With Cathy’s retirement came the realization that we
could use other modes of travel besides flying.
Wanting to see Cathy’s grandmother in
and Butch’s Aunt and cousin in
led to the idea of a road trip.
We did the usual preparation with AAA maps and books.
After giving it serious thought we decided to fly by the seat of our
pants. We informed everyone we
planned to visit that we would call them a few days before we planned to arrive.
We felt free as birds until dealing with the post office.
It seems they require not only a start date for holding the mail but also
a stop date. So the post office
yanked us back to reality. Forced to
make a choice we chose the first of October to resume the mail (and thus
determining our “must return” date).
September 4th, Friday
Preparation, preparation, preparation!
Over the years we have compiled a comprehensive travel list.
Before a major trip we print off a copy and make additions as necessary.
We spent the day tying up loose ends and packing.
September 5th, Saturday:
Before leaving the house there is a hectic period making
sure the last minute details are taken care of.
Things such as turning down the hot water, emptying the garbage, lights
on timers, alarm on and so forth. We
reviewed our list one more time, took one last look around and cast our fate to
Our first stop was in
where we visited an old family friend of Butch’s – Billy Kohse (and her
cat). From there we went to
to the Chatfield “mansion” on Clyde Hill for our visit with brother Carl
and family. Lathan, our youngest
nephew, gave us the grand tour of the place.
We were invited on a road trip to see some property they
have Northeast of Seattle. Carl
suggested we all go in the family van which required installing one of the
seats. How hard can that be?
It seemed no matter how hard he and Butch tried they couldn’t get the
seat to line up correctly. Butch
asked “Aren’t there some instructions?” Carl showed him the instructions
and he could see the problem….they weren’t helpful at all.
After much fussing the seat slid forward and locked into place.
The road trip was on!
When we arrived at the property Carl was faced with his
second mechanical chore of the day. He
had driven the lawn mower over a tree root and had bent the blades.
Seomeone else had replaced the blades but couldn’t figure out how to
connect the deck to the mower. While
we toured the farm Carl surveyed the problem (which required laying on damp
ground covered with straw). It was
obvious where the deck connected. The
only problem was that a cable was left over and was obviously necessary.
Butch asked about the instructions. Carl
showed him the instructions and Butch saw what the problem was….they weren’t
helpful at all. Their complete
lack of mechanical ability forced them to use logic and reason to figure it out
eventually. With the lawn mower
problem solved we were treated to a Thai dinner.
September 6th, Sunday:
A rainy cool day!
Cathy’s day started out well when Carl made her a fancy
coffee drink. This was followed by
scrambled eggs for breakfast. As we
were getting ready to load the car it started to sprinkle.
Cathy suggested we load up the car before it began raining harder.
Butch figured it would blow over in a few minutes.
Rebecca went on line to check the weather proving Cathy was right
We made our way to
where Kaye had our lunch in the oven. The
rain just kept coming so Kaye said it looked like a good day for a nap.
We took her up on it. Kaye is
dog sitting (indefinitely) her son’s dog Sophia.
Sophia is an old large dog that has found new life at Kaye’s.
Kaye, a cat person, has adjusted well to her role as “grandmother” to
Sophia. We watched a Seahawk
football game which turned out to be a rerun.
We were tipped off by the presence and visibility of a full moon during
September 7th, Monday (Labor Day):
Cathy’s day started out well when Kaye made her an artsy-fartsy
Chai tea. This was followed by
scrambled eggs for breakfast. We
went out of town east via I 90 and stopped to see the metal horses on the hill.
This was the same stop that Butch had made with his grand-daughter
many years ago.
We filled up in
figuring gas would get more expensive the further east we went….wrong!
We arrived in Couer D’Alene and checked in for a 2 night stay.
We walked downtown on the world’s longest floating boardwalk.
It was very windy and some rain producing one of the most vivid rainbows
(over Costco) we had ever seen.
September 8th, Tuesday:
Couer D’Alene – a beautiful treed area
Very nice weather today!
