Thursday, July 31, 2008

Truth in Politics - Is That an Oxymoron?

"When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this — you haven't."– Thomas Edison

The site below claims to analyze candidates statements for accuracy and then reports their findings. We can't see that it leans either right or left, but please check it out and make your own determination.
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/

This is a bridge in France, which we will never drive over because France isn't on our list of must-see destinations. However, it is definitely a bridge that we would never want to cross.
Seventh Installment of Founding America: A Timeline
1773 - In January, Hutchinson opens the Massachusetts legislature with a speech explaining why Americans should recognize the supremacy of Parliament. On September 11, Benjamin Franklin publishes Rules Whereby a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One. Parliament adopts the Tea Act, giving the near-bankrupt East India Company a monopoly on the sale of tea in America. On December 16, a group of sixty radicals stage the Boston Tea Party in Boston Harbor; dressed as Mohawk Indians, they board three ships--the Dartmouth, the Eleanor, and the Beaver--and destroy 342 crates of East India Company British tea.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bridges, Roller Coasters, & Congress - Frightening Subjects

"There is no distinctly American criminal class - except Congress." - Mark Twain

The link below lists all the U.S. Senators and allows a person to view senator stands on issues and their voting records. Additionally, the senator can be emailed through his/her site. In our state, our senators usually do write us back. The site also lists their phone numbers in case you prefer calling. We encourage you to do something. We have Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House, and Harry Reid, senate majority leader, who are refusing to allow a vote on oil drilling. They are not listening to the demands of their own constituency. Let your senator and house representative know your opinion.


We love this picture. This is a picture of Sandy's son, Paul, and two of his sons, Isaiah (in glasses) and Kobe, while riding a roller coaster at Lego Land. At least Paul was having a good time. We're sure that the looks on Isaiah and Kobe's faces mirror the looks on our faces when we had to drive across bridges during our recent vacation.

Speaking of which, we're starting a new segment today entitled Bridges We Hope To Never Drive On. The bridge we're highlighting today is the Macinack Bridge. It connects Mackinaw, Michigan, to St. Ignace, Michigan. Just looking at this picture makes the color drain from our faces.
Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Funny Headlines

We decided to be a little less serious today. A big shout out to Karen, Sandy's daughter-in-law, for sending us the funny headlines below:

Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife and Daughter
This one was caught in the SGV Tribune the other day. The guy who caught it called the Editorial Room and asked who wrote this. It took two or three readings before the editor realized that what he was reading was impossible!!! They allegedly put in a correction the next day.

Other headlines:

Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says
No, really?

Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
Now that's taking things a bit far!

Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
What a guy!

Miners Refuse to Work after Death
Those no-good-for-nothing' lazy so-and-so's!

Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
See if that works any better than a fair trial!

War Dims Hope for Peace
I can see where it might have that effect!

If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile
Ya think?!

Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures
Who would have thought!

Enfield (London) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide
They may be on to something!

Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges
You mean there's something stronger than duct tape?!
Oklahoma's construction program!


Man Struck By Lightning: Faces Battery Charge
He probably IS the battery charge!

New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
Weren't they fat enough?!

Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft
That's what he gets for eating those beans!

Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
Do they taste like chicken?

Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half
Chainsaw Massacre all over again!

Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors
Boy, are they tall!

And the winner is....

Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead
Did I read that right?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Global Warming - An Inconvenient Inconvenience

"Government's first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives." - Ronald Reagan

If Al Gore believes so strongly in global warming, why do his actions suggest he subscribes to a do-as-I-say-and-not-as-I-do approach? Please check out the link below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESxvY1tQHTo

Sixth Installment of Founding America: A Timeline

1772 - Samuel Adams organized the Boston Committee of Correspondence, which mounts a campaign protesting a British plan to give Massachusetts Governor Thomas Hutchinson and other officials a royal salary.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Daily Training

One of the speakers at church today began by talking about the training it takes to participate in an athletic event; whether it is running a marathon or being on a team, a person needs to prepare and train in order to be at his best for the contest. Running around the block a couple of times does not mentally or physically prepare you to compete with those people who have spent months to get in their best physical form. Likewise, the speaker analogized, we need to be in daily training to live eternally in the presence of our Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ.

Wilford Woodruff stated: "We have been called to pass through trials many times, and I do not think we should complain, because if we had no trials we should hardly feel at home in the other world in the company of the prophets and apostles who were sawn asunder, crucified, etc., for the word of God and testimony of Jesus Christ."

Life dishes out some hard times, but we are in training. We are in training to join God and His prophets and the righteous people who have passed before us. The goal deserves our best effort, the best we have to offer, and our patience in trials and suffering, while we allow God to mold us into the person He wants us to be when we join Him.

Friday, July 25, 2008

No World Court for America

We don't believe that there is a place for a world court. The constitution of the United States is a divinely inspired document and we in the United States do not answer to any outside jurisdiction. The world court recently told President Bush and the American people that they need to stop the execution of foreigners. This link will take you to the Texas governor's response:

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/5890690.html

Fifth installment of Founding America: A Timeline:

1770 Parliament repeals all the Townshend duties except the tax on tea.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

This is the Place

Today we remember the pioneers who settled the Salt Lake City, Utah, valley and eventually all of Utah. July 24 is Pioneer Day in Utah and is as celebrated by Utahns as is the fourth of July. Below is a link to The Library of Congress sharing a brief history of the day, as well as photos of the Salt Lake valley in its early days.

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/today/jul24.html

Fourth installment of Founding America: A Timeline:

1769 In continued protests against the Townshend duties, colonists organize another boycott of British imports.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Basketball and Bridges

This week Edie is working at a basketball tournament for high school age boys that brings teams and college coaches from all over the United States and Canada. Since we spent our vacation touring several states, it is interesting to now meet the people coming to the tournament from those same recent vacation locales. Upon meeting someone from Philadelphia, Edie remarked that she was very impressed with the courteous driving there, to which the coach replied "You must have been there on a really good day." Oh... evidently Philadelphia does have some driver and traffic issues, but we still stand by our previous comments and how polite they are -- until they prove us wrong.

Edie also met a coach living in Toronto, but originally from New York. She mentioned that she was in Toronto recently and it gave her a headache. The coach defended Toronto, saying how great it is. Edie remarked that driving downtown Toronto is like driving on a ball field while a game is being played. There's action happening right in front of you, but there are also spectators on the side -- pretty much, people all over the place. The coach did agree with that and said that downtown Toronto is a lot like being in New York City. Hmmm... note to everyone -- if you are going to be driving in New York City, bring aspirin.

Another coach at the tournament is from Quebec. It was apparent by his name that he had family roots in another country so Edie asked him about its origin. He stated that his family is from the Ukraine and he is first generation North American. She asked if he could speak the language of Ukraine and he said yes, and that he spoke five languages. Very impressive.

There are teams from Nebraska at the tournament. Out of kindness, Edie said nothing to them about Nebraska. She didn't even mention her vacation to them.

Also on the subject of our vacation, Sandy looked online to see if she could find the bridge that spans the Delaware River between Philadelphia and New Jersey. It is the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, and we've posted a couple of pictures. For those of you who do not suffer from gephydrophobia (fear of crossing bridges--we looked it up. It's good to put a name to our neurosis.), these pictures may not seem daunting to you, but we wanted to pull the car over to the side of the road and cry when we thought we were going to have to cross it.





