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July 22 - December 3, 2003

This was our "Grand Circle' trip.  We went north from home to meet Highway 2 which crosses USA.  We entered Canada at Sault Ste. Marie at the Great Lakes.  We crossed Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and out to Prince Edward Island.  We spent several weeks in New England in time for the fall colors.  Then we went south to Florida before we headed west and home.


Adventures of Krystonia

July 28, 2003

A good reason for leaving Sacramento in the summertime is to get away from the heat.  Doesn’t always work; we are about 1000 miles “down the road” and it is hot, hot, hot.  Today we drove through the Columbia River Gorge.   We stopped at Bonneville Dam and Fish Hatchery.  We saw “Herman the Sturgeon.”  These fish date back to the Jurassic Period.. the era of the dinosaurs.  The largest have been known to grow as long as 20 feet, weigh 1800 pounds and live well over 100 years.

We left Sacramento on July 22 – headed east on Highway 80 and then north on 395 into Oregon.  We crossed Oregon to Portland for the wedding of our Great-Niece on Sunday.  On our way we passed through cities with interesting names like:  Hallelujah, Doyle, Paisley, Likely and Sisters.  Doyle is known for its “World Famous Lizard Races.”  There is something you may want to go to some day.  I wonder how you condition a lizard for racing.  Maybe there are little lizard gyms for aerobic conditioning.  In Paisley we just missed the annual Mosquito Festival.  Now doesn’t that sound like fun? Partying with a bunch of mosquitoes!  Sisters is known for its annual quilt show and guess what… they have a great quilt shop… mandatory stop for Ruth.

Tomorrow we head for Spokane and look for Highway 2.  It will take us east all the way to Duluth, Minnesota where we drop down to visit with Arlo’s sister in Milwaukee.  From there we plan to visit the Maritime Provinces in Eastern Canada, view the Fall Colors in New England, head down the East coast to Florida and home through the south.

Stay tuned for more about our “Grand Circle” trip in future AoK Travel Stories.  Pictures will be posted on our web-page.  Both will happen as time and internet connections are available.  We will tell you when new pictures are posted.

We would love to hear from you.


Adventures of Krystonia

 July 31, 2003

At 6:30 this morning we drove through the city of West Glacier.  As you probably know there is a huge forest fire raging in Glacier National Park.  Two days ago they evacuated West Glacier.  Highway 2 goes through West Glacier as it skirts around the south of the Park.  Last night we stayed in Kalispell about 35 miles south of the Park.  We decided that an early start, to get through the fire area would be a good idea.

West Glacier is where you would turn north to enter the Park.  There is not much there… mostly tourist stuff, Motels and Indian curio shops.  Not much happening in this recently evacuated “ghost town” at 6:30 am.  The smoke from the fire was thick.  Hobbes was complaining more that usual – early start or smoke?

Someplace between West Glacier and East Glacier we crossed the Continental Divide.  All down hill to the Atlantic from here!  Driving over the Rockies you are in heavy forest, passing by rivers running down gorges and bubbling streams. As soon as you come out on the other side you are in the undulating plains, with miles and miles of prairie grass, fields of wheat and alfalfa, and bobbed wire fences – not a tree in sight.  It is such a sharp contrast.

 Just as you enter the plains you pass through the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.  As we drove through the plains it was easy picture 150 years ago, when you would see tens of thousands of American Bison roaming same ground that we are now driving along on a paved highway.

 Tonight we are in Chinook, Montana with miles and miles of Montana still ahead of us.  The skies are still smoky even though we are over 250 miles east of the fire.


Adventures of Krystonia

August 3, 2003

The “Can you hear me now?” guy from Verizon has not yet made it to Montana.  We had no access to email for several days.  The last AoK Newsletter was literally sent from “on the road”.  As we entered North Dakota I noticed that I was getting a strong digital signal on the cell phone.  Ruth was driving so I grabbed the laptop.  Someplace between the Montana/North Dakota border and Minot email was done.

We are in Rugby ND.  Just across the street from our RV Park is a monument claiming to be the “Geographical Center of North America”. About fifty miles north of here is the International Peace Garden located on the border between USA and Canada, in fact the border runs down the center of the park.  It was dedicated in 1932 and has gone through many improvements since then.  We found it an interesting place to visit.

