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Travel Stories

Full-Time, Part One

May 13, 2008 - December 2008

LEFT HOME to become Full Time RVers on May13,2008.  Please follow our travels by reading the "Travel Stories". 
We will write as the spirit moves us.  We will publish our pictures as we go, maybe more often than the "Travel Stories", so check back whenever to see what is new.  Questions or comments are always welcome.  Email us by clicking on the email link above.

*** Blue dotted line - Fifth Wheel  ***  Red dotted line - Motor Home (starting 6/30/08) ***

  ***  gold star - overnight stops *** red star - State Capitols ***



Adventures of Krystonia

August 31, 2008

Krystonia Again…  The spirit of Krystonia has moved.  On June 27, 2008 it moved from the Wanderer Fifth Wheel into a 2004, 38-foot Itasca Motor Home.  But… more about that later.  The big news is that we are now Full-timers.  We pulled out of the driveway of our home of the past 32 years on May 13th.  It was a very emotional experience for all of us.  We found that “scaling down” involved giving up many things that had emotional strings attached.  We also discovered that we had stuff we did not even know we had.  Turns out that both our parents and grandparents were “collectors” and we became the depository for much of that stuff.  Seems like it took forever to sort.  We made many trips to Goodwill, had 2 garage sales, and gave the better stuff to the Assistance League.  We both found that any sustained effort was impossible.  We both needed many breaks (every few hours) to clear our heads and hearts.  Thank goodness for solitaire on the computer… 

First we headed south to Arlo’s 50-year college reunion, which turned out to be great fun.  Then back to Sacramento to finish up some medical stuff at Kaiser.  Interestingly, we could not bring ourselves to drive past the Diablo home.  We were able to lease it with the new tenants moving in June first. 

Next, began the search for a Motor Home.  We stayed with our friend Dick Reed in Colfax, just up Interstate 80 from Sacramento, for over 2 weeks.  Dick was great helping us test-drive several Motor Homes.  We learned so much from him but found nothing we were comfortable with.

Our Escapee friends, Kathy and Ron, gave us the name of a salesman in Eugene, OR.  We went to Eugene to just get acquainted.  Turns out that everything they said about him was true. We were questioning if we were ready for another major change so soon, but wanted to give him a feel for us.  Our plans were to stay in the Northwest for the summer.  Well, the very first RV he showed us was the one we bought.  It had almost everything we were looking for and we have been very happy.  You can see pictures of it on our web site www.krystonia.info

There were only two states other that Hawaii that we have not been in with an RV; Nebraska and Kentucky.  We are currently in Nebraska.  We expect to be in Kentucky in a few weeks.

There are other pictures on the Web of things we have seen along the way.  Please enjoy them…


Adventures of Krystonia

September, 3, 2008

Nebraska.  “The Cornhusker State.”  In all our RV travels we have missed going through Nebraska.  Always traveled either north or south of it.  Cross-country both ways in the 70’s with our travel trailer; missed it. More than 80,000 miles in the Fifth wheel; missed it.

So, when we started east on this trip we aimed for Nebraska.  We were expecting boring, straight highways through miles and miles of cornfields mixed with cattle ranches and feed lots.  Wrong!  What we found was that the roads are not always straight, there is open space that is undeveloped and we did not see a feedlot until we were coming into Lincoln.

We are not finding the ethnic diversity we are used to in the West, but the people are friendly, trusting and helpful.  We were in the Post Office in Scotts Bluff.  I brought my GPS because I did not want to leave it visible on the dashboard of the Jeep. (Old California habit)  The clerk chuckled and said that he never locks his car or house.  But he thought he probably should start latching the screen door to keep out the skunks and other critters.  In parking lots, we are used to hearing car horns honking and people remotely lock their cars.  The only horn we hear here is ours. (Old California habit)  The young people are refreshingly unsophisticated compared to California youth.  We were at a restaurant in Minden.  Our young waitress announced the specials of the day.  “We have Vera Cruz Chicken.  I don’t know what that is, must be some fancy way of fixing it.”  She was comfortable not knowing.

The landscape is more diverse than we expected.  There is lots of water, rivers and small lakes.  There are interesting geological formations.  We found the bluffs around Scotts Bluff interesting and pictorial.  Near there is Chimney Rock.  These are on the old Oregon Trail and were used as landmarks by the early Settlers on their way West.

Nebraska has a rich history. In addition to the Oregon Trail, the Mormon Trail and the Pony Express run through it.  The Pioneers that crossed the country were an interesting group.  If they were not tuff, tuff folks when they left home they surely were when they made it to their destination.  They were given a list of goods to bring.  Among the items on this list were 30 pounds of coffee and 200 pounds of bacon.  My how our taste and nutrition values have changed!

We are currently in Lincoln, the State Capitol.  This is a lovely city to visit.  One interesting find was “The Licorice List” located in the Haymarket District.  They have over 160 different kinds of licorice from all over the world, organized by country.  These include Dutch, Finnish, Italian, New Zealand and many others.  It comes as hard, firm, soft, bitter, sweet, salty, red, sugar free and gluten free.  You can order on line at www.licoriceinternational.com in case your mouth is watering. (Free shipping with orders over $100).


Adventures of Krystonia

September 18,2008 

University of Nebraska, aka The Huskers or Big Red is big on football.  Saturday is football day.  People come from miles and miles around, including neighboring states.  The Football Stadium is not far from the Haymarket area of Lincoln where they have a Saturday Morning Farmers Market.  We like to visit local Farmers Markets.  It is a good place to get a flavor of the area. They are not usually designed for tourists.  Much can be learned about the local culture and history by talking with the farmers.  In addition to the farmers, it is fun to “people watch” the locals.  We were warned that downtown got crowded on Football Saturday; we should get there early to get a place to park.