Third installment of Founding America: A Timeline of Events Leading up to the Revolutionary War and the Beginning of Our Country

1767 - In June and July, Charles Townshend, Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer, introduces a new bill to tax the importation into America of such goods as lead, paper, glass, and tea. American opposition to the Townshend duties is led by John Dickinson's Letters from a Pennsylvania Farmer.

Until next time...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Freedom - If It Was Worth Fighting To Get, Then It's Worth Fighting To Keep

Over two hundred years ago, brave men and women sacrificed everything to be free. They wanted to make their own choices and live their own lives free of government control. The years since then have brought more battles for freedom from enemies who hated American freedom. But more men and women have gone to battle to protect our freedom of choice, our freedom to govern ourselves, and the God-given right of agency. So, it's difficult to understand why our own citizens want to vote away their right to choose. There are people in this country who would give more power to the government, hoping that the people who legislate will feed and clothe them, pay for their medical care, take over the responsibility of educating their children. We are responsible for ourselves; that should be reason to rejoice, to be grateful. There is no other country that has the freedoms that Americans enjoy. Canada and England may have freedoms, but they pay high taxes for socialized government programs. The citizens of Canada and England are now trying to move away from socialized health care because it isn’t working. We can do better. We can take care of ourselves and each other without involving the government. Most of all, we can keep our right to choose. We need to hold our elected government representatives accountable.

A few months ago during the congressional grilling of the big oil companies’ executives, Maxine Waters, democrat congresswoman from California, let slip her desires to socialize the oil companies, which is what Hugo Chavez did in Venezuela. We’ve e-mailed Harry Reid three times now inquiring as to his opinion of Maxine Waters’ statement and how he feels about socializing our government. He did respond to the first e-mail, but he never addressed our question. We sent another e-mail to him today asking him to respond. We’ll let you know if we hear from him.

Installment 2 of Founding America: A Timeline (Events leading up to the Revolutionary War)

1766 - In response to colonial protests and petitions from British merchants, Parliament repeals the Stamp Act on March 18, but concurrently adopts a Declaratory Act stating that it retains the right to enact laws binding the colonists “in all cases.”

Monday, July 21, 2008

Health and History

"Only by acceptance of the past can you alter it."– T.S. Eliot

As part of our studying about health and nutrition, Edie has been reading about gluten intolerance and the symptoms exhibited in individuals who have gluten sensitivities. We both have some of the symptoms so, beginning today, we're going gluten free. A few of the symptoms of gluten sensitivities are listed below:

Gluten sensitivity has been known to...
cause irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease;
affect breathing and cause asthma;
suppress the metabolism and cause weight gain;
in more severe cases, cause weight loss;
cause eczema and dry skin;
cause joint pain;
cause acid reflux;
lead to a misdiagnosis of ADHD in children.

Companies add gluten to many products--it's not just in wheat products--and it's often disguised as an unpronounceable additive. It will be necessary for us to be very diligent and check the labels on all the products we buy. We'll keep you posted on how we do and, more importantly, to see if refraining from ingesting gluten eases any of the symptoms that we've experienced. If any of our readers have had experiences with gluten sensitivities, we'd love to hear from you.

On another subject, in one of the books we bought regarding the making of America, there is a section called Founding America: A Timeline. For those of us who have not attended school in many years, it's interesting to refresh our memories of the events that led to the Revolutionary War and the beginning of our country. We're going to include entries from this timeline in our blogs everyday, beginning with the earliest date of 1765 and ending with the year 1791. Below is the first entry:

1765 - On March 22, the British Parliament adopts the Stamp Act, imposing on the American colonies a tax on legal documents, newspapers, and playing cards. Colonists respond by pressuring the men appointed to distribute the stamps to resign their commissions, boycotting British goods, and convening an intercolonial Congress to state the grounds for American opposition.

That's all for now, but we'll be back.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

There's No Place Like Home

We're home. It was another long day of driving, but we pulled in between 7:00 and 7:30 this evening (Sunday). Our journey was very educational, enlightening and enjoyable, and we look forward to more road trips in the future. Below are a few of our thoughts.

We've often complained about the heat in Southern Nevada during July and August, but we will complain no more. Yes, sometimes the heat seems unbearable, but we'll take the heat any day over the humidity in almost every other state we visited. Even though many of the places we saw were beautiful and green, figuratively speaking, the grass isn't always greener... We loved the mountains and the trees in Flagstaff, Arizona, and enjoyed the desert beauty as we were getting closer to home. We now can even recognize the beauty of the mountains surrounding the Las Vegas valley.

There were several "actual conversations in car" that will never leave the car. Some things we just can't share, but suffice it to say that we entertained ourselves.

Gas wasn't as expensive as we had anticipated. In a couple of the states, gas was $3.89 per gallon.

We're going to continue to blog, hopefully every day, especially in this election year. Our political interests were piqued several years ago when we read The Making of America, by Cleon Skouson. It's a very eye-opening book that we highly recommend. While visiting United States historical sites, several questions arose that we weren't sure of the answers, so we bought the following books: What Would the Founders Do?, The Miracle at Philadelphia, The Road to Monticello, and Founding America. We will share on our blog insights that we gain from our reading as well as any interesting political events du jour. We also enjoy studying about health and nutritional issues, so we'll share those items of interest as well.

Thanks for following our travels and for all of the comments. We hope you keep reading and will continue to comment.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Long and Winding Road...

Today's quote is actually something we saw on a neon sign as we entered Nashville a couple of days ago. Unfortunately, it was dark so we could not see the building to which the sign was attached, but the flashing statement is worthy of being quoted here:

"The U.S. Congress has a 9% approval rating. What are the 9% thinking?"

First, we'd like to thank everyone who has commented on our blog. We appreciate comments from everyone, whether or not we personally know you. Please feel free to continue to comment. We feel like we are getting to know a whole new community through the blogosphere.

Second, we'd like to thank everyone who has been praying for our safety during this trip. We have felt the tender mercies of heaven as we made this long journey and appreciate the car starting every day, that we haven't done a Thelma & Louise off of a bridge, and just that we and our family members have been safe.

Tonight we are in Gallup, New Mexico. Since we drove into town in the dark, we can't tell you anything about the area, but, hopefully, we are in a safe neighborhood. We are in a nice hotel, however.

We've learned a few things about hotels. We hate the Red Roof Inn -- economy hotels aren't worth it. We've stayed in a Hilton Garden Inn which was very nice. As we mentioned in a previous blog, we enjoy the Carlson Country Inn & Suites -- they're very quaint. We stayed one night at a Marriott -- that was in Maryland by the Cal Ripken ballpark. It was also nice and we would recommend it to anyone going to Baltimore to watch the Orioles play. But our favorite hotel has been the Hilton Hampton Inn. The beds are the most comfortable of all the hotels, breakfast is included with the room, the room is supplied with iron, ironing board, and blow dryer, and most of them, though not all, have microwaves and refrigerators in the room. We will probably join the Hilton Hotel rewards program to take advantage of in future trips. Hopefully, we will have many more in our future.

Since we mentioned our appreciation for a well-running car, we also have to mention that we are grateful for the savvy negotiation of Mrs. Garmin. If we don't mention her, she will get herself in a snit. For the most part, she has kept us on the correct path (though a few times she has taken us through questionable neighborhoods that made us sweat and pray at the same time), but there have been a couple of times that she has taken us on a dead-end that made us wonder if she was trying to let us know that we shouldn't take her for granted.

