S: Traveling Memories
BC: The tale of the ride of my life!
FC: Traveling Memories A Journal by Sherry Price
1: Life brings simple pleasures to us every day. It is up to us to make them wonderful memories. CathyAllen | This
2: This book is dedicated to my two sisters, Ola and Jo who took me on the ride of my life. Through state after state, and mountain after mountain, desert after desert, and by the sea and back again.
5: 10/20/09 It is around 5:51 Chattanooga time and 3:51 Utah time. It is flat with mountains way off. It’s starting to rain. We are trying to find a place to stay down the road. We came thru Vail, Co. We stopped and went thru shops and took pictures of the sights and a hotel where we stayed (NOT)! It was beautiful. I did find Ryan, Tyler and Blake a souvenir. This has been an amazing drive. God made a beautiful country. We have been in Utah 20 minutes and have seen only 3 houses. All hills, rocks, and dead grass but still beautiful. Yesterday, we started the day at 6:30 our time and 4:30 Denver time. My phone alarm went off and woke up Ola (we share a room). She went to make coffee, and I went back to sleep. About 6:30 Denver time, we started our day with a walk around the neighborhood. Our host slept till 8:00. We then after looking for the keys, phones and cameras, we were off with Ola’s friend from the Peace Corp, Joe. We went to see his grandmother. She was very nice, had a cute dog that Jo stayed away from. She was very nice. Then on to Pike’s Peak, and then the Garden of the Gods. You just can’t put into words how beautiful it is. Now 40 min into Utah (no houses) just ridge after ridge, hill after hill, mountain after mountain covered in dead grass. I’m sure they are glad to get this rain. We just past a black bird flying our way, it’s only the wild life I’ve seen. No wonder the Mormon’s are so good, there’s no one here or anywhere to go or do. It’s quiet now except for political radio which Ola chose for us all. Now we see white stuff on the ground and I thought it was snow but is was salt. I guess we are going to Salt Lake City, Utah. Well, back to Monday, Pike’s Peak was spectacular sort of like the Smokey Mountains. It was hot about 80 degrees so I wasn’t going to take my coat. Someone had just got off the ride and said it was 18 degrees at the top and that there was lots of wind. We went back for my coat (good thing) it was cold, very cold. They just said on the radio that there will be snow in Vail tomorrow and in Denver. We will be in Salt Lake City, Utah tomorrow then back up north when we got back from our trip to the Garden of the Gods which is a very good name for it. Our hostess Julian, took us 3 to a Mexican Restaurant in Denver then home for a dip in the hot tub, which was great. I was so sore from the exercise room at the hotel the night before and from the Red Rock Amphitheater. That was a beautiful place also. Red Rocks balancing on another everywhere, then to bed. Julian’s husband was away because his brother had a heart attack. He was hunting and was bringing his elk out of the woods on a horse and had to drop the elk and ride to camp (about a 2 hour trip) He was air lifted to the hospital. He is doing fine now but Ken, Julian’s husband, had to go get the horse and the dog and take the elk to the slaughter. Today is Ken and Julian’s 25th anniversary. We got them a card and a nice vase like the ones she was collecting. Well this morning was a hoot. We slept later (turned off my cell phone alarm) got up 6:30 their time and packed and repacked the car (again). We all got ready to go, packed and they could not find the keys (what a surprise!) We went in and out, up and down, back and forth. Jo just knew she had put them in her seat in the car. We took everything out of the car and went through everything. Ola fussing at Jo, bickering back and forth in fury but that goes on every time we get in the car. HA! I did not let them know that I was the one who had the key’s first and opened the car first. Jo was sure she was the one who had them first and that she had repacked the car and fixed it first. I couldn’t tell them, they were just too funny looking for their keys. When I realized I was the one who had the keys first I went all the places where I had been. The keys were in my bag in the back seat. They were in the house looking again for them.
6: We had a great time in Chicago, IL!