We lost another hour when we crossed into North Dakota, now we are 2 time zones from home.  The terrain seemed to change also.  ND appears greener, more hilly and with more trees.  Along the road there are duck ponds from about half an acre to several acres surrounded by pussy willows.  They are very picturesque.  This is farm country.  There are many different crops, including hay, alfalfa and sunflowers.  There are huge golden-yellow fields of sunflowers searching to face the sun.  It is harvest time. Most of the hay is rolled into large bales that look like a giant jelly role about 6 feet in diameter.  Sometimes you see haystacks.  The rolled bales are mostly left helter-skelter in the fields, looking like sentinels standing guard over unknown evaders.  Occasionally they are all lined up in straight rows or organized into creative groupings.  Have to wonder what that tells us about the farmer? 

Highway 2 parallels the Great Northern Railway line.  Traveling along the highway, you pass through Dunkirk, Kremlin, Havre, Zurich, Harlem, and Tampico, all of which were founded by the railroad and settled in the main by Northern and Eastern European immigrants enticed here around the turn of the 20th century by the railroad’s offers of farmlands and homesteads.  If you are interested in more information on Highway 2 go to: http://www.roadtripusa.com


Adventures of Krystonia

August 11, 2003

We are in West Allis (Milwaukee) Wisconsin at Arlo’s sister’s.  We leave in the morning for Sault Ste. Marie, Canada.  We will be entering Canada on August 13 and returning to USA through Maine on September 17th.  It is questionable if I will be able to send email from Canada so look for the next newsletter(s) in September.

Since the last newsletter we spent some time in Bemidji, Minnesota.  It is known as the birth place of Paul Bunyon and the headwaters of the Mississippi River.  In fact, Bemidji means “river through the lake”.  As you may guess there is also a Lake Bemidji.  We had our first Walleye at the “Big Fish” Roadhouse.   Very tasty.  We left Highway 2 at Duluth to head southeast to Milwaukee.


Adventures of Krystonia

August 15, 2003

“Where were you when the lights went out in New York City?”  Seems like I remember a song with those words, maybe in the 60’s after the blackout that hit the east coast in 1965… or was it the blackout of 1977?  I have heard both dates on the news.  Who will be the first to remember the artist?

So now we have it again.  We were sight seeing in Sault Ste. Marie.  On the way home I noticed that a signal was out.  It was near some road construction so didn’t think much about it.  Then we noticed other signals were not working.  Oh oh, maybe a problem.  When we stopped at the store for groceries and the gas station, nothing was working. Now it is more than oh oh! But we were in a campground 6 miles north of town, everything will be OK there.  Wrong!

Being in an RV has some advantages.  We did not have to worry about looters.  We have our own source of electricity – 4 deep cycle golf cart batteries and a solar panel.  And a 50 gallon fresh water tank.  But wait… we were parked in the trees so the solar panel was probably less than 50% effective and the water tank was almost empty.  Water weighs over 8 pounds a gallon so I usually don’t fill it unless I know we will not have water available.  We had no water hookup the night before so there was not much left.  We were able to get a trickle out of the hose but not enough pressure to pump it into Krystonia.  One thing that happens at a time like this is that everybody becomes friends.  Folks were sharing information and generally cheering everyone on.  The guy next door gave me some beer… 

They have more riding mowers in the rural Midwest than we have Starbucks in California.  Homes have very large lots that are covered by lawn.  I am talking about 1 to 3 acres.  Anything that is not buildings or trees is mowed lawn.  It is a very attractive, park like appearance. One wonders however what all those mowers chugging all weekend must do the air quality?


Adventures of Krystonia

August 19, 2003

We have been in Ottawa, Ontario the past two days.  Tomorrow we leave for Montreal, Quebec.  Ottawa is the National Capital of Canada.  It is a beautiful town with an "old world" feeling about it.  The Parliament Buildings are reminiscent of government buildings in London.  We saw the "Changing of the Guard" on the front lawn.  We were disappointed that many things, including the evening light show in front of the Parliament, the tours of the buildings and all the museums were cancelled or closed because of the recent electrical blackout.  They are afraid to turn everything on!  Up here on the news there is still a lot of finger pointing between USA and Canada, blaming each other for the electric crisis.  Latest is, it was caused in the USA.