As for today's journey, we drove all day from Oklahoma City through the upper part of Texas and into New Mexico. We have to mention that, while we are sure there are lovely people in Amarillo, Texas, we have both driven through Amarillo before and we don't care for it. We don't recommend visiting Amarillo. We've posted a picture that we took in Oklahoma. Here's country life in a snapshot. Don't see farm equipment at a gas station in Las Vegas.

We took time to stop in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to take a picture of the LDS temple there. It is completely different from any other temple we have seen -- very suited to the desert area. The desert in New Mexico is greener than southern Nevada. The homes around the temple are very nice, obviously costly, and that part of Albuquerque is lovely.

As soon as we left Albuquerque we ran into rain, lightning and thunder included. Gallup is about two hours away from Albuquerque and, while it didn't rain the entire two hours, it rained enough that we were glad to pull over and rest for the night. Gallup is being pelted with a downpour now.

We are actually very fortunate that we haven't seen more rain since it's monsoon season. New Mexico, Iowa, and some rain in New York have been our only encounters.

We have seen a lot of sites on this trip, but there was so much more to see. Edie has now been to Nashville three times and Sandy has been there twice, yet there are plantations that we haven't seen, nor has either of us seen The Hermitage, Andrew Jackson's home. We also passed several exits to civil war battlefields that we would like to visit some day.

Each of us has seen 29 states, 27 of them are the same states so we are a little more than halfway to seeing all 50 states. Edie will need to repeat Louisiana and Hawaii with Sandy, and Sandy will need to repeat Oregon and Washington with Edie. We look forward to future trips and hope we can complete our 50 state tour. When that is done, we'll go back and see everything we missed.

Isaiah -- we left Oklahoma this morning, traveled through the top part of Texas, and almost all the way through New Mexico. We are within an hour of the Arizona border.

Gladys -- we will see you soon, too.

Shout out to all our blog readers!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Bridge Over Troubled Water

Sandy’s quote:
“If you chance to meet a frown, do not let it stay.” (LDS Primary song)

It’s very late so this will be brief. We left Nashville this morning with Oklahoma City as our goal and we have achieved that, though it’s been a long day of traveling for us and it’s now almost midnight. We took a detour in Memphis to see the LDS temple there (picture posted above) and drive past Graceland. Sandy attempted to take a picture of Elvis’ home, but it’s right off of a busy street and there wasn’t much opportunity to stop. There’s so much more to see in Memphis, such as Beale Street, one of the early areas of Jazz, and the Martin Luther king, Jr., sites – the hotel where he was killed and the civil rights museum. We just don’t have time to do everything.
We took this picture while driving past Graceland. We're not sure what it is, but it was parked right next to Elvis' plane, the Lisa Marie, so we're assuming it was his car. It may not be, however, but we're including the picture nonetheless.
Sandy thinks she’s almost cured of her bridge-over-large-bodies-of-water phobia. We crossed the Mississippi today, and the state changes from Tennessee to Arkansas right in the middle of the bridge. Sandy handled the crossing pretty well – Edie still doesn’t care for it.

We also were detained in Fort Smith, Arkansas, because the internet told us that there was a great frozen custard place there, but the reality is that it doesn’t exist. Oh well, we’ll just have to find a Cold Stone somewhere later.
This is a picture of the North Carolina temple. It looks as if it is the same design as the Memphis temple that is pictured above.

So, we are almost home. We will cross the top part of Texas tomorrow and get almost through New Mexico. Sunday will be traveling through Arizona and then entering Nevada. It’s been a wonderful trip, but we’re anxious to be home.
Before we left Nevada, we made a non-cranky pact – we can’t be cranky with each other and we’ve managed to stay true to that pact. Can’t say the same for the people who have been traveling on the road with us. Some have made us cranky and others we have made cranky.

Isaiah – we left Tennessee, traveled all the way across Arkansas, and into Oklahoma.

Isaiah, Kobe, Jonas, Paul, Ines, Bill, & Karen – See you all soon!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

West Side Story

"Life isn't too short. It's the longest thing anyone will ever do." - recently spotted bumper sticker.

We left Raleigh, North Carolina, this morning, and we're now heading west to home. It's been a long day of driving, but we're now in Nashville, Tennessee. Before leaving North Carolina, we were able to stop by the Raleigh LDS temple. We'll post the picture tomorrow, because we left the camera in the car and we're both too exhausted to go get it.

The countryside in Tennessee is beautiful. We drove through mountains and crossed over rivers. It's very green with lots of trees, but not so many trees that you can't see anything else. The people we've encountered in Tennessee have been very friendly. We ate at an Italian restaurant within walking distance of our hotel, and the manager was very pleasant. When we explained why we probably wouldn't be back to eat at Sole Mio's, he talked to us for quite a while about our trip and the different places we've seen. The staff at the Hampton Inn, where we're staying tonight, were also very friendly and talked to us for several minutes about our travels.

Sole Mio's in Nashville had a very nice atmosphere--probably too classy for us. The food was good, but not excellent. We probably wouldn't choose to eat there again.

Tomorrow we're hoping to make it to Oklahoma City. The trip home is more driving than sight seeing, so we're missing some of the things we would like to see. We just didn't have enough time to squeeze everything in.

There is corn in North Carolina, but we didn't see any in Tennessee.

Shout out to the Melanies in Clearfield.

Isaiah - Today we were in North Carolina and Tennessee.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Southern Belles

"You know how to make God laugh? Tell Him your plans." - anonymous

The day started with humidity -- oh wait, they all start with humidity. We started the day in Richmond, Virgina; a place with significant U.S. history. Unfortunately, we didn't have much time to see many sites so we chose to go to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home, as we have heard that it is a must-see. We've posted a picture of the front, but we weren't allowed to take pictures of the inside. There is an admission fee, but well worth it. You could spend an entire day taking all of the available tours just in that one place. We were only able to take the tour of the house, which lasted 30-40 minutes. Due to fire codes, you cannot tour the second floor bedrooms, but you do get to see most of the first floor. The tour guide stated that 95% of the items in the home were authentic to the house.

Thomas Jefferson was quite ingenious and an avid reader. There are some books in the home that actually belonged to Jefferson. We recommend the tour, but again, we recommend it in the spring or fall.

We're sure this will sound strange to our fellow desert rats, but we're tired of looking at trees. There are trees everywhere; in the median and lining both sides of the freeways. We can't see any town or site along the road because trees are in the way. Yesterday we passed Quantico, the Marine cemetery, right by the freeway, but saw nothing of it because we got to look at trees instead. We enjoy the change from desert to green, but enough trees already!

We are now in Raleigh, North Carolina. Sandy's granddaughter lives here and we were anxious to get to her home in time to take her to dinner and spend a couple of hours visiting. We pulled into Raleigh during rush hour, but managed to get to Savannah's house and spend about three hours with her. She suggested The Twisted Fork for dinner, a restaurant unique to the Raleigh area. We cannot recommend it highly enough. The burgers were bigger than our hands, and the appetizers we ordered were different flavored hot dips for crackers. That doesn't really describe how wonderful it tasted, but boy did it taste wonderful. We asked if they would please open a store in Las Vegas; they said they would see what they could do.