7: I yelled, “I found them!” and I told her that they were in my bag that she had touched and said it should be in the back. I told her it had always been in the back seat not in the very back where she wanted to put it so she thought she had put them there. HA! It was too funny to tell them. They were a hoot about keys. The very first place we stayed in was Chicago at Jimmie’s house. We got out went in to meet Jimmie and then went out to get our stuff. Keys (Lost)!!! We looked for 30 minutes or more looking for them keys. Ola had no idea where they were. She was driving, so she had them last. Then Jo fussed and fussed, so I thought it was Ola’s time to fuss at her. It was so funny (someday I’ll tell them I had the keys) We found the keys. Ola lost them in between the seat on the floor in the car. It has stopped raining now, and the sun is out, 50 degrees and looks like a desert of sand and rock mountains. We better get out of this before dark, because it will be dark. 7:03 our time, no houses or animals or anything. 7:14 saw an animal and a house. Now back to desert. I was talking to Lloyd and didn’t get a picture of some of the civilization. Just passed a dead gas station. I’m glad we filled up before we got on this road. Now radio said there will be rain and snow for SE Utah tomorrow and Thursday. Nicer weather in the afternoon. Looks like rain about 100 miles down the road. You can see that far for sure. Well the old girls are tired and now they want to stop. They thought we would be in the desert at nightfall and would never find our way out in the dark. We are in Price, Utah for the night. We exercised for a while, and I swam for a while. We ate our leftovers from our night out with Julian. I went to Wal-Mart for a new battery to have because mine keeps shutting off. Then the old girls said its lights out. That’s all for now. (10 pm) 4:30 am again Ola said “I’m going to kill you Sherry!”. I turned my alarm off on my phone 2 days ago but it still keep going off. This time I changed the time to 6:30 am, and we will see what happens in the morning. Ola is driving today, on these curvy winding roads and hills. She keeps driving over the grids on the road on the other side and in the middle. Everyone is passing us even over double yellow lines! Even the police passed us on the wrong side. One guy passed us on a hill with a transfer truck coming at him! I told Ola to slow down. I didn’t want to see that truck plowed over. The man made it. I guess he thought she must be drunk or he saw our tag, he would just take his chances. HA! They don’t let me drive much; they think I’m a little girl. HA! I don’t mind really I think I like looking at the sights. The temperature today is 33 and suppose to be 60 in Salt Lake City and clear and beautiful. We got out our winter clothes today. Helen (our GPS is so confused), we keep getting in the wrong lane and having to turn around, at least she is not cussing us out like our sister Helen (yet!!) Ola driving now, Jo doesn’t have her seat belt on (I do!!) Ola yells “Put your seat belt on!” Now we are now looking for the Temple Square. We just left a big town. This must be Salt Lake City in sight (it is huge) Just past a big outlet mall, so close yet so far. Boohoo! Helen is at it again, so confused in big towns. One of us doesn’t know where we are going, us or Helen. Ola keeps saying “Shut up Helen”. Now she is gone into the station to ask for directions. Jo keeps playing with Helen to get her to do what she wants. The back seat is a great place to be. Jo says go to the exit that says downtown. This is not like Chattanooga with only one downtown exit. Now we’re back on the freeway and we are looking for North Temple. Good luck getting back on the freeway! Oh no, they turned Helen off! We are in trouble now. I can’t write because we are driving. Ola said “Didn’t we come this way?” Jo said, “I have no clue.” Now we are turning around again. Helen would be yelling if she was on! Ola says. “I think we get on here.” Jo says “I can’t remember”. I just sit and watch with amusement, around and around we go and nobody knows why. Now we are back to where we came from. We must have got off to soon, but we now we’re listening to Helen. Maybe Helen doesn’t know it all except we might have her programmed wrong!
