near the top (just in case you don't get to the bottom).  But seriously, it is a fabulous place and one I'll never forget. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sunday and Mishaps

We began Sunday morning attending a very old First Congregational church in Painesville, Ohio.  Not our first choice, though as we drove by we noticed that the next service was to start at 11 a.m., and it was 10:58.  So we decided to give it a try. 

After the service, we drove a bit to Lake Erie, where we had a nice lunch and got our feet wet in the lake (I stuck one toe in, literally).  Libbey could have dived in, but we didn’t let her get wet past her knees…

When we had all finished, we got in the truck and drove down the highway towards Hamburg, New York.  Just a few miles before crossing the border, a couple cars had passed us, windows rolled down and waving their arms in frantic gestures to tell us something.  We gathered that there was something wrong with the bikes, but we couldn’t imagine what.  Unfortunately, we were on a major highway, and we were in the right lane with no shoulder due to construction work.  The only shoulder was on the left lane, with traffic barriers in front.  Try pulling over onto that shoulder with 28 feet of trailer behind you (not to mention it was raining).  But we did it, and we were in for a shock at what had happened.  Our single-arm bike rack (loaded with four mountain bikes) had completely bent and split, leaving it literally hanging on the hitch.  So they had probably been hanging there for just a few minutes, and had been skidding across the highway.  Praise God the whole thing didn’t come off and cause an accident, and none of the bikes were harmed except for mine, which was on the outside.  My right handle and my derailleur were slightly ground down by the skidding on the asphalt, but my right pedal was in shreds.  I’m just glad it was mine and not any of the other bikes, and that nothing else was wrong with mine.  In fact, in the motion of the rack breaking, a handle of the innermost bike had punctured a small hole in our trailer!  Dad’s going to have to fill it with silicone.  And forget about the bike rack, it was ruined.

So dad, mom and I got all the bikes off the rack and took the rack off.  We put the rack in the storage area, and put the bikes in the trailer padded with sheets and such.  We got pretty greasy hands and kind of wet, and every time a semi truck went by the whole trailer would shake, but we moved fast.  Pretty soon we were back on the road again, still a little baffled at what had happened and thinking about what to do next.  We’re going to need to get another bike rack shipped to us, somehow, and get a new pedal for my bike.  But we’re all glad nothing much worse happened, that all the bikes are okay to ride and that the trailer puncture…well…we’ll have to think about that one.      

When you’re on a road trip, there’s bound to be a few mishaps here and there.  I just hope they don’t come too often…

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Creation Museum in Kentucky

Yesterday we drove through Indiana, a tiny bit of Ohio and into Kentucky for a day at the Creation Museum.  It's the largest Christian-based museum in America, and is most certainly worth the money it takes to be there.  We spent half a day there, from 12:00 to 6:00. 

When we got there, we went in and got tickets.  We purchased tickets to see the whole museum, plus the planetarium and the "Men in White" presentation.  After purchasing the tickets, we got a couple pictures taken (even though we never buy them later) and then did the walking tour of the outside gardens.  It was a short maze of trails through beautiful, lush plants.  Unfortunately it was really hot and humid outside.  We did go through the petting zoo, which had lots of animals from camels to goats to zorses (zorses are a combination between a horse and a zebra).

When we got back into the cool, air-conditioned museum, we did the walk-through-the-Bible tour.  We just went from creation to the last Adam.  There were life-size models of animals, dinosaurs, people, and you could even walk through a display of the construction of the ark!  Lots of sound effects made everything really authentic, and there were even models of popular people in the Bible--from Adam and Eve to Methuselah, to Paul!  We even walked through a small part of the Grand Canyon, and saw a model of the Lucy fossil (with Creation views, of course!).

The next exhibits were about corruption.  From the fall to Charles Lyell, and even up to the Scopes trial and Charles Templeton.  Ever since Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, the world has been changed forever and will never be the same.  We have doubted the Biblical worldview and questioned God’s law.  It was a really well done, very thought-provoking section of the museum.