We also found a store called Bath Junkies; another great find. They sell items similar to Bath and Body Works; however, they make the items on site for you with any fragrance and color you choose, so two people can have the same fragrance, but different colors. She let us use the scrub in the store and our skin felt as smooth as if it were new. We highly recommend it. Unfortunately, Las Vegas doesn't have a store, but you can order from the Raleigh shop by going to http://www.bathjunkie.com/ and in the location area find the Triangle Town Center shop in Raleigh, North Carolina. They will ship for only $10.

Thanks for all of the happy birthday wishes that were sent to Sandy, either by commenting to our blog or by e-mail or by phone.
Isaiah - Today we were in Virginia and North Carolina
Isaiah, Kobe, & Jonas - Miss all of you. Can't wait to see you on Sunday.
Savannah - We're so glad we got to spend some time with you today. We look forward to seeing you again in August.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

"The most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government, and I'm here to help.'" - Ronald Reagan

First, we have to make a small correction to yesterday's post. As we were checking out of our hotel this morning in Aberdeen, Maryland, we took a good look at the Cal Ripken baseball stadium and realized that there was no way it could be a major league baseball field -- just not big enough. (We were really tired last night and didn't get a good look at the whole ballpark.) Assuming that it was part of the Baltimore Orioles farm teams, we double checked with the hotel clerk and confirmed our assumption. So the Cal Ripken baseball field is not for the Baltimore Orioles major league team, but is for their farm teams.

We did not have a lot of driving to do today as we only traveled about an hour south of last night's hotel to reach our first destination. Passing through Baltimore, we headed towards the city where the ill-advised, uninformed, and out-of-touch spend their days working. Yes, you guessed it, we went to Washington, D.C., where the United States Congress (the one with the 9% approval rating) spend their days wasting time and spending our money. But, we digress. We were able to get up close pictures of the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument. The day was so muggy and hot that we weren't able to walk all the way to the U.S. Capital building, but we did a drive-by photo shot which turned out fine. We also drove as close to The White House as we could, but heightened security prevents you from getting very close.

It is our theory that these old cities that existed long before cars have crazy, narrow roads because the roads had to be put around existing buildings. That theory would make sense in Washington, D.C., as the roads are narrow and make no sense. They go all over the place. What is an outside lane on one block may be a parking area on the next block, so you really have to watch.
Washing-ton, D.C., is worth seeing, but plan ahead. Know what you want to see and get a map of the area. There is free parking, but it's limited and, again, you need to know where you are going. We found that if you turn off Ohio Street behind the Lincoln Memorial it will take you to several free parking areas.

We also suggest that you make this trip in the spring or fall. The humidity and heat combined can really make you feel sick.
We've posted a picture of the Washington Monument. There was quite a bit of construction going on, some of which we inadvertently included in the bottom of the picture.

We did find our way to the LDS Washing-ton, D.C., temple. We are posting that picture.
Tonight we are in Ashland, Virginia, not far from Richmond, Virginia. That drive was only about 1-1/2 hours from Washington, D.C. Tomorrow we hope to take in a couple of local sites before heading to Raleigh, North Carolina, to see Savannah.

Isaiah - we left Maryland this morning, went through Washington, D.C., and Virginia.

Kobe and Jonas - we are thinking of you, too.
We've seen no corn today.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Let Freedom Ring

"If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan

We forgot to include the picture of the Palmyra LDS temple in yesterday's blog, so we're including it today.

We left Palmyra Sunday morning and returned to Callie and Scott's in Buffalo to spend the day with them and their dogs, Jessie and Harley, before heading to Philadelphia early Monday morning. Our last meal with Callie and Scott was our favorite, again from Bozzanna's. We had never heard of chicken finger pizza, but is it ever good! All four of our thumbs up to Bozzanna's. We said our goodbyes and headed to our new and improved motel room at the Hampton Inn in East Aurora, New York. What a difference from the Red Roof Inn! It was more than clean, it was luxurious.

We had to get up early and head to Philadelphia so we could tour Indepen-dence Hall. We were just able to get there in time to catch the 3:45 tour and then go across the street to see the Liberty Bell. A picture of Independence Hall is above. Philadelphia is a lot like Toronto--people all over, narrow roads, no where to turn. The only difference is that we actually got out of the car this time. We were proud to be in the same room (picture below) where both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed. We couldn't help but think of the hundreds of years of history that surrounded us, and ponder on the feet that had walked those halls before us--Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, etc. We were glad for the opportunity to see these historic sites, but we probably won't be back. It was crowded, hot, muggy, and parking is expensive. It cost us $18 for approximately three hours. However, we must say that the Philadelphians were very friendly. When we pulled into the expensive parking garage, we were lost and confused. Edie rolled down the car window to seek assistance from a gentleman and he very nicely said, "Whatsa mattah?" and helped us. Driving in Philadelphia was also a pleasant surprise. Unlike the Canadians, the Philadelphians were courteous drivers, and we really had no slow downs on the freeways even though we were traveling them in 5:00 rush hour traffic.

Picture of the Liberty Bell.
Bridge alert: There was one hideous bridge incident in which Sandy was driving. We made it across with minimal swear words and no casualties. However, there was definitely white-knuckled driving and terror etched in both of our faces. Then we saw in the distance a bridge that made us both sick to our stomachs. We were trying to figure out how we were going to get a tow truck to take the car across the bridge, and then we would figure out how to get ourselves across. Fortunately, that bridge was not on our route. Phew! It's a massive bridge that spans the Delaware river from Philadelphia to New Jersey.

The drive through Pennsylvania was absolutely beautiful--green mountains and thick woods. It was very picturesque, and by the way, Pennsylvanians grow corn.

Now we're in our hotel room in Aberdeen, Maryland, and it's right next door to Ripken Stadium, home of the Baltimore Orioles. When we say right next door, we mean right next door. We're exhausted from a long day of driving and from being in the heat and humidity, but we're glad for the experiences of today and now we're looking forward to a good night's sleep.

Callie - Hugs kisses - miss you already. He'ey to Scott.

Isaiah - Today we left New York and went to Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland.

Bill & Karen - We talked to Savannah yesterday while you were at the movies. Can't wait to see her.

Paul & Ines - It's almost over. We'll be home in less than a week.

"If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant's life, she will choose to save the infant's life without even considering if there are men on base." ~Dave Barry

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Hill is Alive

"To reach any significant goal, you must leave your comfort zone." - Hyrum W. Smith

On Saturday morning we left Motel Hell, a.k.a Red Roof Inn, for good. So what we learned about budget hotels is that they aren’t really that much of a bargain. The rooms aren’t great (and by great, we mean clean) and every extra is an additional charge. In the hotels we had stayed in during the drive to Buffalo, the rooms had Wi-Fi service as part of the room rate, irons/ironing boards and blow dryers were in each room along with microwaves and refrigerators, and breakfast was served the next morning. RRI charged $10 extra for 24 hours of Wi-Fi, which meant $30 extra for the week of stay – and that was with carefully juggling each 24-hour period. There was no blow dryer or iron in the room and certainly breakfast was not served in the morning; microwaves and refrigerators were no where in sight, let alone in our room. By the time we added up the costs for the budget hotel, it put us in the same dollar category as the Country Inn & Suites we stayed at. To sum it up, we do not recommend Red Roof Inn or any other budget hotel, unless you have no hair to dry, no computer, no clothes to iron, and you are not that picky about where you put your head at night to sleep.

