Saturday, October 17, 2009

Goals accomplished...

When we left Washington our goal was to get to Minnesota, do some family research, take a hard right keeping the falling snow behind us and get to Texas where we could get back into shorts and T-shirts. Well, we accomplished that goal and we are now sitting in Point Texas in shorts.

The trip was not all gravy as we traveled 2,675 miles in 29 days and made 15 stops. Not much to see in most places but we still had a great time and were able to see some of the country that we had never seen before. We went through Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, North Dakota again, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and finally into Texas.

We ran into a lot of rain from Minnesota south but kept the snow behind us. A day or two of rain and a day or two without it.

Last Sunday in Oklahoma we went to the local United Methodist Church in Norman, a few blocks from University of Oklahoma and were we surprised when we got there.

We have visited a lot of UM Churches and most have been small. Two weeks before there were 22 people at a little church and that included the minister and his wife. When we got to the church and got out of the truck, this is the side of the church that greeted us.

We were rather shocked when we walked across the street and realized that the building spanned the whole block. The inside was as beautiful as the outside. Wow, what a facility and it was full of people. We must be in the south ("Bible Belt").

Deanna, they are looking for a full time children choir and education leader. They had three choirs, one was the chancel, one for youth and the last for what looked like kids under about 8. Did we mention that they all had over 3o people in each choir and all in robes. They had an enormous pipe organ, and all of the music was beautiful. That did not include the youth bell ringers. Needless to say, we were very impressed.

Across the street from the church was their pumpkin sales for the community. This also gives a better view of the front of the church.

We arrived in Texas last Monday under cloudy skies, set up the rig and spent the rest of the afternoon doing laundry and just relaxing. And then it hit-- the rain started in the night and continued all day Tuesday with over 3" of rain. The lake that we are camped on started to rise and several people had to move there rigs. It got close to us but we stayed above water. Look behind the awning and you can see how wet it was around here.

This is the road in another part of the park, glad we didn't set up down here.

On Wednesday the rain let up but the fog came in and with it came the humidity. It was in the low 70s with humidity at close to 100%, the temperature and humidity stayed that way all night long. Neither of us slept well that night.

The moisture clung to everything including this spider's web. I think the spider left to find a drier locale.

The State Fair of Texas was going on and Thursday was senior day (free entrance) so off we went to Dallas. The day was a lot cooler and the humidity went down to about 70% so it was a lot better than the day before.

The fair was fun with lots of color and people. It completely surrounds the Cotton Bowl stadium so it was a long walk all the way around to see it all.

Yes Jackie was able to get on the rides, barely.

Friday and Saturday (today) it has been in the low 70s with a lot lower humidity so have been out and about checking out the area, including the Hwy 80 Garage Sale (miles of it).

Tomorrow we head out, going further south with reservation in Willis Texas for two weeks and then we have to sit down and figure out where we will go after that.
To be continued...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

More family found and still heading south...

When we last spoke we had just out-run the rain and had settled in for the evening when it caught up with us and gave us fits all night long. Getting up in the morning this is what we found, one big puddle.

We were off and running south again. This time to a small town in Nebraska called Hebron to visit the county courthouse located there for some more family research. We found some details about Jackie's great-grandfather and family. The ladies at the courthouse as well as the ladies at the two museums we visited were extremely helpful, as well as being friendly.

After this we headed to the town where the family purchased two lots in town. We found the property that had two run-down and empty houses on it. We stopped in to a neighbors house to see if they had any details about what was there over 100 years ago. As it turned out the neighbor had details about the local cemetery but this is not the cemetery where Jackie's ancestors were buried.

We did find the land that her great-grandfather homesteaded in the late 1800's. We searched the property but there was not any indication of anything that old still there.

A little out of order, but this is the extent of the town of Alexandria, where her family purchased property and which is listed as the birthplace of her grandmother. (The farm was out of town and Jackie's Grandmother, Sarah, was probably born there.)

We did find the Pleasant Plain cemetery where her Great-grandfather was buried, located about 2 miles from the homestead . Years ago a farmer had plowed and planted half of the cemetery so only about 10 headstones remained.

The last stone we looked at was her Great-grandfather's. She was pretty excited to find it. This shot is from the back of the cemetery showing how few headstones are left.

The next day we came back with some flowers and she was able to put them on his grave. Can you tell it was a little windy? We then headed about 25 miles east to another town where her Great-grandmother moved after she lost her husband. We went to the local museum and were able to get some more details on her and Jackie's grandmother and siblings.

Some of the research we did also located the headstone of three other relatives (Jackie's dad's uncle and two cousins, two of whom died in the diptheria epidemic.)

Not an exciting Blog posting but as we said before our intent now is to stay ahead of the snow and get to central Texas where we hope to find some warmth.
After saying goodbye to her lost, and now found, relatives we again hitched up and got back on the road again. This time we got out of Nebraska and started looking for Dorothy in Kansas. After we got on the road it started to rain again. This was a real heavy rain storm and it was hard to see going down the road. We ended up in Wichita and by the time we finished setting up Dick was soaked from head to foot.
The rain stopped some time during the night and stayed that way the next day so we could go out and visit the main store of Sheplers Western Wear where we could have spent a lot of money but got out of there with only some shoe polish. We did make up for the savings that night by going out to dinner at Olive Garden. Mmmmmm goooood.
Today we left Kansas are are now in Oklahoma for the week-end. The sun is out and it was over 50 degrees here today. We even got to sit outside for a while this afternoon.
Monday we should be in Texas where we will hope to post again.
To be continued...