We made a road trip around the lake and stopped in a little town called
. It was just full of bicyclists as
there is a great bicycle path in the area. We
stopped at the Couer D’Alene Indian casino for a buffet lunch and even got a
golf cart ride to the entrance. Always
curious about Black Jack, we were astounded to find that they didn’t use real
cards but some type of electronic wizadry.
When we returned to town it was time for the boat tour
around the lake. The lake is
surrounded by big expensive homes with big expensive boats.
There was a large condo development with a world class golf course
(including a floating green in the lake!). We
wrapped up the day at our favorite store (Costco of course) and had dinner
September 9th, Wednesday:
Couer D’Alene to
While scourig the tourist books Cathy discovered the
historic mining town of
Now that we are in the retirement
exploring mode we decided to make that our next stop.
The town is made up of entirely historic buildings and houses.
In fact if a house burns down it cannot be replaced.
We went on a trolley tour around town which included a mine tour.
We found out that the town had burned to the ground in 1910 as part of a
huge forest fire. Being smarter that
the average town it was rebuilt using only bricks and stones.
At one time the town boasted of having the most millionaires per capita
due to their mining profits.
Arriving at the mine we were issued hard hats.
Butch found this to be very helpful as he clunked his head a number of
times going through the mine shafts. Our
guide was named Lenny and was a retired miner.
He explained and demonstrated mining techniques and at one point turned
all the lights out. We now know what
“pitch black” is all about. Lenny
told us about his years working in the mines far below the surface of the earth
in very hot humid conditions. Some
of the equipment he demonstrated was VERY loud.
We hit the road again and decided to stay in
September 10th, Thursday:
Gates of the mountains tour
Cathy, with her usual adventuresome curiosity (and the help
of AAA books) came up with the Gates of the Mountains boat tour.
We took I-15 north about 18 miles from
. For the second day in a row
Butch’s senior status came in handy as his price was a dollar less.
(After all there is no way anyone would believe Cathy is over 60).
The boat tour was surprisingly full with mostly older
folks. The guide was fantastic –
both informative and entertaining. He
told stories of Lewis and Clark’s travels through the area, showed us a canyon
where several smoke jumpers perished, explained the geology of the area while
pointing out various plants and animals.
After the tour we headed to
. Butch called his cousin Ruby to
give her and update. He told her we
were in “Butt-tee” at which point Cathy hollered that “NO, it is
…” For dinner we tried a local
favorite dish called pastie (pronounced “past tees”) which is essentially a
meat pie of sorts brought over by the Welsh miners.
Butch came up with all sorts of alternative stuffings one could use for
these. We couldn’t believe all of
the “casinos” – small ones on almost every block it seems like that’s
what they call Bars there.
September 11, Friday:
to Livingston via
As the date would suggest the day started out as a
disaster. First the bedside clock
alarm went off at 5:15 AM waking up Butch. By
the time he fell back to sleep it was time to get up again.
Butch figured the best way to get back on track was to take a shower.
He gathered the shampoo and soap and waited and waited for the water to
get hot. With time to kill until the
water got hot we went to breakfast. After
breakfast Butch headed to the shower again but still no hot water.
It was time to call the front desk and whine.
The lady assured us that they were working on it and would make thing
right. So for the next half hour we
worked on our journal while waiting for the hot water.
Half an hour later we took luke warm showers for which we got a discount
on our bill.
we headed east to Whitehead and then South to
. You could walk along the main
street for free but to get to the majority of the old buildings you needed to
pay 8 dollars. There was no senior
discount here. Looking around it
became apparent that Cathy was the only one who wouldn’t have qualified as a
senior. Many of the houses came with
“husband benches” on the front porch. There
was a guy in an old western outfit who told several stories of the town.
Next we headed to
to spend the night. It’s
funny – we spent 8 dollars each to see the old cabins in
. On the road we observed that there
were old cabins every few miles that we could see for free.
While we were checking out the local Costco in
we decided to go on to
as it was only another 120 miles or so. On
the way out of town we saw the
signs. The good think about an
unstructured trip is that we are now going to
. We are spending the night in
catching up on our journal and the laundry.