After checking out of the RRI, we headed to Callie’s house to pick her up so she could join us on our trip to Palmyra, New York; approximately 1-1/2 hours east of Buffalo. Our Saturday night room reservations were for the Palmyra Inn, an inn we highly recommend. If you ever go to Palmyra to view LDS church history sites, then you should choose the Palmyra Inn for your nightly accommodations. But plan ahead and make reservations far in advance because they are the only hotel close to all the sites and they fill up fast. We made our reservations on February 1, the first day they will reserve rooms for the Hill Cumorah pageant, and the rooms went quickly; especially since the pageant cast also stays at the Palmyra Inn. The Palmyra temple and local church building sit right behind the inn, and the Joseph Smith, Sr., home and Sacred Grove are not far from those two buildings. The inn is 2.5 miles from the Hill Cumorah (most other accommodations are around ten miles away) and they provide a shuttle service to and from the pageant, free of charge.

The hotel was clean, spacious, and each room had a small kitchenette, complete with microwave and refrigerator. The lobby had a small store where a variety of items could be found, everything from frozen pizzas and mac ‘n cheese to Christus statues and Palmyra sweatshirts. It was a wonderful place to stay and breakfast was included the next morning.This picture is a behind-the-scenes look at the preparation for the Hill Cumorah Pageant. There are five rows of chairs in front of the stage area for a total of approximately 8,000 seats.

(We were having a difficult time getting good pictures during the pageant, but we thought we would include a couple of them anyway.) This picture is during the part of the pageant where Lehi and his family build a ship and sail from Jerusalem to the Americas.

We really enjoyed the pageant. It starts at sundown, about 9:15, and lasts until around 10:30. We arrived on the 6:00 p.m. shuttle, thinking that we should get there early for a good place to sit. As it turned out, we would have been safe arriving as late as 8:00 p.m. There really isn’t a bad seat and they don’t fill up very quickly. If we attend the pageant again, we will arrive early in the day to put blankets over the seats we want and then return about 7:30 or 8:00 that night; we discovered that several people did that very thing and had no problem keeping their seats.

The cast mingled with the audience for probably two hours prior to the beginning of the pageant. We were also fortunate that the rain stopped and sky cleared before the pageant began, not to mention how grateful we were for the cool breeze that gently blew to help cut the dreaded humidity. As we talked with cast members and other hotel patrons, the question is always “where are you from?” We met people from Arizona, Utah, and Idaho. Other people were from this side of the states. And not everyone was LDS. It was a well-rounded group of people.

The pageant is very special and quite spiritual. We wonder what people driving down the road right outside the Cumorah grounds think when they see Jesus descend from the sky. The picture on the left is of the Angel Moroni Monument at the Hill Cumorah. The picture to the right, although it's difficult to make out, depicts the scene during the pageant when Jesus, after His resurrection, visits Lehi's descendants in America.


Thus concludes the LDS Church History portion of our tour. Tomorrow begins the United States History portion.

Thank you for traveling with the SEA (Sandy-Edie Agency).

Friday, July 11, 2008

Laid Back, Car Care Friday

"God creates us all in His image. There are no second-class citizens, no minorities, no human beings greater or lesser than any other. We are all the same in His eyes." - anonymous

As a follow up to one of our previous posts, Callie lives in a wonderful neighborhood. There are no tennis shoes hanging on telephone wires in her neighborhood. I used the tennis shoe analogy so you could get a mental picture of how the traffic lights are hung here. They look as if they've been thrown over the wires.

Shout out to Joanne. She's the housekeeper du jour here at the Red Roof Inn. We've been here since last Monday, and today is the first day that our carpet has been vacuumed or that the bathroom has been cleaned.

Shout out to Towne Hyundai Orchard Park, New York, for great customer service today. We paid a visit to the local Hyundai store today to get the oil changed on the car and to have it checked for any problems before we start back across the country to Nevada.

Shout out to Hyundai for making a great car. It has driven flawlessly for almost 3,000 miles in one week, and the gas mileage has been great - 28 to 30 mpg on highway; 25+ mpg in city.

Actual conversation in car segment:

While on our way back to our hotel

Sandy looking for a Quicki Mart: "In Vegas there would be a Quickie Mart on every corner."

Edie: "They could be that way here, too, but I can't see anything through all the foliage."

It is green and lush here, but there is a small price to pay for it...humidity. It's a little more humid today than it was yesterday, but it isn't hot outside. Callie tells us that nobody here uses sprinklers. The grass just stays green because of the rains and humidity. We were wondering what desert landscaping would look like. Probably not realistic since we would have to hire someone to keep the grass from growing among the desert rocks.
Today was another uneventful day, so we thought we'd share some more pictures from our day in Canada.

This is a picture of the John McFarland residence in Niagara-on-the-Lake. It was built in 1800 and was the residence of John McFarland and his family for 150 years. McFarland built the home with his sons from bricks made in a kiln on the property. During the War of 1812 the home was used as a hospital for injured British and American soldiers, and a British cannon was set up on its property to protect the river. The house was restored in 1959, using period pieces to recreate its original appearance. This home is surrounded by a large park that sits right next to Lake Ontario. It was in this beautiful park that we saw folks riding bikes and picnicking.

This is a picture of the back of a horse-drawn carriage. At the Dairy Queen a few days earlier, horses were behind us in the drive-through line. At Niagara-on-the-Lake, we got to be behind the horses.

We've enjoyed trying the local cuisine and restaurants that we have never heard of. In addition to Bob Evans restaurant, we also have had breakfast and lunch at Perkins restaurant. Perkins is a family restaurant, somewhat comparable to Marie Callendar's as it has muffins, pies, and cookies.
Last night we had pizza from Bozzana's -- it looks like a dive inside, but boy do they make some great pizza. We had to work at getting two pieces down as the slices are big and full. Tonight we had Beef on Weck sandwiches, which is roast beef on salted kimmelweck rolls. They were good, but Edie's favorites are the chicken finger subs we had Tuesday night, and the pizza from Bozzana's. Sandy liked the pizza but says it had too much pepperoni and needed some vegetables.
Tomorrow we're heading to Palmyra, New York, to watch the Hill Cumorah Pageant. We'll report on that tomorrow and share pictures from the pageant.
This is our last night in this hotel--wahoo!!
Don't touch that dial!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Little Patience and Follow the Signs

"The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become." - Charles du Bois

Sisters' Log - Day 8

We learned today that one should have patience, because one doesn't always know what's ahead. We were heading to downtown Buffalo to see some sights and came to a red light that seemed silly to us. It was a few hundred feet before a small bridge, but there was no cross traffic to stop for. There wasn't even a street crossing the one we were on for cross traffic to drive on. Sandy said aloud that maybe she should just run the light, since it seemed like it had no purpose and it had been red for what seemed like forever, but then from over the bridge, coming directly at us, was a line of traffic. The bridge had been narrowed to one lane for road work, so traffic couldn't cross going both directions. We would have looked silly backing up all the way to the light had we run it while it was red. Sandy really wouldn't have run a red light, but she was getting irritated at the light that seemed to have no purpose. Patience is a virtue.

What a beautiful day it was in Buffalo today. The humidity was gone and it wasn't as hot as it has been the last couple of days. There was even a nice breeze blowing today. Callie has taken us for some breathtakingly beautiful drives through the countryside. Buffalo really is a beautiful city--at least the part where Callie lives.

Actual conversation in car while driving over yet another bridge.

Edie: "That is a vast amount of water over there to the left."

Sandy: "That's Erie."

Edie: "I know, but what's the name of the lake?"