The rest of the museum was wonderful as well, with a dinosaur exhibit and several theaters with different videos and presentations.  We saw all of them.  There was a short film called “The Last Adam”.  It was a moving film that is geared towards building people’s faith.  Another film was about dinosaurs and dragons, and all the evidence towards those ‘terrible lizards’ mentioned in history.  It noted an interesting point: that the Bible refers to two strange creatures, known as Leviathan and Behemoth.  There are no other animals in the Bible described with as much detail as these.  It was vey fascinating.  Scientists now belief that these creatures were dinosaurs.

We also attended a 25-minute presentation in the museum’s planetarium.  That was SO amazing, especially for me.  Mom thought it was very relaxing (she fell asleep), but I was wide-eyed the whole time.  It’s so amazing how complex the heavens are, that when it all comes down to it, our solar system is just an insignificant speck in space.  Yet God narrowed it all down to one verse: “And He created the stars also”.  For me there is only one way to express my awe of God’s handiwork as shown in the stars:

“…When I can consider Your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained; what is man that You take thought of him and the son of man that You care for him?”

That pretty much sums it up for me.  We all enjoyed the presentation so much that we bought the DVD of it later.

We went through the rest of the museum, and the final thing we did was go to the “Men in White” show.  It was a short movie in the special effects theater and there were even special effects seats!  It was funny, but so Biblical and true.

Lastly we looked around the large bookstore.  We stayed in there for a long time, reading and looking and buying.  By the time we left the museum at 6:00, we had bought books, magazines and DVD’s.  They will no doubt be wonderful in the days and weeks ahead. 

To sum it up, our whole family loved the Creation Museum and we definitely recommend it to everyone.  It’s costly, but the best museum you’ll ever go to.  While we were there, I overheard people questioning evolution as I passed by, or children enthralled by the creation models in the Garden of Eden, and folks pondering over Bible verses written on walls.  I was so touched and blessed by the Creation Museum, and I know that many, many others have been changed by its bold stand for God.  Mom wanted to add that everything was quality, top-notch, and extremely well done.  Dad thought that it was refreshing to have a Christian worldview, after all the rip-off evolutionary museums we've been too.  If you're ever in the area, go to the Creation Museum and prepare to believe. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

More pictures

One top down, one loose top to go!
Tubing and screams of delight
Yay Sally!!!
Yay me!!!!!
Delaney living it up
Dad ripping it up, as always
Rooster tail!
Sheer awesomeness
Friends (photo courtesy by Ben Wallick)

Pictures to go along with the last post...

Nate and Sally's adorable home
The tiny little squirrels
This guy almost jumped into the propeller
Milkshakes and hats at Steak N' Shake
Libbey and Malibu

More pictures soon, if the internet will work again...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Peoria, good internet and wonderful fellowship

Being very late in posting, but yet not letting the blog rule me and my time, I have a very long post coming up.  Hope y'all enjoy and get a taste of what's been happening lately with us...

It was late Monday morning when we pulled out of my Aunt and Uncle’s home in Madison, WI.  We drove a total of four hours to the north end of Peoria, IL, to spend some time with Nathan and Sally Wallick, good friends of ours.  They live in a lovely, quiet neighborhood with lots of small houses and trees and life.  We pulled into their long, trailer-happy driveway and got a very joyous welcome from Sally, followed by a tour of their lovely house and introductions to their little pets: two baby squirrels!   

Nathan was working that day, so we set up the trailer, dad worked and we women visited together.  It was a bit too early for dinner, so we girls got in the car and drove a short ways to a lovely walking area.  It was a long, long path with leafy green trees making a canopy across and along it, providing shade, quiet and cooler temperatures.  We walked awhile and talked, and when time caught up to us we drove back and had dinner. 

Following that evening was an impromptu batch of cookies, much talking and fellowship and enjoying each other.  It was so good to be in a home, a cozy place that is real and doesn’t shake when you step in the door (as much as I love our trailer). 