We arrived about 7:30 am and had no trouble parking.  At 8:00 am a whistle blew, telling the vendors it was OK to start selling.  After a couple of rounds of the vendors and buying some produce, it was time to eat breakfast.  By now the streets and sidewalks were filling up with folks in red shirts.  Many intersections had police officers directing traffic, both autos and pedestrians.  We found a nice restaurant filled with folks in red shirts. We had the “game day special”.

On our list of places to visit was the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery.  After breakfast the GPS led us to our place of interest, which was on the NU Campus. By the time we arrived folks in red shirts surrounded us.  Interestingly we pretty much had the Gallery all to ourselves.  An exhibit of Elizabeth King’s exceptional multimedia work especially impressed us.  There is a short slide show on the web if you are interested, but it does not give the full impact of seeing a lot more of her work in person.  http://sheldonartmuseum.org/slideshows/index.html?pgi=8 Or there is information about the Gallery at:  http://www.sheldonartgallery.org/

As we left the Art Museum the very large (I counted 20 Sousaphones) NU Marching Band was hyping up the fans arriving for the game by playing a concert on the quad.  What fun!!  When the band stopped playing it lead all the folks in red shirts into the stadium. We went the other way.  NU was playing San Jose Sate from California.  We knew that if we went to support a home team we would probably be run out of town. (NU won the game; it was not close.)

Now, we are in Iowa.  I was told once that Iowa stood for “Idiots Out Walking Around.”  Not true.  Natives here are friendly, helpful and intelligent.  (Current polls have Obama with 58%) We spent a few days in Winterset famous for three things:  The Covered Bridges of Mason County, Fons and Porter Quilt Shop (they have a quilting show on PBS) and the birthplace of the famous Republican and pretend cowboy Marion Morrison, aka John Wayne.  We did it all.  We are now in Des Moines doing some R & R and cleaning and organizing the rig.  We have had some rain but is has been sunny and in the 80’s the past few days. Only problem is the humidity has been between 65 and 90%.  We will take high 90’s or low 100’s and dry in Sacramento any time. 


Adventures of Krystonia

December 22, 2008 

OK… we have been in the Sacramento area for a while.  We are here for maintenance  (doctor, dentist and servicing on the Jeep) and celebration (Thanksgiving, Christmas and our 50th wedding anniversary).  Soon we will be starting our second 6 months of Full Time RVing.  There are new pictures on the web site:  www.krystonia.info on the First 6 Months Picture page.  On Saturday we will be headed south, looking for warm days and blue skies.  And now, some “Travel Stories”.

 Part One – Branson, MO

We did not know what to expect in Branson.  From what we remembered hearing we were thinking “Country Music”.  The joy of RVing is exploring new places and we were close, so why not go there?  There are several RV Parks.  We stayed at one that has over 500 sites.  It is well laid out with lots of open space with grass and trees.  The sites are terraced and level so there is a feeling of space between you and your neighbor.  And it was close to town!

Branson is an interesting city.  (www.branson.com/)  It is mostly made up of Theaters, restaurants and Motels.  There are 40+ stages in town. Everything from Dick Clark's American Bandstand; to Oak Ridge Boys Theater; to God in Country; to Legends Family Theatre; to Yakov Theater, and many others.  Many are Country but not all of them.

Andy Williams was the first major non-country entertainer to take up permanent residence in Branson in 1992.  Yes... He owns the Moon River Theater.  We decided to get tickets to see his show.  He put on a good show (almost 2.5 hours), lots of energy in a variety format like his old TV Show.  And he can still sing!  He is 81 years old and even dances a bit. Look for his picture on our web site:  www.Krystonia.info.

Part Two – Lawrence, Kansas

My Grandfather, Ulysses Grant Thomas died in November 1964 at age 103.  I was close to him.  I grew up living “next door”.  Please see Travel Stories for Jan 19th 2006 for more on this at www.krystonia.info. Look under Mexico 2006 Trip.

I can recall hearing stories about Lawrence when I was growing up.  My father’s older brother and sister were born there.  I always wanted to go there, and finally made it on this trip.  First stop was at the County Records office.  I learned that Grandpa was a farmer there in 1900 and owned land that he bought from his father.  The lady that helped us in the County office was very helpful.  She was able to show us on a map where the land was.  It is several miles north of town.  She said that at the time that my grandfather lived there it was on the Kansas River.  Since 1900 the river has shifted and the land is no longer riverfront.  We drove out to see it.  Much to our pleasure it is still farmland.  Somehow I expected to find a strip mall with a Mc Donald’s and a Starbucks.  Be sure to look at the pictures on the web site:  www.Krystonia.info   There are no words to express the awe I felt standing on my Grandfathers land. 

The Court House we went to was built in 1903, so it is very possible he stood in the same halls I did.  Just across the street form the Court House was the Wilkins Land Mortgage Company and National Bank (now a museum).  As I stood in the entrance I could imagine my Grandfather and Great-Grandfather going through the same doors to finalize the land sale between them over 100 years ago.

My father was born in 1905 in Washington State.  So what do we know?  Sometime before my father was born, my Grandfather left Lawrence for The West.  He traveled across country with a wife and two young children.  There were no Interstates, Motel 6’s or Fast Food places to stop.  In fact there were no paved roads!  That is hard for me to get my head around.  What a trip!  Sure wish I could talk to him about what it was like.  Then I could tell him about our trip across country in our Motor Home, with indoor plumbing, hot and cold running water, a good bed and a microwave oven (Huh he would say, what is that?)

What changes we have seen in just over 100 years.  Wonder what it will be like 100 years from now?