September 12, Saturday:
It is a beautiful day! It is sunny and in the 60s. We
mapped a course from the North end of
through to the Main attractions. Oh by the way we were very excited that the
senior Park pass worked and saved us the $25 fee.
It was as if the Park service bought us lunch!
On with our trip through
. It turns out that the road to Old Faithful was closed for the season so
will have to wait until our next trip. Our first attraction was the mammoth
. It was a perfect day for photography and Butch took full advantage of it. He
hadn't hiked very far up the hill until he realized that we were not at sea
level any longer. In fact it was
over 7000 feet high. Next we drove around the upper mammoth
road and had several more photo opportunities. We went to canyon village for
lunch and saw some bison in the route.
After lunch we saw a couple of films about
at the visitors followed by ice cream. Butch
got peppermint ice cream which was quite soft and required him to eat it
quickly. That is when he
started eyeing Cathy's ice cream to see if she required some assistance. We next
went to the lower falls loop and the grand canyon of
with many more photo opportunities. We
headed south to the fishing Bridge at
and then left by the East exit.
We were pleased with
-- a much bigger tourist trap than we had imagined. We went to check in at the
Comfort Inn and found that they only had two rooms left that were smoking rooms.
That is when Cathy was approached by the old guy in the golf cart renting
cabins behind the motel. He explained that the owners of the
and Comfort Inns also owned the cabins and that we would have access to both
motel amenities. Finding difficulty
with summer help, the owners worked out a deal with a group of RV owners --
trading space rents for a few days a week work.
We took the cabin and settled in to see the highly
recommended gunfight show in town. Every night in the summer they had a staged
gunfight next to the Irma hotel. The streets were lined with folding chairs
which were rented for one dollar a piece. The money went to charity (probably).
After the gunfight we felt in a cowboy mood so we went to Bubba’s
barbecue for dinner. We had delicious baby back ribs!
September 13, Sunday -- Cody to Gillette
We thought about another night in Cody but decided that one
night in a rustic cabin was quite enough. The only memorable part of the day was
stopping at the Shell waterfall. We also drove through some beautiful and
picturesque canyons on the way. The high winds and idiot drivers made it a
tedious drive and by the time we reached
we were ready to call it a day!
September 14, Monday – Gillette to
Devil’s Tower en route.
Today was another warm sunny day with temperature in the
low 80s. We were traveling between
Gillette and Devil’s Tower when we made a pit stop. It turns out the rest stop
was surrounded by old military bombers and other aircraft. We also spotted some
antelope across the field.
When we got to Devil's Tower we remembered the routine from
. First get up the Park pass and drivers license and then go into the park
without paying! After entering the
park we followed the road up to the visitor center.
is encircled by several trails. We hiked up around 100 yards or so where they
had strategically placed some benches. An
old gentleman sat next to Butch on the bench. Butch asked him how it was going.
He said he had walked one of the trails and now was regretting it. That settled
it for Butch -- this was the end of the trail for him.
When we returned and drove on Interstate 90 there were some
to get cheap
gas before leaving the
. Their sign worked. We decided to top off the tank before heading to
When we got back on the freeway we had not gone far before
we saw a sign for Deadwood. We
didn't realize that the town of deadwood was before
. Instead of making it one of our day trips from
we decided that we might as well go see it now. Deadwood is the first town
since Couer D’ Alene that had those annoying parking meters everywhere. We did
drive the full length through town and back and then we saw the road sign for
Sturgis. Again this was not far away. We used our imagination and pictured
Sturgis full of Harley motorcycles. As we wound through town we noted that gas
was 10 cents cheaper per gallon then
Next we got back on Interstate 90 for our final leg of the
. We found the exit for the motel
and pulled off. There it was -- the
Sleep Inn. We entered the lobby with
armed with our reservation number. The young lady behind the computer could not
find us. We gave her the reservation number and she still couldn't find us. This
now required calling the Choice hotel office to sort this out. They
found our reservation and we should have been at the Comfort suites across the
street. WOW - how embarrassing.
Luckily a new customer arrived to distract her while we slipped away. The
reservation system works a lot smoother when you show up at the correct motel.