We have been in Canada a week.  I am impressed by the cultural, ethnic and political diversity.  This diversity is not as obvious in western Canada, the only part we have visited in the past.  It also feels like a country divided.  Since entering Canada at Sault Ste. Marie we have been in four different campgrounds and talked with many different Canadian's.  What we are hearing is remarkably consistent: "You will love the people in the Atlantic Provinces for their warmth, hospitality and friendliness.  You will not like the Quebecians.  They are arrogant, uppity and think they are better than anyone else.  And they always get their way."

Ottawa is on the Ottawa River which divides Ontario from Quebec.  We spent today sightseeing with Jerry and Marilyn.  They are Canadian's camped next to us. We took Jerry's truck and spent some time across the river in Quebec.  As we crossed the river coming home Jerry's comment was, "It is good to be back in Canada".  He said it was a joke. But it reflects the underlying feelings about Quebec shared by the rest of Canada.

Canada is a bilingual country.  All the traffic signs, billboards and advertising are printed in both English and French.  It's the law.  However as soon as we crossed the river into Quebec, English disappeared from most of the signs.

Some campgrounds we have lots of room between campers, some we are crowded very close to our neighbors and some are in between.  The campground we stayed at in Pembroke was a very close one.  We had no reservations and it turns out that there was a soccer tournament in town.  The campground was filled with soccer families, many in tents.  They squeezed us in.  Camped just outside our front door - they had to move their chairs for us to back in - were three Canadian couples (not soccer folks), sisters and their husbands.  After we got set up Michael offered me a beer.  He turned out to be very gregarious and more than willing to talk.  They were French Canadians, but not Quebecians.  They spoke what they described as "pigeon" French or as they put it lower class or working class French.  They called it "Horse French".  They said they were not well liked in Quebec and the feeling was mutual.  They strongly advised us to bypass Quebec.


Adventures of Krystonia

August 25, 2003

We are in a KOA Campground just across the St. Lawrence River from Quebec City.  We allowed three days to explore the city and the north side of the St. Lawrence River.  Tomorrow we leave for New Brunswick.  We are truly in a foreign country.  In Western Canada you often forget that you have crossed the border from USA.  Not true here!  Except for large tourist areas, English is not spoken by most folks.  If you need help or directions, no one speaks English or if they do the French accent is so thick that it is difficult to understand.

Our guide for the City Tour in Montreal explained that there are two school systems – one for French and one for English.  At grade three they each begin teaching the other as a second language. The lady at the desk at our campground in Montreal – who is English – explained further.  Because the government was fearful that the French language would be lost, they require that children go to French School unless they can prove they are English.  This is done by certifying that your parents went to English School.

Just recently Quebec passed a law that allows right turns on a red signal.  It is interesting to note that many of the intersections have signs forbidding “right turn on red”.  Change comes hard no matter what language you speak.

Quebec City is the only walled city north of Mexico in North America.  The old town within the wall has all the charm of old world France.  Stone buildings and narrow streets are the rule. In 1759 Quebec fell to the British in the French-English War.  The French city became English in name only; in culture and tradition Quebec has remained French to today.  Britain passed the Quebec Act in 1774, which allowed the French to worship in their native Roman Catholic Church rather than forcing them to attend the English Anglican Church.  A year later, during the Revolutionary War our troops invaded Quebec but were defeated by the British.  I must have slept through that one in history class.  It is fun to speculate what would have happened if we had won Quebec.  I think I am glad we lost; it would not be near as much fun to visit.


Adventures of Krystonia

September 5, 2003

We are at Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia.  The name may sound familiar to you.  It was a key rescue spot after Swissair Flight 111 went down into the Atlantic Ocean just four years ago.  Much of the TV coverage was from here.  It is about 43km from Halifax.  Regardless of the tragedy four years ago, this is a beautiful spot on St. Margaret’s Bay. Huge 415 million year old granite boulders are scattered throughout the village giving it an odd and picturesque feeling.  The lighthouse is one of the most photographed in Canada.

Since the last AoK we have been at or driven through:  New Brunswick including Edmundston, Fredericton, and three days at Fundy National Park; Nova Scotia including Truro, Maitland, Noel, Middleton, Lunenburg and now Peggy’s Cove.  Some of the world’s largest tidal changes occur on the Bay of Fundy.  At Hopewell Cape we were able to walk on the Ocean floor during low tide.