Have you ever seen overhead electrical wires with shoes thrown over them and they're dangling by the shoelaces? That's what the traffic lights look like in Buffalo. We've posted a picture of the lights at one intersection. We're not sure what happens to the lights when a brisk wind comes through.

We didn't go to the Niagara Falls yesterday, because we've both seen the Falls, but we've posted pictures that Sandy took four years ago when she was there. The smaller straight falls are called the Bridal Falls, and they're on the American side. The larger falls are called the Horseshoe Falls and they're on the Canadian side. If you ever have the opportunity to see Niagara Falls, we recommend that you take a ride on the Maid of the Mist, a boat ride that takes you right by both of the falls. You can see the Maid of the Mist boat in front of the Horseshoe Falls, to give you an idea of how big the falls are. The Maid of the Mist is also on the bottom left of the picture of the Bridal Falls.

We've also posted a picture of the back of the Buffalo Bills stadium. We couldn't get a picture of the front of the stadium because of road work. Road work seems to be a common theme all across America.

Shout out to the desert. The foliage in Buffalo is beautiful, but when you're trying to get somewhere using street signs that you can't see because of all the leafy trees or street lights that you have no idea which way they're pointing because they're bouncing around on a thread, it can be a little disconcerting. The beautiful trees also limits picture taking of large objects, but we did get a picture of one very old beautiful cathedral (we try to be equal opportunity religious structure picture takers -- we're charter members of the EORSPT). This is a picture of Basilica Our Lady of Victory Catholic church. We learned today that there is only one Basilica in a city and that is the church building that the Pope goes to if he's in town. Father Baker oversaw the construction. After five years of work, the Church was dedicated and consecrated on May 25th 1926 by Cardinal Patrick Hayes and Bishop William Turner. Two months later Pope Pius XI elevated the Shrine to a minor Basilica, making it the second such church in the United States.

We went to UPS today to send home a few items that we aren't going to need. The girl behind the counter told us she attended Green Valley High School and graduated in 2001. We spoke to her for several minutes about home and the differences between the east coast and the west coast. She said we made her day.

Notes to self:

Make sure all of your toes are in the car before you shut the door.

Curling irons are for hair, not foreheads.

Thanks very much to all who have sent comments. We love hearing from our friends and family.
Jami - We're looking for a synogogue to photograph to use for the blog, being members of the EORSPT and all.

Vicki - We're glad you're enjoying our blog. It snows in New York in the winter. You may want to consider visiting Damon in the spring or fall.
Jonas - Hope your forehead is getting better. We can compare the bruise on your forehead and the bruise on Grammy's little toe when we get home. Edie burned a hole in her forehead.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Oh Canada

"To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it." - G.K. Chesterton

Sisters' Log - Day 7

This morning we awoke to rain. Between the humidity and the rain we've given up on any semblance of having hairdos. Sandy says she's going to send her hot curlers home tomorrow via UPS.

We wanted to try Bob Evans Restaurants, because we had heard that they're owned by the same folks who own Mimi's. So we plugged it into Mrs. Garmin and drove 20 miles to the nearest one. It was similar to a Denny's, but the food was good and very reasonably priced. Edie had stuffed hotcakes (stuffed with a sweet cream cheese filling & topped with blueberries). Two thumbs up from Edie. Sandy says why are you in her business? If you want to know how the food is, try it yourself. Sandy has been a little cranky lately.

Then on to Canada we went:

Breakfast for two at Bob Evans: $15.48

Passport to cross the border: $125

Tolls to get to Canada: $.45

The look on Sandy's ashen face as she drove on the bridge that crossed Niagara River: Priceless

As a point of information for those of you who don't know, Sandy hates the huge bridges that rise up to a point over large bodies of water and then descends to the other side. They make her want to hurl. She especially hates them if she's the driver. Edie doesn't much care for them either.

Actual conversation in car, when both Edie and Sandy wished that they had stunt drivers:

Edie, consolingly to Sandy: "It's not that wide of a river, Sandy."

Sandy, hysterically to Edie: "It's not that wide of a road either!"

Why didn't somebody tell us that there's so much water in the land of the great lakes and Niagara Falls?
Our first stop was Niagara-on-the-Lake, a small, quaint community in Canada just on the other side of the border. What a beautiful area. We highly recommend visiting. Horse drawn carriages with views of Lake Ontario and folks riding bikes and having picnics were common scenes. This is a picture of Lake Ontario taken from Niagara-on-the-Lake.

We left Niagara-on-the-Lake to head to Toronto, which is approximately two hours north of Niagara-on-the-Lake. The drive took us around Lake Ontario, which at most points is so big that we couldn't see the other side of the lake. What we didn't know is that Canadians think driving on the Queen's Way thruway is the same thing as the German Autobahn. Evidently posting a speed limit is just job security for the sign maker. We saw several police on the side of the road. They waved as the Canadians flew by. Also, Canadians have never heard of the rule of keeping one car length between cars for every ten miles per hour they're driving. If there's an open space between cars, they fill it. In the United States, it's rare to have a semi truck pass you on the road. In Canada it's all they can do to keep their speed down enough to not drive over the top of you. It's quite intimidating to look in your rear-view mirror and the only thing you can see out the back window is the grill of a semi. And it will stay that way even if both lanes on either side of you are open. Canadians also like to test their horns while driving, just to make sure they're still working from five minutes ago when they tested their horns. Evidently, Canadian auto horn makers need job security, too. A sign when we first entered Canada showed the speed limit at 100 kilometers or 60 miles per hour. We tried that speed for a few minutes, but quickly realized we were going to be run over if we didn't pick it up.

Mrs. Garmin took us to the Toronto LDS temple, which is in a suburb right before entering Toronto. We have posted a picture of it. It was exciting for us to get to see that temple, since we don't know if we'll ever get there again.

Then we decided to see sights in downtown Toronto, and we passed the Toronto Blue Jays stadium. That was about the only sight we saw. We got downtown, made a U-turn and headed back to the land of the free and the home of the brave. There was no place to park in Toronto. We couldn't even see where cars park in downtown Toronto. It was a mass of people on foot and on bike and of cars in motion. Suffice it to say we have no interest in returning to Toronto either. It made our heads explode. The nice man at customs when we entered the United States told us that parking in downtown Toronto is ridiculously expensive. He also told us the secret to getting to a Blue Jays game if we ever decided to go back and watch one. Edie says we don't need to tell you the secret. She's getting cranky, too. This picture of the Blue Jays' stadium was taken as we drove by on the freeway.

While we were driving to Niagara-on-the-Lake, we saw a bridge off to the west a little bit. We both commented that we were glad we weren't going on that bridge. Guess what! We got to go over it on the way back to the United States. Edie got to drive this time.

We don't know what we paid for gas in Canada, but we do know that Canadians grow corn.

Shout out to Canada for providing the backdrop for the cult-classic movie, Strange Brew.

Shout out to Amanda - Edie's short hair cut is wonderful.

Shout out to Tricia - The only curl Sandy has in her hair is from the perm you gave her.

Gladys - You could have come on this trip. Trust us when we tell you that we've made many stops, if you get our drift.

Kellie - You read the entire paragraph about our freedoms and the importance of voting in people who will protect our freedoms, and all you took away from that is that we watch Oprah?

Jami - We're keeping our Jewish friends in mind as we see the sights and eat the food. We'll keep you posted.

Savannah - Can't wait to see you.