September 15, Tuesday:
Today is sunny and warm with a high in the upper 80s. The
comfort suites have the best breakfast buffet yet. It's a good thing we are here
for three mornings! We checked our map, plotted our route, and headed to
. The sign said $10 fee so we handed the attendant the senior pass and license
and smiled. She smiled back and said “That doesn't work here, $10 please”.
She told us it was a private concession that ran the parking structure.
We figured that we would fix them and pass on the parking permit to someone at
breakfast. It turns out that the pass included a description of our car and the
state license - foiling our plans again.
is every bit as spectacular as we imagined. There were two movie theaters in
the visitor center. One of the movies was narrated by Tom Brokaw and explained
how the sculpture was conceived and developed. It turns out that the sculptures
were made by blasting away the granite with dynamite. The exact dimensions were
re-created from models of the sculptures. We
sat in the amphitheatre and just took it all in for while.
As we were leaving an ice cream sign ambushed Butch.
His resolve melted away when he saw several people with waffle cones
piled high with ice cream. Of course Cathy offered no resistance to the idea.
The gift shop had caught Cathy's attention which left Butch in charge of
the ice cream. It turns out that they only had four flavors and none of these
were chocolate. Butch collected his waffle cone heaped with ice cream and went
to one of the outside tables where he could see
. Luck was with him -- he had gotten two flavors and he liked the one on top the
best. By the time Cathy had returned
he had removed all traces of the top scoop. Things would have worked out a lot
better for Butch had he not included this fact in the journal.
The next stop was
. The trip consisted of two segments -- the
and the wild life loop road. The
would have made a good one way road.
However there was two way traffic in addition to the occasional bike
rider. At one point we came into an
area with parked cars that appeared to be a parking lot.
It turns out that he entrance to it, was hidden behind a large rock. We
found more photo opportunities as we continued down the road.
On the wild life loop we saw and photographed antelope,
, and donkeys. As we came back to
the main highway we decided to call it a day. We had seen a TV ad for red
Lobster’s endless shrimp special. We
discussed our options and all Butch can say is that he has had his fill of
shrimp for the day.
September 16, Wednesday: “Cowboys and Indians”
(Deadwood and Crazy Horse)
Today is a warm sunny day again! In fact it is almost too
warm but we know better than to complain. We
had heard good things about both Deadwood and Crazy Horse. It was too tough to
decide so we took them both in. Deadwood was first on the list. We parked the
car and paid for a couple of hours on the meter. Next we toured a saloon owned
by Kevin Costner. He bought it when making the movie, Dancing with Wolves, and
it now has many pictures and movie outfits from his film career.
several companies offered tours. We chose the one that left the soonest and
were on our way. Butch was pleased to save yet another dollar with his “old
fart’s discount”. It turns out the main focus of the tour was wild Bill
Hickok and Calamity Jane’s graves at the cemetery.
After the tour we had to head back to the parking lot where our meter was
expiring. This is too bad as we wouldn’t have minded spending more time around
town. It makes you wonder how much money the parking meter cost the town
From Deadwood we had a fairly direct route south to the
Crazy Horse Memorial. We paid the $20 entry fee, parked the car and went to the
visitor center to view the orientation film. It
described how the monument was conceived and gave the history of the sculpturing
process to date. Talk about a lifetime project! The sculptor started the project
in 1948 and has gone to great lengths to maintain control and not allow the
government to be involved.
Some folks we had talked with recommended the bus tour so
we bought our tickets and boarded the bus. The
bus drove around a quarter of a mile down the road, parked and had everyone off
to take pictures of the
. After taking half a dozen pictures we wondered why everyone was so excited by
the tour. That's when the bus driver started explaining everything that was
going on up there. Dynamite was their main sculpturing tool similar to
. They used GPS for exact measurements correlating to the model. When asked how
long it would take to finish the project he guessed another 45 years! On the way
we added two new animals to our list -- we saw a wild turkey and some big horn
September 17, Thursday: The Badlands, Wall Drug, and
Finishing up our stay in
we headed east to
. We reached the
and once again Butch's “old fart” Park pass came in handy.