Everything we were told about the folks in the Atlantic Provinces has turned out to be true.  The people are friendly, gracious and go out of their way to be courteous and helpful.  We have met two different local couples at RV camps that gave us their home phone and address with instructions to call if we had any problems or needed help of any kind.  For the most part driving is a pleasure.  If you are a pedestrian they stop and wave you across even before you step off the curb.

Loonies and Toonies - I have never seen a paper Canadian one dollar bill.  They use one and two dollar coins.  You end up with a lot of change weighing down your pocket – be sure you have a good belt if you come here.  On the back side of the one dollar coin is a lake scene with a prominent engraving of a loon.  When we asked about change for the Laundromat we didn’t know what they were talking about when we were told we needed “loonies”, but soon learned that is what they call dollar coins.  And naturally the two dollar coin is called a “toonie”.

RV Adventures – Dick Reed owns the RV Driving School.  Ruth and I took a weekend lesson from Rick, one of Dick’s instructors.  In addition to learning to drive Krystonia in a variety of environments and practice in backing up, we discussed driving situations that could come up sometime and how to handle them.  As you enter each Province there is a Visitor Center. Entering New Brunswick we stopped for information.  We learned where to park in Fredericton and how to get out of town to our RV Camp.  As we were leaving town, during 5 o’clock traffic, we came to where two streets merge and go under an underpass.  About the time I was blocking both streets I noticed the clearance for the underpass was 3.5 meters.  We need 4 meters to fit under (Krystonia is 12.5 feet tall).  We knew what to do.  Ruth was able to clear all the cars behind us so I could back up and u-turn, thereby avoiding going under the underpass.  Took about 10 minutes, but most folks were friendly and helpful.  Even had a guy get out of his car and stop traffic so I could make the illegal u-turn.  Thank you Dick for your School and thank you Rick for preparing us so well.


Adventures of Krystonia

September 10, 2003

Ciamar a tha sibh?  (Gaelic for “How are you?)  Today we visited the Highland Village Living History Museum depicting Nova Scotia’s Gaelic culture and history.

We are camped in Baddeck, Nova Scotia on Cape Breton Island.  It is about as far north east as we can get – almost 5000 miles from home in Sacramento.  Tomorrow we take the ferry to Prince Edward Island.  On the northern end of the Island is Cape Breton Highlands National Park.  It is known for its spectacular highlands and ocean scenery.  The drive around it lets you view the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Gulf of St. Lawrence on the other.  The book says it is a 6 to 8 hour drive with time for pictures and lunch.  We took 9 hours and did not see everything.

History Lessons:  Here are some things I don’t remember learning in school.  John Cabot was the first European to discover the North American Continent in 1497.  He landed with 18 men on Cape Breton Island.  There is a small plaque and bust recognizing the spot.  It was awesome to stand on that spot and imagine what it must have been like over 500 years ago.

Near Sydney, NS in 1902 Guglielmo Marconi initiated the age of telecommunication.  He sent the first wireless message across the Atlantic after much persistence and discouragement.  Standing where he built the radio towers I couldn’t help but think that just 100 years later I could stand in the same spot and call almost anywhere in the world on my cell phone.

Alexander Graham Bell had lived just 5 kilometers from where we are camped.  At first it was his summer home, but later became his home and laboratory.  His descendents still live in the house.  Bell began his career dedicated to helping the hearing impaired communicate.  This was a lifelong passion.  He developed techniques that significantly improved the lives of deaf children.  He had a significant influence on Helen Keller’s “coming out of the darkness”.  In addition to inventing the telephone he was responsible for the birth of Canadian Aviation and using the ideas of hydrofoil to build the world’s fastest boat of the time.  There is a wonderful Museum of his works in Baddeck.

I wonder who we will recognize for their works 300 years from now.  Will it be a statue of Bill Gates on Lake Union in Seattle?  Will the visitors view it and marvel at how the world ever could have existed before Windows?

We return to the US on September 17.  After then email will be easier.  We would love to hear from you.  Any email you send will get a personal answer.