9: You should have seen us in Chicago. Now we have gone the wrong way again. We have to get off again. Maybe we want see the Temple Square today. Now Ola said that the girl that gave her directions wasn’t quite sure (great!) We need to go left but are in the right lane so here we go turning around. Lloyd, just to let you know, if it’s in my genes it only gets worse from now on. Now they decided to turn Helen back on. Here we go again, turning around. Helen gives one direction, Jo gives another and one says go to Vegas and one says Salt Lake City. We may be gambling tonight. Someone should have told us it was a big city. On the freeway, at last, to the exit going to North Salt Lake City. Sign for the Temple Square! Yay!!! Suppose to go left again, but we are in the right lane again! I see a big Temple looking building! Arms are flailing up in front, “Turn! Don’t turn! Let me in, Man! Still not in the right lane and I think we have to go 3 more blocks! “Ugh oh!” says Ola. This is not good. Whew! Suddenly stopping with me and the entire luggage going up front. When we get to the temple, I will need to thank God!!! I see the little American Hotel that Shell told us about. Temple. where are you? We have found the capital building. I’ll just pray there. The saints are marching in is playing as we approach, oh wait it was Jo’s cell phone, it was Chad. Where ever we are, it is so pretty! We made it to the temple at last! It was beautiful. The Mormons are so nice. We met one from Smyrna, TN. She was our guide. We walked and walked down the hill and headed back. We took a short cut through a park to the top of the hill. Jo wanted to go left, and Ola wanted to go right. Ola being the matriarch, we went right. We walked and walked, the wrong way but we did find a path back to the visitor’s center from some nice walkers, you can just imagine the amounts of “I told you so” we heard going up the several steps through a park. We made it to the top winded, but alive! It was a divided trail that led to the same place from where Jo went one way and Ola and I went another. I went with Ola. She’s old and I thought I might have to carry her on my back to the top. Of course, Jo beat us but she admitted she cheated; problem was we cheated too and took a straight path in the curved walk. Exhausted and hungry, we went to lunch at a restaurant called Maggie’s (Shell’s daughter recommended) at the little American Hotel. Amazingly, we found it. The food was good. But before we could eat, I had to go back to the car because Jo couldn’t remember if she locked it or not. Ate too much. Now we are on our way back to the car. We can’t even find away to cross the street, we just follow this nice looking man. Ola said if we were caught jay walking that we would just say we were just following him. I said yes he looks like a native (he was a full blooded Indian) he said “sort of” they all had a laugh. We got across and he said “Have a nice day ladies!”. Oh yes, I meant to tell you how nervous I was when the nice Mormon Missionaries were giving us a tour and telling us about their religion, marriage, and family. I just knew Ola was going to tell them all about how she had just married her first gay couple. I held my breath. Whew! We made it, without any political or religious controversy. We did get to hear 2 organ concerts! One was in a small chapel and the other was where the Mormon Tabernacle Choir practices. Now we are on the road to the Salt Lake. We are going down the freeway looking for the water and Jo said she saw it by the freeway on the map. They are insisting that I read my journal to them on the way but I told them I had secrets in it. They thought I was writing mushy stuff to Lloyd. That wasn’t the problem though, you know the lost keys thing, I haven’t told them yet. I really had the keys last that day and Jo thought she had them last. They were laughing so hard we forgot about the lake. We thought we had passed it, and we drove forever. Then Ola said the lady at the visitor center told her it was on Amelia Island (now she tells us!)
10: Old Faithful near Jackson Hole
11: Luckily, we came up on a sign that said Amelia Island 3 miles. We made it! It was beautiful. We saw buffalo loose and roaming the fields, the water was salty; I stuck my finger in and tasted it. I may get typhoid. Ola and I took our swim suits to swim but even at 60 degrees it was a little too cold. Jo tried to push Ola in because on one of her kids said to make sure Ola swain in the Salt Lake. We got pictures. I wanted to get a close picture of the buffalo. I made them stop to let me out. I yelled, and hopped and hollered and flapped my arms around and it just stood there like a big black lump. So in our pictures when you see a big black lump, it might be a buffalo or a big rock! Now we are on the road again. It was a flat and empty road except us and few other cars. I’m driving now (well not now exactly, I’m writing) But last night Ola wouldn’t let us talk on our cell phones so I knew she wouldn’t be cool with me journaling while I drive. It is always quiet when I drive, no yelling this way or that ( you don’t yell at the baby!) besides I drive so well they don’t have to