We were really impressed with mother nature's sculpturing abilities and
without the advantage of dynamite! It
was time to get the movie camera out as it was too panoramic just for photos.
Even though it is called the
loop it actually moved us eastward in the correct direction.
Next on the list was Wall Drug.
This came highly recommended though it was baffling to us why anyone
would get excited about a drugstore. It turns out that it is a whole block of a
store filled with cowboy items, gifts, etc. etc. You could spend all day just
“rooting around”. And also there is free ice water that was not really all
that cold or good. We see why they
gave it away but it is the original well founded by the owners.
The last highlight of the day was the
. Every year ears of corn are used
to create different patterns on the Palace. Quite interesting!
We then moved onward to the east. We came across a hay
spill on the freeway -- only in the
! By the time we arrived at
we were done for the day.
September 18, Friday: Sioux Falls to
We found out why they called
corn country! There were fields and
fields of corn that already appeared to be dried up. Butch wondered why they
never had lightning caused popcorn fires. Apparently the timing of picking the
corn depends on what the purpose is for the corn. There were also lots of
When we arrived at
we turned the GPS on and found we were back in Costco country!
After gassing up the car we walked through Costco sampling the various
vendor snacks (one of our favorite pastimes).
We were also back in Cracker Barrel country. Butch got a steak that came
with a salad and baked potato and Cathy had pot roast with corn, mashed potatoes
and fried candied apples. They also have fried okra on their list of side items.
The fried apples served as a good dessert and Cathy saved half of them
for Butch. (Butch suspected that in fact she was just full.) Having finished
dinner before Butch she headed to the gift shop. Butch was just getting started
on the apples when the waitress asked if he wanted a dessert.
He said that the apples were dessert but whipped cream would sure be good
on them and so she brought him a bowl of whipped cream.
You think that Butch would learn to keep his mouth shut rather than share
this with Cathy after-the-fact!
September 19, Saturday: on to
– home of the white squirrels
Our furthest point east!
Today is cloudy and cooler than it has been.
is a freeway nightmare so we routed around the city.
We then drove through lots of farming country on our way to Olney. We
also noted quite a few oil wells. We found Cathy's grandmother Genevieve and she
is thriving in her new environment living with her niece. She especially is fond
of their dog “Dinky”. We took
her up to Effingham to visit great uncle Ray and Lavange who seem very content
living near their son Arthur.
We stayed the night in Olney in the Holiday Inn which
turned out to be no holiday at all. There was a wedding reception going on and
the music carried through to our room until past midnight. In the morning Butch
went to whine about the noise and that's when he found that it was not truly a
Holiday Inn chain motel but rather a cheap knockoff -- probably made in
! There are lots of locusts in Olney
and what a racket of noise they make!
September 20, Sunday: Olney to
Today is rainy and damp, making us homesick for the
Northwest. Having run out of clothes
it was time for a trip to the laundromat. Since we were efficient we combined
doing the laundry with Egg McMuffins and 7/11 coffee. When the laundry was
completed we headed off to spend some quality time with grandmother Genevieve.
It was interesting listening to her share a lot of stories from her past.
They had prepared a small feast for lunch. This meal is the dinner meal and is
traditionally the largest meal of the day. The last meal of the day is supper
(which is a smaller amount of food). Our
observation is that folks in this part of the country feed you a lot to show how
much they love you. It's your job to eat a lot to love them back!
With our stomachs full it was either take a nap or hit the
road. So we went on the road again. This
time we put fear and common sense aside and tackled the freeways through
. After a tense half hour we emerged on the other side of town. We found a
Costco, gassed up and made the rounds for the free samples of food. We took
Interstate 44 to
and settled in for the night.
September 21, Monday:
visiting Aunt Minnie and cousin Carol Ann
The Thunderstorm in
was beautiful with lots of rolling wooded hills.
Cathy spotted a couple of the new animals including a coyote and an
armadillo (which was road kill). Our
route to Aunt Minnie took us through
-- the town where our search for her culminated about four years ago.
Butch had found his uncle's obituary here listing the name and location
of Aunt Minnie.