Adventures of Krystonia

September 16, 2003

Today is Hobbes birthday.  15 YEARS OLD!!  He got a special treat and an extra long brushing – which he loves.  Still a good traveler, he complains about getting into his carrier on travel days, but soon settles down.  When we slow down driving through small towns, he becomes very alert, watching everything.  When something frightens him he crawls under the quilt that Ruth made to line his carrier.  Then he peeks his head out to see if things are OK.

We are in St. Martins, New Brunswick, on the Bay of Fundy near St. John.  The Bay of Fundy is famous for its extreme tides.  The record is over 50 feet.  Tomorrow we are going to Saint John to see the “Reversing Waterfall”.  We will go in the morning to see the Saint John River empty into the Bay of Fundy during low tide.  Later in the day we will return to see the river reverse itself at high tide.

We spent the past four days on Prince Edward Island (PEI).  There are only two ways for vehicles to get on and off the Island.  You can take a 75 minute Ferry ride (about $80 round trip) or you can use the bridge which is 10 miles long (about $40 round trip).  They each charge for the round trip as you leave the Island – doesn’t matter how you got there!  We took the Ferry to get there and came off on the bridge.

I am going to try to describe PEI – very difficult – words do not do it justice.  Most of what I say about PEI also applies to the other Atlantic Provinces, but more so in PEI.  It is the standard, the extreme, the ideal.  The people of PEI are as friendly and courteous as I have experienced anywhere I have been.  They are genuinely interested in making your visit pleasant.  Even driving is a pleasure.

PEI is composed of red sandstone, all the soil is red, even the sand on the beaches.  Other than tourism the two main industries are fishing and farming.  The jagged shore line is ideal for small fishing villages.  Lobster and cultured muscles are the prime seafood.   They culture the muscles in the many small bays – and they are good eating.  The prime crop of the farmers is potatoes.  You can buy bags of potatoes from roadside stands.  Where the ground has not been cleared for farming it is still forested.  This leads to interesting contrasts as you drive the country roads, from farms with red soil, to wooded forests, to saltwater bays with fishing villages and lighthouses all within a few miles.  There are no interstates or freeways.  There are no billboards or large signs advertising businesses.  All the houses look like they have been freshly painted.  The yards all well kept with lots of color from gardens of perennials.  Everything looks neat and clean without clutter in the yards.  You see many small churches as you drive the back roads.  They are all very similar looking – mostly painted white.  Many look to seat only 50 or 100 folks.  They are square or rectangular boxes with narrow windows on the sides with pointed arch tops.  Most have a steeple.  Some steeples are tall and narrow, some are short and fat. Sometimes there is just a platform looking to hold a steeple sometime in the future.  They are of many denominations, I was not able to tell the denomination by looking at the church, they all look so much alike.  Many have grave yards on the church grounds.

PEI is “Picture post card perfect.”


Adventures of Krystonia

September 23, 2003

Back in the USA…  How do I know?  First, when we crossed the border, a guy in uniform asked lots of questions.  Among others, he wanted to know if I “had seen anything unusual?”  Isn’t that why we travel to interesting places?  I gave him a look and he clarified:  “Anything that looked like terrorist activity?”  “No”, and even if I did how would I know? Interesting world we live in!  Other than that I knew we were home when:  I saw a Dunkin Donut Shop; Gas is sold by the gallon; Signs are in only one language; and there is so much clutter, especially signs, large and small, advertising everything.

We found our old friend, Highway 2 in Maine.  Remember that?  We spent a lot of time on Highway 2 at the beginning of our trip. Now we can claim both ends. After several days near Gorham in northern New Hampshire we moved south. Today we are in the south of New Hampshire. Out here they have Notches, Pinkham Notch, Crawford Notch, Franconia Notch.  Best I can figure out, in California we would call them Passes.  They all are interesting drives through the mountains with history and beauty.  The colors on the trees are just beginning to change.  The contrast between the summer green and the fall reds, oranges and yellows is spectacular. One side trip was to Balsams Grand Hotel in the Dixville Notch. This wonderful 1800’s Hotel is the place that holds the first election results in the country.  They have a special room where all the folks from the local precinct, about 20 people, gather at midnight and vote and then announce the winners to the media.  You have often seen it in the National News.  The room is filled with memorabilia, letters and pictures from past presidential candidates.  Many have visited during their campaigns. 