yell at me. My kind of driving here, the speed is 75 and I’m going my usual speed of 80. These people want you out of their city and in a hurry! We ate and slept but woke up at 5:30 am but not my fault but our new clock went off. We still didn’t leave till 8 though. Jo is driving now and the yelling begins. Out of the parking lot, which way do we go? Jo says left and Ola says right. Helen says drive the highlighted route. Jo did good and she went the right way for about 10 seconds then she was talking(surprise!) and just following the traffic and Ola said are you going the right way and Helen says “recalculate”, so we recalculated and got on the right way again! It was dark when we arrived in Old Faithful. Its daylight now and this place is so flat with just small ridges. We are in “tater” country. They are not as tall as corn but we see horses. Ola yells “See the Horses!”. Jo is now having to redo all the mirrors and lights and just swerved all over the road or there was a big gust of wind blew us over. (What do you think?) More horses. Field after field just no corn. Ola now says Hwy 26 is what we are supposed to be on and Jo says that she think so. I’m in the back seat (where I am most of the time) and cannot see anything but field after field but they do have green grass and animals and farms. I need to stop and take pictures. Well at least its open flat road, we should not be able to take a wrong turn here, there are no turns. We are on a two lane flat road and Jo is going about 65 and looking for a place to pass.Oh No, here comes a tanker truck. She didn’t go!! Now it’s safe, so she passed the slow poke and she is up to 70. Now we’re trunkin’! Out here flat field of gold and green fields with farms and horses. Beautiful pictures just can’t capture it. It’s quiet now, no more talk about panic attacks which Ola gives Jo last night when she said Kevin had us a hotel by his house at $179.00 a night down town in a good location. $200 for two days is $400 –just 3 minutes from her son’s house. Jo found one for $59 a night-20 miles away from Kevin’s in who knows what neighborhood. After much to do (I was game for the luxury hotel down town!) I am only spending my kid’s Christmas money anyway! No present for the Price kids this year! Again after much to do and almost a real fight it was play! But when it comes to her money, Jo don’t play! We compromised and found one for $100 a night a little further away and everyone was happy. Well, Jo gave in. Well I was wrong there was a turn off and we stopped for gas and potty stop and of course we went the wrong way. Helen says “recalculating” and we got back on the right trail which is a scenic route. Of course, Jo says this will take longer (who is in a hurry?) This is different terrain. We are in green mountains with steep roads and curves. Jo is still going 65, hold on (just kidding) but from the back it feels like it. Oh me! Oh a big curve, Help! This is a hunter and fisherman’s paradise. (Oh another curve, oh where we go nobody knows.) We keep seeing game crossing signs so Jo speed’s up! We may come home with a deer, elk, or buffalo tied to the top of the car! Saw some hunters with guns and a dog by the road. We saw no game that they were
12: hauling, more hunters with dogs and guns but no game which may be a good thing. The weather is so nice and warm so far and the elk might spoil on top of the car if we were to get one. Oh BEEP! Another sharp curve! Jo is trying to make up the time the scenic route took by still going 60 in a 35 route. Kind of scary! My nail prints are in the door handle in the back seat. We now see snow caps. Thank goodness, we are at the bottom of the curvy mountain now. Oh more snow caps, got to get my camera. Oh how beautiful. The Good Lord did a good job even Jo can’t complain! HA! She’s really not that bad (NOT!), we just like to aggravate her because it makes the trip funnier. Well, Jo said we made our 2 hours up by flying around the curves. We are getting closer to the snow on the mountains going up again with tall stately northern pines. It’s breath taking! Now Helen is in a panic mode, we are in these mountain’s valley and I think she has lost her reception. She keeps recalculating and it is just a long straight row with no turns. Curving but with no turns going up and up. Now we have a friendly fight in the front seats with Jo’s snack that is put down at her side by her feet and she keeps bending down to eat and drive making Ola nervous. Jo says “I’m watching!” and Ola says, “No you are not, and it’s a winding road!” We just had our first snow flakes, just a tiny bit, but I saw snow down low now. I see flakes! We are now in the Tetons in the passing lane going up and winding our way up. Jo still going 60 – gaining time but says she is going 30. We stopped at a big sign that said “Hello Partner, Here is Jackson Hole!” It’s cold up here. We touched snow. Now we are going down this mountain and it is curvy bad! Oh No! Jo and Ola forgot to put their seat belts on! Just imagine going down this steep mountain with curves and trying to put on your seat belt. You can just know what my sound from the back seat was like as I fumbled to put on Jo’s belt. Oh