We arrived in
and spent about an hour or so talking with Aunt Minnie and Carol Ann.
Carol Ann took us out for lunch after that.
As we were leaving they warned us that we might be heading towards some
As we worked our way along southern
we ran into a serious thunderstorm. The
day turned to night and a deluge of water hit us along with thunder and
lightning. Cathy's first concern:
tornadoes! We tried to keep the tail lights of the car in front of us in sight.
That proved to be a losing battle as the rain got heavier. The windshield
wipers were totally useless. What luck -- shortly we came to town. Well, not
really a town -- the grocery store, gas station and restaurant were all combined
into a very small building. We only had about 10 feet to the front door and we
were both soaked by the time we got in. There were about a half a dozen booths
inside, all but one was filled with locals. We took the last booth to wait out
the storm. It was really intense. The sky would light up and within a few
seconds we would hear the roar of thunder. In a little while the sky had
lightened up and Cathy regained her composure. We hit the road again. It was
still raining, but at least the windshield wipers could handle it. After being
on the road for a half an hour we were pretty much through the worst of the
storm. It turned into one of those annoying driving experiences when the
windshield wipers are never quite the right speed.
The GPS worked well in locating Cathy's aunt and uncle’s
”). The only catch was that there
was no driveway. We came at their house from the back and found Uncle Ron waving
us up to the house. He looked the same as always.
We hadn't seen Aunt Kathy or Uncle Ron for 18 years! We had a lot of
catching up to do and had a really nice visit. We brought a DVD of old family
movies with footage of Uncle Ron as a teenager. Unfortunately the DVD turned out
to be worthless but it took about a half an hour to figure this out. We tried it
in his DVD player, a computer and our Mac. They all had the same message –
“unreadable”. Oh well, we’ll
send another in the mail. We hit the
road again and stayed somewhere north of
for the night.
September 22, Tuesday: travel day!
Today we traveled to
. The scenery does not change much
as we travel through
. The land is very flat, of course, and there is a lot of farming including
fields of sunflowers. In this part
of the country it is advisable to have a good book on tape.
The day's most memorable event was when our path took us through
. We had lunch at the
bar and Grill. The walls were lined with pictures of
history and also some about the Gunsmoke TV series.
Although it was not actually filmed in
, the Gunsmoke TV series was based on this location. By the time we reached
we decided to pack it in for the day.
September 23, Wednesday: to
. A visit with Chet.
We punched in Chet’s address and found that it was about
180 miles away. We turned the GPS
off and headed out on Highway 50. This was the scenic highway to our
destination. We drove about 80 miles and came upon a road sign saying we still
had about 160 miles to go. Our suspicion is that the GPS measures mileage as the
crow flies or we really picked the long way around.
When we arrived at Chet’s we were greeted by enthusiastic
barking from the dogs. We took a
little tour and said HI to the pig, horse and several goats.
We had accumulated some questions about farming -- especially hay. Chet
cheerfully explained about the different sizes of bales and the importance of
moisture content. He then took us to
Butch's Cafe where he had lunch and we had a couple of cold drinks. As we were
getting ready to leave, Cathy went to wash up and spotted some delicious looking
homemade pies. Since the bill was already paid it probably saved her a couple of
pounds of weight gain. We hit the road and made it as far as
before calling it a day. Driving
had been quite beautiful with aspens changing colors in the mountains.
September 24, Thursday:
It is yet another warm and sunny day. For the past several
days we had been hitting the road hard and visiting relatives. We felt it was
time to get back into a sightseeing mode and
had a lot to offer. We dusted off the “old farts” Park pass and headed to
. The park is truly a photographer's
dream. Even Cathy was participating in the picture taking. Our digital camera
will take over 1000 pictures on a memory stick. In fact, halfway through the
afternoon we had to swap out the memory stick. After the park we headed to
to spend the night.