Monday, October 5, 2009

On the move and friends

We are still on the move to try and find warmer living. We finished our family research in Minnesota, such as it was, and tried to get to South Dakota to visit friends except the train had another idea. After getting off on the the wrong highway (never did figure out how) we found ourselves in a small town further east of where we wanted to go. We got our trusty GPS out and figured out how to go west and get to where we wanted to be.

Still in this little town we found the right road and started to head west but just as we got to this RR crossing, down came the arm. We waited here for about a half hour and then looked at the GPS to find if we went 3 or 4 blocks back north there was another crossing there. We backed up and headed north through town and when we got to the street with the crossing we looked left and sure enough the tracks were clear. As we turned left to go over the tracks the train backed across the street to hook up to the section that was on the other side of us. Now we had to wait until the whole train was moved by us!

We finally got out of town and into South Dakota.

We headed for Oakwoods State Park where good friends are camp-hosting. We set up across the street from them and that evening they had dinner ready for us. Great time to relax and catch up on the last few months.

They had to work the next day so we went into Brookings to visit the South Dakota Art Museum where they had several displays that we enjoyed. One room was a collection of "Modern Art" type quilts, with various and unique designs done by local artists. Very good collection. We won't go into details here about all that we saw there but it was all well done.

This is just one of the quilts the Dick really liked.

We then walked down the street to the Agricultural Heritage Museum for a tour. It was very well set up with farming equipment and early farming life covering half and the other half was set up with South Dakota inventions.

Like this Case unit that was restored to perfection and was the main (largest) display in the building. This is the rear view of the unit.

A fun shot that made us think about Christmas. Can you figure out why?

One of the displays that caught Dick's eye was this early leather bra complete with a button down nipple cover for nursing mothers. This is another one of those South Dakota inventions.

This is the view out our back window overlooking the lake behind us. I think this is one of the few times it was not raining. Our friend Sharon took this shot and shared it with us. Dick had taken some great shots with the moon setting in this location the next morning but he deleted them by accident; that's a first for him.

Our thanks go out to Kent and Sharon for sharing your time with us and it was great seeing you again. We both wish you safe travels.
Monday morning we decided to pack up and see if we could get closer to some warmer weather. We had to travel over 175 miles to finally get out of the rain in Nebraska for the night and then will continue our journey south. We spoke too soon as it has now started to rain here. Oh well there must be some dry spot in this Country.
The weather WILL get better and we'll be able to get some better pictures to share of our beautiful country.
To be continued.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Montana, North Dakota and into Minnesota

We finally continued east on Highway 2 for another 189 miles to Havre Montana where we found a small RV park about 5 miles out of town (away from the RR). The main reason to go here was to get tires for the truck (no tax in Montana) which were ordered on-line and sent to the Wal-Mart store where we had them installed. Before going to the campground we stopped at Wal-Mart. After much searching, it was discovered that the tires had arrived. So we scheduled an appt for tomorrow. After setting up we took a swing through town to wash out the back of the truck (Dick spilled gear oil). Then we stopped at Murphy's Bar for a beer, a glass of wine and an appetizer (dinner). The next day while the tires were being installed we did some shopping at Wal-Mart. After lunch we went into town and went on the "Havre Under the Streets" tour.

This is just one of the rooms and our tour director showing us around the old part of the city that is all under the main buildings in town.

The tour took over an hour and took in quite a few various business including the one below. This room had rows of beds screened off from one another. Draw your own conclusion to the use of this area.

Two nights in Havre and then off again to Williston North Dakota. This was the longest day on the road that we have had in the last 17 months of travel; we ended up driving 318 miles that day. It was an easy drive with a book on tape and very little other traffic on the road.
On the trip Dick took this picture, can you figure out what is going on?

Here is another shot just pulling back a little bit. The back of the truck was all polished aluminum. Interesting reflection.

We did very little in this town so on the road again to Rugby North Dakota, only 187 miles. Forgot to mention - we flew in with the wind. Whew! And it brought a decrease in temperature. We went to church at the local Methodist/Presbyterian combination church (and we both wore coats!). Very small group, but nice service. Then we "hunkered down" for an afternoon of football and wind!
The only thing we got a picture of was this monument showing the location of "Geographical Center of North America".

Next to the monument was this sign showing that Neah Bay, WA is 1100 Miles (as the crow flies)

That's it for pictures this posting but should let you know that we continued across North Dakota to Crookston Minnesota where we set up camp for two nights at Central Park in the middle of town. We looked for those two days and never found anyone to pay for our spot so ended pulling out with free camping. I think they figured we were there for the sugar beet harvest like all the other campers there.
We spent time at the local museum with Doris, who came and opened up the building for us and helped us try and find and history on Jackie's great grandfather. We ended up with a couple of leads to be followed up later. Thank you Doris for your assistance and time.
Another move, starting S-O-U-T-H to Buffalo River State Park, just east of Moorhead MN. It was quite windy with the wind from the south (head-on) and we got horrible fuel mileage. We got set up, then went into Moorhead to the archives, again to see if we could find anything on Jackie's great-grandfather. We met with Mark and looked through tax records, but no luck locating Hans Peter Jensen. Later we drove through Baker (which is really just a wide spote in the road) where we understand that he was in that area in the early 1900s. Last night we had quite the storm - thunder and lightening and rain. Still raining this morning when we headed to Fargo, ND and the Genealogical Society. Met with Linda who had done some research on her own last night. We looked through several books and did what we could to find him.
Then off to do some laundry and lunch at Red Lobster (mmmmm). We are back home now with one other rig in the park and will be heading out in the morning to visit some good friends that we met at Carlsbad earlier this year. They are work camping at a South Dakota state park. We will spend a day or two there and then really start heading south before the snow sets in around here. It has only been a week and a half since we were in shorts and T-shirts and we want to get back into those soon!
To be continued.