me! Oh God! Now I’m praying, The sign says 35 miles an hour and Jo is going 50! Now I’m having a panic attack. They are laughing at me which makes it worse. Jo gets to laughing and crying and she can’t see how to drive. Oh me! My ears are popping, my nerves are shot! But it is beautiful even if I have to die, it is a beautiful place! Praise the Lord, we are at the Bottom (and alive!). The temperature is back up to 41 degrees. Jo is looking for a McDonald’s and you know what that means (we ain’t eating), scared the pee out of me too!!! We are taking a short, sightseeing tour of the Teton Village. We forgot to tell Helen and she is upset. “Recalculate, Recalculate” (I really need to learn how to spell that word, I hear it a lot!) We have unplugged her, and she is still yelling directions. We are off to see the Village, the wonderful Village of the Tetons! (You know the song!) We have been driving down the road two or 3 miles and there’s no village but there are really nice houses! I hope we are not lost again. We are here 4 million parking places, and Jo goes the wrong way. Now they are arguing about where to park. We are forever going in the out hole and out the in hole! Now at park entrance and trying to find some antlers and of course we are going the wrong way. Now we have got to go back 7 miles to our designated route. Helen is quiet now and happy. The drive back looks just as good as when we first did it. (In a Johnny Cash voice,) “We’re going to Jackson!” We found the antlers, there was a big stack gathered in the town square. Oh there are several arches of antlers everywhere. Got out the camera and took pictures, and bought souvenirs. We could have spent all day here but got to get to Yellowstone before dark. Jo was in a parking delivery zone and Ola yells “Not there!” Now we piled back into the car and went 300 feet and we are lost again. So we stopped at the Visitor Center for directions. They are really giving Helen a headache. They just won’t listen to her! She wants to go back home with Kelly when we get her to California (she told me so!) Ola came out with directions and what do you know? Helen was dead on it! With a Willie Nelson voice “On the road again!”
13: Yellowstone Here We Come, hopefully! I’m glad I don’t drive much. There is a 48% chance that we might need snow chains. First, we need snow. If we make it to Yellowstone, we may not make it out. Jo is yelling at the car in front of us, “OK car pick up the speed!” Now it is quiet again except for the political talk about bail outs and paying money back. I think I’ll take a nap, but I’ll miss all this beauty of our drive. Jo just threw her gum out the window, and Ola yelled “The buffalo will get it stuck on their feet and their mom will yell at them when they get home!” It’s on cruise control now and it its flat. Thank goodness, all is well. In the voice of Sherry “Mountain on the right of us and mountain on the left, I’m stuck in the middle with you.” Could be a song. You could do some serious sledding up here! We stop at the Grand Teton Park entrance and showed our passes and she asked if we needed a map today. They hesitated; I yelled from the back “We might!!!” Sounded like a good idea to me. I love you Lloyd, but this trip would not have been as funny because you never get lost! We get lost coming out of the bathroom at the visitor’s center. Jo tried to go out the indoor. I got turned around was going a different direction. I always get turned around as you well know. Getting closer to the mountains again with lots of snow. If we have to go through those mountains I’m walking because Jo is still driving!! I kind of like the back seat, the food is back here! We won’t get to stop and eat anymore because Jo’s saving money for the hotel! Ha! We are sleeping in the car in Yellowstone tonight so I have to eat all our food so the bears won’t get us in the car (just kidding!) It’s 1:00 now. Those tall snowy mountains are in front of us now. 43 degrees now. Jo is going 60 in a 55 or 35 or last looked was 45 they said. Ola said it was not 60. It has started to rain and she is driving with one hand and eating with the other. Traffic jam ahead, a sign said, 30 minute delay for loose gravel. We and about 5 other cars are just sitting here so we decided to eat our lunch of celery, organic peanut butter, Ola’s cheese and nuts, and pepperoni of mine, and crackers and trail mix of Jo’s and water. We don’t need the water because we are already looking for a Mickey D’s, more delay ahead and luckily not snow just road work. They are planting grass seed and loose gravel and redoing the roads. Got Pictures! 6 more miles! 