Isaiah - Find the province of Ontario on the map, look for Lake Ontario, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Toronto.

Kobe - We haven't seen anybody play Play Station since we left.

Jonas - Quit trying to play with the Play Station. You're too young.

And so were the Days of Their Lives...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Family & Relaxation

"It's only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth--and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up--that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had." - Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Remember that two-thumbs up we gave to Country Inn Suites? Red Roof Inn? Not so much.

Evidently we were exhausted from our long drive getting to Buffalo; because, even though our motel room was not conducive to a great night’s sleep, we slept like we were in comas. We slept so long we were too late for breakfast at Tim Horton’s. For the west coast crowd, Tim Horton’s is a chain of small east coast restaurants similar to Starbucks, but they serve breakfast sandwiches and wonderful pastries as well as sandwiches for lunch. So we ate lunch at Tim's instead.

We then headed to Wegman’s, a grocery store in Buffalo. Wegman’s is a grocery store, a Farmer’s Market, a deli, restaurant, a pharmacy and them some. Everything you need under one roof, except for clothing. Sandy loves this store. The store is clean, the bathrooms are clean, and folks there are very friendly.

We did our laundry at Callie's (Sandy's daughter) house while she and her husband were at work. Callie picked up chicken finger subs for us on her way home from work, and we all ate and just relaxed. It felt good to not be on the go for one day. We then went to Charlap's, a frozen custard/ice cream shop. The frozen custard in the East is far better than any wannabe frozen custard out west. Wish we could bring some home for all of you to taste. Since Charlap's is several miles from Callie's house and Scott's frozen custard wouldn't have lasted until we got back to their house, we drove through the Dairy Queen close to where they live to pick up an ice cream cone for him. Behind us in line were two young girls on horses, riding through the drive through to place their order. Never saw that in Vegas.

Today was another uneventful day, but also a relaxing day. Now we're back in Motel Hell, and we hope to sleep as well tonight as we did last night. We'll blog more about the hotel later. Tomorrow we're going to Canada. We should have some nice pictures for tomorrow's blog.

Isaiah - We'll be in New York until Monday, the 14th, so you can quit keeping track for a few days of the states we've been in.

Gladys - Edie bought you peanut, boysenberry, cherry, and chocolate cherry. The cookies and cream were all gone, so you didn't get any of those.

Vicki - Good to hear from you. Sandy will buy you some suckers next time we're in St. George.

Karen - We'll try to go to the two-story Wegman's and take some pictures for you.

That's all folks!

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Password is...Humidity!

"Man's success or failure, happiness or misery, depends upon what he seeks and what he chooses." - David O. McKay

Sisters Log - Day 5

We have awakened the last two days stuck to our sheets and pillow cases, and we were still in our air conditioned rooms. The real misery started when we went outside. How do people live like this? All you folks in the desert never again whine about the heat. We'll take the heat any day over this humidity.

Corn update: It's still growing...everywhere. Is there a state in this country that doesn't grow miles and miles of corn? When we entered New York, we noticed that they grow grapes...miles and miles of grapes. We thought that was a nice break from the corn...and then we came to the corn fields. We were told that New Yorkers are really proud of their corn. They even have a corn festival complete with a corn queen. Who knew?

We had a good afternoon. We drove four hours from Elkhart to Kirtland, Ohio, where we toured the Kirtland temple. The Kirtland temple was built by the LDS church from 1833-1836 though now it is owned by the Church of Christ, no affiliation to the LDS church. The temple is rich in LDS church history. Many events occurred there that are meaningful to our religion. There are three floors in the temple. We know, because the tour guide told us, that there are 33 very narrow, winding stairs from the second floor to the third floor. Each stair must have been two feet high and three inches wide, and that's not even counting the other set of stairs from the first floor to the second floor. But we survived, and our calves are sore. It was a good tour and very much worth seeing if you're ever in that neck of the woods.
Across the street is a little dive hole-in-the-wall fast food joint called Kokomos. It had the best bratwurst and frozen custard. In fact, we ran into four sister missionaries who told us that if you visit the area, Kokomos is a must do. We concur. We took some pictures of historic Kirtland, which we've included in this blog.

Gas in Kirtland is $4.06 per gallon.

We drove through Cleveland today and saw the Cleveland Indians' stadium and Lake Erie. We're both baseball fans and would like to come back to see a game. We also saw from the freeway several old architecturally fascinating buildings that we would like to see on a return trip when we have more time to spend in Cleveland.

Cynthia - You're absolutely right--things could always be worse. Still not going back to Nebraska.

Isaiah - Today we went through Ohio, capitol is Columbus; Pennsylvania, capitol is Harrisburg; and New York, capital is Albany. We hope you're keeping track.

May the force be with you.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

And the Heavens Were Opened

"Prayer is the most powerful means of overcoming any kind of discouragement. It connects you with an omnipotent, omniscient Father who loves you unconditionally, who sees where you are and is going to help you in it." - Charles Stanley

This morning we started our trek across Iowa leaving Nebraska behind. Not far into our journey, the heavens opened pummeling the earth with deluge of rain. At some points it was impossible to see anything, which caused us to drive about 10 to 15 miles per hour. Any faster would have put us in danger. After about five minutes of this downpour we noticed that some of the drivers going the opposite direction had decided to stop on the side of the road to wait out the storm. Obviously, having come from the direction they were headed, we understood something that they didn't. They only needed to drive about five minutes to be out of the storm. When we have personal storms in our lives, sometimes it's necessary to take precautions and wait them out, and sometimes it's necessary to work through the storms. Obviously, not knowing the end result makes it difficult to know how to proceed. But we all have Someone who says, "I know how this storm ends. Trust in Me and I will guide you." So just as the heavens opened on us in Iowa this morning, the heavens are open to all of us everyday. We just need to ask.

Sisters' Log - Day 4

Today's blog entry is brought to you by the Letter I. I is for Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana.

We were not anxious to make the trek across Iowa, yet another corn state, today fearing a repeat of the 48 hours of the previous day. However, what a pleasant surprise. Iowa is a beautiful state of rolling green hills with farm houses and silos dotting the countryside. Yes there was corn, but it was a complement to the rest of the scenery. We crossed the Mississipi on the east side of Iowa, and Sandy didn't cry, but she did make Edie drive. Edie didn't cry either. We still have to cross the Mississipi one more time on the way home. Can't guarantee whether or not there will be any tears. Gas prices in Coralville, Iowa, were $4.09 per gallon.

There's not much to say about Illinois. It wasn't as boring as Nebraska, but it wasn't as beautiful as Iowa.

Indiana comes with toll roads. It also came with congested traffic around Gary, Indiana, during which we were crawling at around 20 miles per hour. We are staying the night in a Country Inn Suites in Elkhart, Indiana, and we're now in Amish country. We hope to explore the Amish countryside tomorrow before traveling farther east to our destination. Gas prices in Elkhart are $4.06 per gallon.

We must give a two-thumbs up to the Country Inn Suites. We liked so much the one we stayed in last night, that we chose to stay in one tonight as well. They are quaint, clean, have a friendly staff, and a very good complementary breakfast that includes scrambled eggs, biscuits, gravy, sausage, fruit, and much more.

We also must give a two-thumbs up the to rest areas west of the Missouri. Rest areas out west can't hold a candle to these.

Isaiah - We drove through three states today: Iowa, capitol is Des Moines; Illinois, capitol is Springfield; and Indiana, capitol is Indianapolis. We did drive through Des Moines, but not the other two.