The next day, after Nathan got home, we had breakfast and discussed theological issues and ideas.  It was a neat time and very interesting, and it was also very encouraging to hear the two men in their levels of knowledge and discernment.  They are both very much the same and they converse really well together, or at least dad always comes away much encouraged and strengthened.  What a blessing to have godly men in this time on the earth.

Following in the morning was work for dad and Nathan, and with the excellent internet in the area, it was really nice and dad got much work done.  Libbey made a new ‘best friend’ who lives next door and they were riding bikes, playing house and picking the stones out of unripe peaches on the ground all day long.  She was quite content.  Mom, Sally and I went on a run together through some beautiful neighborhoods, and got a great workout.

Later that afternoon we drove down to the waterfront of the Illinois River and took Nathan’s boat out.  We went all the way across to the other side and had dinner at the Burger Barge, a true river restaurant.  It had delicious burgers, and we stayed dry while a summer rainstorm poured outside.  When we had finished and the rain let up, we got back in the boat and cruised across the glassy water and saw the city at dusk, along with the neat bridges.  We also saw lots of Asian Carp, of course…one almost got into the boat!  They are such gross fish…all bloody and slimy, not to mention SMELLY.  Dad got a chance to bowfish, which was really cool.  He almost got a couple, but they jump so fast that it’s hard to time it correctly so that the arrow hits the fish.  He had a blast though!

On Wednesday, after exercise and food and more great food, mom, Sally, Libbey and I did a little shopping.  When we got back in the late afternoon, we quickly prepared a picnic dinner and got into our swimsuits for another excursion on the river.

We got to the river, put the boat in and set off.  Pretty soon, we stopped and got the tube out, which Delaney and I took a great ride on.  It was really fun to get outside the wake and it felt like flying—so smooth and fast.  After our arms officially fell off, we got back in and went down the river a bit, where we broke out the water skis.  Sally tried for the first time on double skis, and got up the first time!  It only lasted a few seconds, but the second time she was up a long time.  She did really good. 

I decided to try after Sally finished.  I got up the first time as well, but I quickly fell.  I did it again and stayed up longer, and the third time I stayed up and had the feel for it, and went all the way back to the bridges!  It was SO much fun, and I would have stayed up longer if my back didn’t begin to hurt so much.  I want to do that more…mom says we’ll have to start looking for a ski boat on Craigslist!

Even dad skid, single slalom!  He did great, as if he never stopped doing it.  He and mom water-skied a lot before I was born and got really good at it.  They had a ski boat and skis and wetsuits and everything else you need.  I would love to do it as a family, if we had a boat. J

After dad finished skiing, Delaney took one more wild spin on the tube, with Nate driving in circles and pulsing and all that great stuff.  She even got pretty close to getting hit by some Carp, which was hilarious!  They had just begun to jump then, and were flying all around her.  It was quite amusing.

Then we stopped the boat, put the anchor in and had a nice picnic dinner.  That is, until a huge barge came along and blared their horn to get us out of the way.  As we were driving back, the Carp started going crazy and two flopped into the boat, resulting in screams and laughter and much blood.

Needless to say, our abs were aching with continuous laughter and our arms were sore (not from the bow fishing, but from pulling ourselves up out of the water and into the boat—no old lady ladders for the carp hunters!).  Good times, good memories…

Later that night, after getting home, we gathered in the living room and watched some unedited videos of the Carp Hunters in action—hilarious!  For more information about the Carp Hunters and their vision, go to

Our time at Nate and Sally's held a couple milstones for Libbey.  She lost two teeth (one peacefully, one traumatically) and she also got a new bike!  It is pink and cute and she has named it Malibu. 

We left in the late afternoon.  After the goodbyes, the thank-you’s, hugs and taking some pictures, we climbed in the truck and drove off to our newest adventure. 

Pictures to follow shortly...