1:40 pm now we are on the move and Jo who is driving on this mountain, (may I say again mountain with loose gravel), has both hands on the dash trying to warm her hands. Ola yells, Jo laughed, and I wet my pants. (Just kidding again!) This is the burn area with tall sticks of small green trees. I smell brakes. I hope they aren’t ours. Jo don’t know how to use low gear. She says she knows how to brake but maybe its tar on the road, oops, no tar just dirt and gravel. Oh me! We are safely down and on the good road again! Thank you Lord! Still having fun though. Ola keep’s looking for animals. They are staying out of our way! Helen has been good. Now she spoke good driving directions at Yellowstone North Park. 3 times she said “recalculate”. One for each of us or she knew Jo couldn’t hear her the first time. We have our passes out again. They said there’s lots of snow in the park but don’t see any, but I am nervous cause they said chains or snow tires would be helpful. We have neither. Some roads are closed. I got my eyes peeled on the road. Oh no, no power on my cell phone! It’s on power saver mode? Got plenty of battery!? We may be in the Yellow stone for the night for sure. 3:30 now. O Lord, I’m looking down into a big canyon on my right. Jo is going 60 and I can’t take a picture cuz I’m too scared of the big hole, big hole, no guard rail, I’m broke out in a sweat! Jo pulled over going 90, now I’m in the front seat! I did get a picture of the hole. Ola trying to get Jo out of the car to let her drive, but she won’t get out. Here we go again. My phone has no service, I can’t even call Lloyd to tell him bye. Well, she has slowed down a little and the
15: and the hole is not as deep. We just got out and took a beautiful picture of the water and rock cliffs. Jo would not get out of the car because she was afraid we would lock her out or push her over!!! We stopped again at the beautiful falls. We pushed her over, but she crawled back up! We got pictures. Can’t stop at anymore waterfalls, we can’t find a McDonald’s! Ola tried to push her in the water but she couldn’t with her legs crossed, she wouldn’t budge! 26 miles to Old Faithful. There’s a little bit off snow on the ground and now there are lots of tall dead trees and small living trees. Oh No! More water! It’s snowing, now its 2:46 pm and it’s 36 degrees outside. We are going up again. Are we there yet? How much further? We stopped in front of a pond and it’s snowing hard now. We are going down again and less snow on the ground here. Jo said the traffic keep’s the road warm. We are the only traffic on the road! We may stay tonight! No kidding. The sun is shining now and no more snow. Maybe we won’t get stranded in this forest. I don’t know which one I would eat first. Ola has lost most of her fat, and the meat would be tough. Jo’s gristly. We can now see Old Faithful spouting with steam from afar. No, it was a car over heating (just kidding!). Mickey D’s where are you when we need you? Ola and I liked to have missed Old Faithfull’s blast off. Our Old Faithful had to be first! But we made it, we saw Old Faithful gushing high in the sky. Took pictures and walked around and bought souvenirs. Ola is driving now. We are on our way outSTOP! Lot of roads closed, and it’s raining now and its 41 degrees. Beautiful trees (even if some are burn out) There is a water stream along the road. Just saw some trout fishermen. A little sleet and rain. Jo’s in the back arguing with Helen about where to next. I think we will might make it out tonight forget what I said about eating them (that was just fear talking.) I forgot to tell you about our stop to see the bison close up and personal, speaking of close and person, we just stopped and got pictures of more deer and elk. Lots of them! I got some pictures. They were across the road, and close to the water. We see some more fishermen and its 45 degrees now. This is great. I wish all my kids and grandkids were with me! Ut Oh, (police) Ola driving fast, hmmmm. He’s not coming after us. Oh, we just saw two big elk running by the stream as Tyler my grandson just said about the picture I sent him on my phone, “Cool, real cool.” Kevin here we come! Not tonight though, we are looking for a place to land. Going down a mountain, Jo is yelling from the back seat, “Leave the radio alone, don’t look at the scenery, and just drive as fast as you can!” Ola is, while she looks at the scenery and playing with the radio going west at 5 pm. Oh Lord! Sun is blinding us! My life just flashed before my eyes or it would have if I weren’t blinded by the sun. Now my finger prints are on the front door and my foot prints are permanently embedded in the floor. Sharp curve, (going to die!), Jo yelling “You aren’t driving this car in low gear all the time are you?” Ola yells “no!” I yell, “Lord, help me!” Now we passed a big semi going 85 miles an hour. We are in Montana now. Hills and farms or should I say ranches, on hills in valleys are just beautiful. I’m glad I lived to see it. Snow capped mountains with huge ranches that you can see for miles and miles. Each state is as spectacular as the next. You see it in books and TV, but that is nothing driving through it. It is breathtaking. Seems like my eyes can’t absorb enough. Now Ola is taking pictures as she drives, hand me the camera. Jo is asleep in the back and didn’t see her. Now I’m taking pictures with two cameras, can’t get enough. We just saw baby deer, no big antelope but lots of little antelope. Ola and I burst into song, “O, Give me Home where the buffalo roam and deer and antelope roam!” Jo’s awake now. What was it she said? “Oh, it’s antelope!” Duh, we know, that was why we were singing! Now Ola wants to be a cowboy not a geologist in Rock City.