A famous icon in New Hampshire is the “Old Man in the Mountains”.  This is a natural rock sculpture on a cliff.  The silhouette icon is seen in many places including post cards, highway signs and on their license plates.  Last April as we were planning what we wanted to see on this trip it was added to the list.  Last May, after heavy rain followed by freezing weather, the Old Man fell off the cliff.  For many years they have tried to save him with cables and epoxy.  Now he is gone. New Hampshirites are very saddened by their loss.

You may have noticed that many states have a slogan on their license plates.  In New Hampshire “Live Free or Die” always interested me.  Now I have a deeper understanding of it.  It is clearly more than just a slogan here.  Like many states, they have a seat belt law… if you are under 18 years old.  I guess you can’t “die free” until you reach adulthood. It also appears that they no not have a motorcycle helmet law.  They are serious about their slogan!

Now we are back in the USA, we have better cell service and therefore email will be easier.  We would love to hear from you.


Adventures of Krystonia

October 12, 2003

Greetings from Vermont.   This is what we came for…


Adventures of Krystonia

October 30, 2003

No, we haven’t fallen off the end of the Earth.  We are south of the Mason-Dixon Line.  I know because:  Folks around here have two first names and say “y’all”; the humidity is higher than the temperature; the grocery store chain is called Piggly Wiggly; the price of gas is less than $1.40 per gallon; and there are more Baptist Churches than Starbucks.

Greetings from Charleston, North Carolina.  Since we left New York and the beautiful Adirondacks (you got the picture I hope) we have been going mostly south.  We spent several days on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  This included a stop in Lynchburg, VA to visit with friends.  We spent some time at Appomattox where General Lee surrendered to Ulysses Grant bringing an end to the Civil War. I (Arlo) found this special because my grandfather was born in December 1861 after Grant had become known.  His name was Ulysses Grant Thomas.  I remember as a kid teasing him about his name.  He did not appreciate it.  Interesting how events in history become special for different reasons.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469 mile scenic road connecting Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee. The route follows the crest of the Blue Ridge at elevations from 649 to 6,047 feet. The views are fantastic, first to the right and then to the left as you traverse it.  They provide many pullouts so you may enjoy the views.  Speed limit is 45MPH and they allow no commercial traffic.  Even with Krystonia tagging along behind, it was a pleasure to drive the windy road.  At one time there were settlers throughout what is now a National Park.  As you visit their homestead farms consisting of substance farming you can only marvel at the endurance of these pioneers.  What a contrast this was to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. It was built in 1895 by George Washington Vanderbilt, grandson of the Railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt.

Directions to our friend’s house were to “turn left at the McDonalds.” On the way, new tracts of homes were being developed where trees were cut and hillsides plowed down.  This is only 25 miles from the beauty of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Ruth and I are confused by this contrast as we travel.  There are places that we have chosen to preserve while other places continue to experience urban sprawl.  It is almost as if preserving some small areas lessons our guilt to what we are doing to the landscape where we live.  On the Parkway there is a meadow.  Meadows are not natural in this area.  It has been preserved to remind visitors what the early settlers had done prior to it becoming a park.  Who is going to remind our children and grandchildren what the countryside looked like before McDonald’s, Wall-Mart, Home Depot, Lowes, Big-K and larger and larger Malls?

I am having Web page problems, sorry.  I will try to send some pictures with the Travel Stories.

From here we are going to Savannah, GA, Florida and then start west through the south and home before Christmas.


Adventures of Krystonia

November 6, 2003

When we crossed the state line into Florida there was a sign that said:  “Watch For Hanging Chads”… just kidding… What it said was:  “The Terminator is not our Governor”…  Kidding again!  Not even a sign that said: “Watch for Falling Rocks”.  I am not sure if there are any rocks in Florida, mostly sand, palm trees, lots of water, alligators and high humidity.

