Saturday, August 7, 2010

We're Back - A Triumph of the Human Spirit!

Howard here,
The boys and I returned home late Friday afternoon to a happy reunion with Eve, Maryrose, Ben, Marci, three dogs, four cats and Maryrose's guinea pig. You can tell by the blurring of the tails in the dogs' pictures that they were particularly happy to see us.

Below are a few of the statistics of our trip:

Total distance traveled: 8672 miles
Vertical distance traveled: From 280 below sea level in Death
Valley to 10,850 feet above sea level in the Great
Continental Divide.
States visited: 20; not including some additional that Eve and
Maryrose passed through on the train.
Temperature range: From a high of 121 degrees in Death Valley
to a low of 46 degrees in Yellowstone.
Tires expended: Five; two on the car and three on the camper
including two within an hour of one another.
Road Kills: Sadly, 1 squirrel in Yellowstone National Park
Gallons of gas used: 495.5 not including what we used since the last fill up yesterday.
Most gallons put into the tank at one time: 20.3 gallons into a 20 gallon tank. We passed three
closed gas stations on the way into Columbus, Georgia before we found one selling gas. The
rum tasted very good that evening.
Ships visited: Eight; two battleships, one aircraft carrier, two destroyers, two submarines and
an LST. We saw significant pieces of three others in museums.
Battlefields visited: Two; the Alamo and Chalmette (we didn't visit any forts other than Fort
Campgrounds visited: 21
Campgrounds stayed in: 19 (two campgrounds didn't pass muster)
Military bases stayed in: Four; Davis-Montham AFB, NAB Coronado, Nellis AFB and the
U.S. Air Force Academy
Bears seen: Two; one in Yellowstone and Mr. Bear.
Close encounters with bison: One in Yellowstone crossing the road right behind our car.
Sightings of Aliens, Bigfoots and the Lock Ness Monster: Several, look closely at the picture
below and others in previous blogs. You may have to zoom in.
Cans of pasta and Dinty Moore beef stew eaten by the boys: At least 26, they're sick of them.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Play Misty for Me

Howard here, after a long day traveling through thunderstorms we arrived at the Misty River Campground in Walland, Tennessee. Located in the Smoky Mountains, the Misty River supposedly got its name from a moonshiner remarking on its appearance after sampling his wares. We've now traveled 8297 miles and have 390 miles to go. We'll get home late Friday afternoon.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

LST 325

After we left our campground in Whittington, we stopped to see the USS LST 325. LST stands for landing ship, tank. Our tour guide was a marine who served in Vietnam. LST's sailed up onto beaches and then their cargo of tanks and other vehicles drove off.

<-- These are the doors through which the vehicles leave the vessel.

Wildlife sightings

At our campground in the Whittington Woods campground, there were some chickens walking around.

<-- Me (Theodore) standing in front of the chickens.

A Thunderous Thursday Morning

Howard here, Thursday morning finds us hunkered down in a tremendous thunderstorm at the Whittington Woods campground in Whittington, Illinois. It's 8:00 in the morning and dark as night outside. You might not find Whittington on the map, it's very small and south of Mount Vernon. The campground is quiet and lovely. We had a double lot and for an hour yesterday, a private swimming pool. We have traveled 7,847 miles now and are 773 miles from Sullivan's Island. We're spending tonight in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Today, August the 4th, day 28, we went to Leavenworth and saw the Federal Penitentiary and the US Military Disciplinary Barracks.

These are the guard buffalo that are on the grounds of the Federal Penitentiary to discourage escape attempts.

We don't have any good pictures of the US Military Disciplinary Barracks.

Shiny Car

The same day we went to the Steamboat Arabia, our car got a carwash. This is only worth mentioning because it made our car nice and shiny.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The steam boat Arabia

Today, August the third, we went to see the steam boat Arabia. It was paddling down the Missouri river when it hit a snag and sank in 1856. It eventually was covered with silt and was preserved. The river moved, and it was dug up in 1988. It was full of well preserved artifacts. Among these were a donkey named Lawrence and a bunch of cool keys. There were also lots of boots, shoes, china, cloth, buttons, beeds, bottles, etcetera.

Air Force Academy

We went to the Air Force Academy. There, we saw the chapel. It was futuristic, except the Buddhist section. The first floor was the Protestant floor, while the ground floor was built for the Catholics, Jews, and Buddhists.