17: We stopped for a potty break and like always went out the wrong way. Helen spouting directions, and Jo spouting directions, what’s Helen saying? We are turning around like Helen says. It’s ok Jo. We are now going back in the right direction. We see more antelope and another mountain. Up and down we go, round and round we go .That was short and sweet and not life threatening. We see more cows. Just past the small town of Norris. There are a few little buildings and houses and a big BAR. Not even a gas station! We see more cows. This is a good place to be a cowboy. Hundreds of cows dot the landscape. All black Angus. This is a little roller coaster ride over a hill and dale. It’s getting dark, and there are more cows. We see light in the distance. You couldn’t get in much trouble around here; it’s too far to get there! 50 degrees now at 7 pm. Too dark to write. Well, we made it after going into 3 different hotels to find one we would stay in. They were old and dirty and overpriced $120 and up. Jo said they don’t have a microwave, and we saw another one, and I went in alone, and it was old and dirty and no microwave so I knew it would not do. The last one was $108 but she would let us have it for $91. It didn’t have a microwave but she said she would get us a microwave to use. When Jo went in to pay, she told them we didn’t need a microwave, Oh me!!!!! It had Internet, but it didn’t work. It had a whirlpool tub but that was cold. The heater didn’t work either. Ola and I did the sauna, and it took a while to heat up, so Jo came looking for us. She thought we passed out in the sauna. I called Lloyd and told him to call us and wake us up for an early start. It was 4:30 their time and 6:30 our time. Then we showered and hit the sack. I loved their pillows. Ola got up sick so we didn’t get to leave till 6:30 or so. We ate a good continental breakfast at the hotel (not Ola, she was sick) and off we go. I’m driving now. It’s raining but there’s easy access to the freeway though and off we go for 600 miles. It was raining hard, it was hard to see. Ola was sleeping. Jo was dozing off and on. At about 10 am that stretch of road after Spokane there was no other towns. We looked and looked for 90 miles for a gas station just to pee, and we were on E or almost E and we really didn’t have much food left in the car (remember I was eating it all yesterday in Yellowstone in case, we had to spend the night at Yellowstone and sleep in the car to save for the Seattle Hotel.) Well we finally found a place to eat but Jo didn’t like the looks of it. But Jo finally came in and ate with us. Their food was good of course and she didn’t bring any money in so she wasn’t going to eat and I had to pay for her food (good trick on her part!). The little Podunk restaurant had all men in it and only us girls and the waitress. Ola said she might move here to the place with all the men. Jo said “Yeah, that did sound like a good idea!” Ola even told one of the men that! I’m glad I was already in the car. Well off we go again, and Jo is driving. She found her way back to the freeway with a little coaching from Ola and me. She always thinks we are yelling at her. She said, “I don’t hear you yelling at Sherry when she drives.” Ola said, “Because you can’t hear! We have to yell at you!” Or it would be “What did you say?” Or “Turn where?” So now it’s open road and still raining and Jo is going 75 and the speed limit is 70. We just come up on a bad wreck. Ola says “See why I said slow down.” It has stopped raining now. Things are calm. Ola says “What was the name of that town where all the men were?” Jo said “It was a strange name that started with Sp—something.” So I piped in and said “It was sperm!” We all laughed. We will look it up later. It I think was called Snoqualmie Pass, Washington.