September 25th, Friday:
Our destination today was
. We consulted the maps and decided the most efficient route was to take I-70 to
89 south to the park. We traveled
quite a ways and did not come to the sign for
. Then we realized that there was no sign for Highway 89 either. This added 50
miles to our already high mileage day -- thanks
We have to love the senior pass -- it saved us $25 at this
park! After stopping at the visitors center we headed to the south end of the
park. We had been here over 20 years ago but had forgotten the grandeur of the
park. The still camera could not do the Canyon justice so we used the movie
camera for a more panoramic view. The
movie camera also takes still pictures and has a powerful telephoto lens and an
eyepiece viewfinder. On sunny days it takes the guesswork out of what is in your
We saw the best viewpoint on our last stop. A trail led
from the parking lot to the Bryce viewpoint.
The point is at the end of a ridge that drops to the canyon floor on both
sides. Going to the end of the point
was worth the trip -- a world class awesome view of the pillars (“voodoos”)
and other colorful formations. Hopefully
our many pictures will do it the justice it deserves.
As we left the park we saw a cowboy a restaurant called
Ruby's. As we got out of the car we noticed a steady line of old folks headed to
the restaurant from a bus. Timing is everything. We weren't that hungry so we
postponed lunch and headed down the road. Next we found a minimart gas station
with a Subway restaurant inside. We split a five dollar foot long meatball
sandwich. Butch thought of using the bathroom but decided to wait until after we
were done eating. As we finished up, Butch noticed a group of boys in football
jerseys walking up to the minimart. It
turned into a steady line of football players. I guess going to the bathroom
would have to wait for something further down the road. Once again, timing is
everything. Of course it was a boys football team so Cathy didn't have any
trouble going to the bathroom. When we reached Interstate 15 Butch headed into
the first restroom we came to. Luckily there was not a football team around.
With the boring Interstate 15 freeway it seemed like a good
time for Cathy to drive. The first
thing she wanted to know was the speed limit and it took less than a mile to get
her answer -- 80 miles per hour! Just south of
Salt Lake City
we ran into road construction and heavy traffic.
Well, it's not really road construction -- they just seemed to close
lanes here and there. We saw a Comfort Inn sign at the next exit.
We asked all the right questions -- do you have a breakfast?, a pool and
spa?, and WiFi? We were feeling good
that we had her bases covered and signed up for a room. We got our key cards for
room 215. Realizing we were on the second floor we asked about the elevator.
Whoops! We missed that one -- I
guess we didn't have all our bases covered after all.
When we went into room 215 we heard a chirp and then
another chirp. Chirps are not very relaxing. The smoke detector obviously needed
a new battery. When we asked to have the battery replaced we were moved to room
216. Apparently they felt that it would be easier to move us rather than replace
the battery. In room 216 it didn't take long to realize the toilet didn't work.
The third time is a charm. Room 217 seemed to be in working order.
September 26, Saturday: on to
to see Butch’s brother Bill and Carol
Traffic was heavy around
Salt Lake City
Saturday morning. We were sure glad
that we pulled off Friday evening and avoided rush-hour traffic!
Bill had come
across some relics from their father's past and they spent some time going
through these. For dinner he grilled
some steak and sausages. It sure was a treat to have a home-cooked meal! After
dinner we all took the dog and went to the park and walked down the river path.
September 27, Sunday:
After a leisurely morning Carol made us a picnic lunch and
we went up to
. It was a pleasant drive -- the
weather was beautiful and the trees were starting to change colors. After eating
our sandwiches we walked to a lookout where we could see
in the distance. All and all we had
a great visit!
Ralph and Donna Ayers were always good to Butch while he
was in the Air Force at Mountain home,
. In fact, they even gave away their
second daughter to him. It was like the old Air Force days for Butch -- we
stopped to visit and were invited to stay for dinner. After dinner we did a
little catching up and then it was time to head into the sunset.
We made it as far as
for our last night in a motel.
September 28, Monday: Onward to home!
We made it home today without incident. We had left
September 5 and returned the 28th for 24 days total on the road.
We traveled 6600 miles through 10 different states. We listened to four
books on tape and took thousands of pictures. Butch's senior park pass got us in
to at least five parks free of charge. We are sure we saw at least 1000
cornfields and visited a number of relatives (9 different families in all).
It was certainly time well spent!