Shout out to the McDonalds: Thanks for the tip on the Garmin. It has really made this trip much easier for us to navigate.

Today's blog is somewhat uneventful, because there has to actually be events in order for the blog to be eventful.

Thank you for your support.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Nebraska - Why?

Sisters' Log - Day Three

"The great gift of family life is to be intimately acquainted with people you might never even introduce yourself to had life not done it for you." Kendall Hailey

We forgot to mention yesterday that the best lollipops in the world are at the Mormon Handicraft store in St. George. A sample of flavors include cookies 'n' cream; root beer; butterscotch; watermelon; chocolate banana; cherry; and peanut to name a few. Yes, Gladys, we got you some.

This is the Denver LDS temple. We left Denver without eating breakfast this morning, because we couldn't find the restaurant that the nice hotel lady recommended and we thought that Mrs. Garmin, our GPS unit, would help us. She didn't. The next thing we knew we were on the freeway headed out of town, which then turned in to a tollway. What a great scam! It cost us a total of $7.75 to travel for approximately 30 miles. We'll avoid the tollways from now on--well, no we won't. We don't have any choice in Indiana, so we're breaking our twenties to get one dollar bills and much change. Gas in Denver was $4 per gallon.

Where do we begin? We didn't realize until today that Denver is the end of all mountains everywhere. Let us preface the rest of this blog entry with telling you that Omaha is a lovely city. Rolling green hills, trees in abundance, greenery everywhere--very lovely. And there ends all of the loveliness of Nebraska.

This picture was taken at a Quickie Mart in a small town in Nebraska. Boy Howdy! A picture is worth a thousand words.

Corn is good on the cob, creamed, in a can, frozen, made into oil, made into flour, syrup, pudding, and relish to name few of the perfectly good uses for corn. What corn is not good for is scenery! Have we ever seen corn. We're actually done with Nebraska as far as sight seeing. We don't think we'll ever be back. Tomorrow we see Iowa. So as we were traveling across the entire state the whole live-long day--the longest day of our lives-- we came up with different state mottos for Nebraska. You may choose your favorite:

Nebraska...

a. Why?

b. The Land that Time Forgot (explanation: while we were eating lunch, all of the overhead music was from the '70's. We thought about telling them that new music has been made since then, but decided not to.)

c. Never Saw a Wind it Didn't Like

d. Not for the Easily Bored

e. Nothing Like the Smell of Cow in the Morning

f. If You've Seen One Corn Cob, You've Seen the State

While we were exiting the highway for a potty break (note to self--never do that again), we had to yield to a woman driving her farm equipment down Main Street. We can't make this stuff up. And what's with the highways? All day long it sounded like our tires were falling off. Sandy used to decorate cakes for family occasions, and she said that when you smooth the top of the cake, you dip your icing smoother tool into water and smooth the top. We believe the same principle applies to roads. After pouring whatever materials they use in roads, take the road smoother tool and smooth the top. We're just saying... At least there were cows and road work to break up the monotony of all the miles and miles and miles of corn. Gas in North Platte, Nebraska, was $4.40 per gallon.

Now we're in Iowa at a Country Inn Suites that is literally just on the other side of the welcome to Iowa sign. The sign may be in the parking lot of this motel. If it were ten feet to the west, it would be in Omaha. Gas in Omaha was $4.06 per gallon. We did get the opportunity to go by the Winter Quarters LDS temple, and the Mormon Trail Center and cemetery from 1846. This was an area that Latter Day Saints came to when they were being expelled from Nauvoo, Illinois. They suffered much loss and hardship in this area, and were only here for about a year before they started the trek to Salt Lake City. The cemetery contains the earthly remains of those who did not live long enough to make the trek west. It was a hard, hard winter that year.


Shout out to Savannah--We'll see you on the 16th.

Shout out to Isaiah--Today we only made it through one very wide and boring state -- Nebraska. We did pass through Lincoln, which is the state capitol, and still in corn country.

Shout out to Kobe--We didn't see any video games in Nebraska. Couldn't even use our cell phones to call for help. We couldn't get service. We don't think there are any Play Stations in Nebraska.

Shout out to Jonas--Hollah back young 'un.


Actual conversation today in car. We performed all of our own stunts.

Sandy: "I don't recognize some of this roadkill; and it's not because it's smashed beyond recognition. It's just that we don't have possum in the desert."

Edie: "I hope we didn't have it in our lunches today either."


Y'all come back now, y'hear?

Friday, July 4, 2008

God Bless America

"The signers of the Declaration of Independence and the framers of the Constitution were inspired from on high to do that work."--Brigham Young

Recently Martina Navratilova was a guest on the Oprah show. During the interview, Martina's defection from Czechoslovakia was discussed. Her comment was (and we're paraphrasing) that she blamed the communists for all the hardships suffered by her family. On this Independence Day we're grateful for our freedoms: freedom to worship, freedom to pursue happiness, and even the freedom to disagree with our government, to name just a few. In this election year, we hope that all Americans will carefully choose candidates who will respect and value those freedoms that were by Divine inspiration written in to the Constitution. Our consciences should dictate how we will personally distribute for the common good. We as private citizens have the right and responsibility to decide how we will donate our time and substance to help those who are truly in need. The fact of the matter is that government controlled distribution is socialism at best and communism at worst.

On the lighter side...

Is it wrong to swear when you're driving? We're just asking...

Why do semi trucks pass other semi trucks on a hill when you just picked up your speed enough to get up the hill?

Notes to self:

Buy a bigger car before next road trip as well as a less bossy Garmin that doesn't get stressed so easily.

Sisters' log - Day 2

We left our home in Southern Utah before the town parade started. We didn't want to get caught in that mess--it would have put us behind ten minutes. This is the view from our front window. Yes we and our siblings are very fortunate to have this home.

We headed up I-15 to Beaver, where we gassed up the car to the tune of $4.64 per gallon, and then drove up to I-70 to head across Utah.

Green River, Utah -- What happened? According to the Internet, it has a thriving business community with restaurants and mouth-watering menus. What we found at Green River instead were tumbleweeds, closed down buildings with broken windows, and hotels that we wouldn't park our car in front of let alone spend the night. Fortunately we weren't planning to spend the night in Green River, but we were planning to eat lunch there. Our food plan for this trip was to dine only at restaurants that were unique to the area and no chains. We ate at Arby's. That was the best choice--we give the bathrooms in the Green River Arby's a D- and that's being kind.

That was the only damper on today's travels. We drove through the beautiful Rocky Mountains in Colorado and got a Rocky Mountain high. We took this picture of the mountains. Global warming alert: yes that's snow on July 4th. Somebody call Al Gore.

A huge rave for the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. It's 3.5 miles from the Denver LDS temple. Good price, good part of town, very nice front desk lady, microwave and fridge in room, and very clean.

Another huge shout out to Maggie Moo's ice cream parlor. It is at least as good as Cold Stone--dare we say better? Edie had red velvet ice cream, Sandy had what she thinks is the equivalent to Sweet Cream at Cold Stone, but she can't remember the name of her selection--something white.

Also a shout out to Kobe and Isaiah. Isaiah--you wanted to know how many states (and the names of each one) that we would be traveling through. Today we were in Utah and Colorado for a total of two states. Ask your mom or dad to show you a map of the United States and you can keep track.

We're Edie and Sandy and we approve this message--stay tuned...