<-- This is the Chapel.

Can you tell which religion each of these rooms is for?

They're Off!

Howard here, Eve and Maryrose are on their way home. We dropped them off at Kansas City International to fly home this afternoon. Eve has a job related meeting tomorrow and poor Maryrose is sick of being cooped up with her brothers and misses her animals. The boys and I are in Platte City Missouri after having visited the museum containing the recovered treasures from the river steamboat ARABIA lost in the Missouri River in 1856. What a museum! I had great pleasure sharing my HUNLEY observations. We found our campground with the help of one of Platte City's finest who stopped us for running a stop sign. My introduction to him was, "Good afternoon officer, my name is Howard Stone and I'm lost!" We both had a chuckle. More later.

Monday, August 2, 2010

I Have a Feeling We're Not in Kansas Toto - Not

Hello there, Howard here,
We're in Salina, Kansas this evening. We spent last night in Colorado Springs at a campground at the U.S. Air Force Academy. We have pictures of the USAFA Cadet Chapel to post tomorrow. We didn't have an internet connection last night so we are once again behind. Did you hear about the butcher who backed into his meat slicer?
We passed up my initial campground choice in favor of the local KOA which delayed our arrival further after 490 miles in the car. There is more to that story...
Eve and Maryrose fly home tomorrow from Kansas City, the boys and I return on Friday, 6 August. So far, we have traveled 7,166 miles and have 1,288 miles to get to Sullivan's Island. Much more will we post tomorrow, Good Night!

P.S. The rum we replenished at the USAFA. My appreciation of our Air Force continues to grow!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Disaster Yet Again!

We've run out of rum, why is there always no rum? Howard

Mesa Verde

We went to Mesa Verde. It was bigger than I expected.

Me(Nathaniel),Mom, and Theodore

This is a hole that everyone had to squeeze through. That's Maryrose.

This ladder is only 32 feet tall.

Another tight squeeze.

This is the Cliff Palace.

Disaster Thwarted - Again

Howard here, since I posted the note about our camper tire problems outside of Mesa Verde, the kids have caught up on some of the delayed posts which has disrupted the narrative timeline of our blog. As I wrote previously, the night before last about 25 miles from Mesa Verde, we suffered the failure of the camper spare tire that we had mounted less than an hour before. It was about 7:30 on a Friday night and we were unable to get timely assistance. What proved to be a better plan unfolded. We pulled the disabled trailer off the highway into the driveway of a small church and left it there. We pressed on to Cortez which is the major town near Mesa Verde and got a room for the night. While Eve checked in, I went across the street to the 24 hour Walmart which sells mounted trailer tires. They did not have exactly what we needed so at 7:00 the next morning, I went to the Big O Tire Store which was right next door to the motel. By 7:15, I had a brand new tire mounted on the rim and by 8:00, Eve and I had returned to the trailer, changed the tire and were on our way back to the motel with the trailer safely in tow. We bought a second new tire and rim and by 10:30 we had checked into the campground and were on our way to the Mesa Verde National Park. Above is a picture of our camper the A and A Campground Mesa Verde and the failed spare. As of today, we have travelled 6308 miles and are 1963 miles from Sullivan's Island.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Salt Lake City and the Salt Lake

In Salt Lake City we saw the Mormon Temple and the Mormon Tabernacle. We also saw the Great Salt Lake from Antelope Island.

Jackson Hole

After we left the Grand Tetons, we visited Jackson Hole, which has Elk Antler Arches on each of the four corners of the park there.

Jackson is also known for the elusive Western Jackalope, a cross between an antelope and a jack-rabbit.
This post was written by Theodore

The Grand Tetons

After we left Yellowstone, we passed through Grand Teton National Park, and went on to Jackson Hole. The Grand Tetons are a line of mountains named by French explorers.

<-- The Grand Teton itself.

Disaster averted in Yellowstone

While we were in Yellowstone, we had to change the two front tires of the van because they were so worn out that the metal wires in the tires were showing. If we had waited a little longer to replace them, we could have suffered two flat tires.

This post was written by Theodore.

Yellowstone Scenery

I (Theodore) have compiled some random pictures of Yellowstone scenery to finish our Yellowstone posts.