Usually we avoid places that are built just for tourists. We prefer the beauty of nature or places with historical significance. We made an exception here in Orlando.  Remember Mickey Mouse?  Disney has no less than 5 theme parks in this area as well as a large Universal Studio Park and a Sea World.  If one wanted to take a large mortgage on their home they could visit all of them.  Disney has several package deals!!  We picked the Epcot Center for just one day.  Yesterday we stayed until the closing ceremony and had a wonderful time.  Touristy, with plenty of places to get your money after you get inside the gate, but lots to do and see.  Disney knows how to “do it right”.  We enjoyed the World Showcase and spent most of our time visiting the country pavilions from around the world.  The day started hot and sunny, in the upper 80’s. About 3pm it clouded over, there was a clap of thunder and the skies opened up.  It rained so hard that you could not be in it more than a few seconds before you were soaked to the skin.  Disney doesn’t miss a bet.  They sold plastic ponchos with Mickey on the back for $6.  (You can buy the same poncho at Target without Mickey for about $1.50)  They must have sold thousands of them because it wasn’t long until everybody looked alike – Mickey poncho over short pants and wet shoes.  The closing ceremony is a light show, fire works, and dancing waters over the World Showcase Lagoon.  Worth the day just to see the show.  Also we got to see and hear the Fifth Dimension in concert.  Among others they sang their hits:  “Up, Up in My Yellow Balloon” and “The Age of Aquarius” from the 60’s.

As we travel, I am impressed by the diversity in the way English is spoken.  Usually there is a clear regional charter that identifies the area in which it is spoken.  There seem to be distinct boundaries that a particular accent or dialect respect.  As we have moved into the southeastern part of the USA I have noticed something a little different.  At first I noticed a subtle “Southern Accent”.  As we moved south it became more pronounced.  It is as if there is a blending, the accent becomes richer as you move south.  The clear language boundaries seen in other parts of the USA and Canada are not as evident here.

Saturday we start west on the long journey home.  Haven’t decided yet which route to take.


Adventures of Krystonia

November 26, 2003

Interstate 40 runs east and west from Knoxville, Tennessee through Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and all the way to California.  Just about 40 miles west of Oklahoma City at exit number 101 you can turn south; in about five miles you are in Hinton and in just about a mile there is a turn to Red Rock Canyon State Park.  That is where we stayed for two nights.

Hinton, Oklahoma – Population 2,175.  The main intersection in town is a four way stop sign.  The business part of town runs about one block each way east and west.  On the corner is a business that sells fashionable clothing and nick-knacks.  Also in this store is a home decorator business and carpet samples.  In the back corner there is a beauty shop where you can get your hair and fingernails done.  As you walk down the street you notice that many of the stores are multiple-purpose.  You can buy a pair of cowboy boots at the hardware store.  About half of the stores were empty including Dr. Hobbs Soda Fountain, “Serving you for 75 years.” A look in the window suggests it has not been closed long.  There was a large hand lettered sign in the window thanking those who had paid their bills and a list of folks that still owe.  There are two Mexican restaurants in town.  We ate at Fernando’s, one block east of the four way stop.  Inside, on the wall just above the kitchen area, painted in large letters was “Jesus” with Fernando’s painted in smaller letters below.  Also painted next to Jesus was the explanation – “This name is above all others.”

We went into the one clerk Post Office to mail some packages home.  The friendly clerk helped us package the stuff, gave us some bubble rap and taped up the boxes for us.  We have never had that kind of service anywhere.

Since leaving Florida we have been in Alabama; Mississippi; Louisiana; Hot Springs, Arkansas – “Boyhood home of Bill Clinton.” – Oklahoma; Texas; New Mexico; Colorado and Utah.  We have seen the bayous, a Plantation House, and the Tabasco factory.  We experienced severe rain and wind in Oklahoma.  We stayed in Tucumcari and Farmington, New Mexico.  In Farmington it got down to 17 degrees at night and never above 32 degrees during the day.  We are now in Castle Valley, Utah.  Castle Valley is about 20 miles up the Colorado River from Moab.  It is the home of Jim and Valli, our nephew and his wife who were kind enough to invite us for Thanksgiving.  When we arrived there was about 6 inches of snow on the ground.  Castle Valley is surrounded by red buttes so typical of this part of the country.  It is a beautiful setting with an outstanding view no matter which way you look.  The white snow in contrast to the red soil paints a wonderful picture.

Plans are to start home on Monday.  We still have not figured out what happened with our web site.  When we get home I will pick what I think are the best pictures of the trip and send them to you over the next few weeks.



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