18: While it’s quiet, I’ll try to fill you in on things that happened at the beginning of the trip. Everyone said for us all to do journals, none of us did except me. Ola kept meaning to but just hadn’t. Well, it had been just too funny so I had to start putting this down before I forgot it. We can’t even keep up with the keys must less what happened 3 days ago. Thursday 10/15/09 – Our first day on this adventure! We started off in a bad rain storm, Jo driving after all it is her car. As long as we stayed on the freeway, all was well. We stopped at every Mickey D’s from Chattanooga to California and beyond. Well, when we would get off the freeway that was something else. Helen yelling at Jo and Jo can’t even hear her. Recalculate and Helen’s just like Ola, you can’t shut her up! HA! Ola says go right, and Jo goes left. Me, I’m always turned around so I just keep quiet with the exception of when my life is in danger. (I’m still thinking about that wild Teton Mountain ride). Well back to the beginning. Ola takes over driving after a while and we arrive at our first destination, MLK Street in Chicago, IL. A very nice MLK Street but you know us southerners? To our surprise, Jimmie has a great house. Her décor was great. She was a hoot to put it mildly. Saw anything, do anything, and a dog that was just as crazy, which Jo stayed away from. It was a crossing dog and I got pictures, remember Ola was the last driver. So Jo says, “Where are the keys?” Ola didn’t have a clue. We looked in the car, yard, house, and we really hadn’t got past the front door yet. Jo looked and Ola looked, and I looked and Jimmie looked. I know we looked and laughed for 30 to 40 minutes for those keys. Ola said, “They are between the seat or somewhere in the car. I thought we were going to have to take the car seat out to find them. We unloaded and reloaded the car and finally Ola found them between the console and her seat. She said “I told you they were in there!” From that moment on everything we touched, we lost even Jimmie. She couldn’t even find her keys, or phone or shoes either. We were a sad bunch. Jimmie wanted to take us out to eat. She couldn’t remember where. She knew where it was but couldn’t remember the name. She called her daughter and she told her it was Olive Garden!!! What do you know; Kelly had given us gift certificates for Olive Garden!! So we took her out to eat and she liked that idea. Every so often she would say “Now what’s the name of that place?” We ate and we laughed and had a good time. We left Chattanooga at 4:30 that morning and now it’s 10 pm but we waited up for her daughter to come over to visit. Jo couldn’t wait any longer; she goes to bed at 9 pm on the dot. When Jo put her PJ’s on, the girl came. Jo and I said “Nice to meet you!” and we went to bed but Ola stayed up and visited. We got up early to see Chicago. I was sick as a dog. I have been on a protein diet so I wouldn’t be the biggest sister in the bunch. We had salad for lunch at Cracker Barrel and it was great, it was the new apple salad they have. The soup and salad at Olive Garden you get a lot of salad there too. I was trying to be good. Jimmie kept saying you shouldn’t eat too much salad. So the next morning, I stayed on the pot and had the dry heaves and about passed out. (I know too much information!) They had to take wet towels to me, and I was white as a ghost. I’m talking SICK! Ola knows what I mean, she was sick like that today!) I got better after about 45 minutes and dry toast. Ola said it was my diet and Jimmie said it was salads so now I’m off my diet! Jimmie’s neighbor came over to visit too. Jimmie kept telling her we had to be out by 10 am. Her neighbor said, “Even hotels let you check out at 11 am!” and Jimmie said, “They aren’t paying so they got to be out by 10!” We all laughed but we were out by 10!
19: Jimmie would have gone with us but she had all the Chicago she wanted to see at home. We tried to follow Jimmie’s directions and Helen’s directions. Oh great! Good! Oh Great! We just came up on the Columbia Basin Gorge. Unbelievable! You can see this stuff in books and in paintings but to see it with your own eyes! Oh Me! On the road to Seattle, Washington, we are trying to find this petrified ginkgo tree, and we have pulled off and Helen has now developed a stuttering problem, Recalculate, recalculate. We all say “Shut up!” Poor Helen. We have pulled off into a boat ramp but no petrified forest here. It’s time to get back on the road again. Another turn and Helen’s crying now. We found the petrified woods, took some pictures, and bought some souvenirs and now we are on the designated route again. Helen has quit crying and is happy. Kevin made us reservations to stay in a brothel tonight. They said no that the town is called Brothel. I know Lloyd would not like that. You know Ola would probably say she didn’t have the money to pay the bill and have to “work for it”! HA (just kidding again!) Ola is feeling a little better now. Back to Chicago Remember Jo’s driving she is getting directions from everyone and we are looking for State St on Michigan Avenue. Helen keeps getting us further and further from the tall buildings. Jo says I see the tall building so I’m going that way (it worked) we drove till we found the Sears Building or we figured it was because it was the tallest. We made about 6 trips around in and out of the city. Never could find a place to park so we went to find the Great Lake, you know the water there. We found it. We also found the field house museum and Soldier’s Field. It said it had parking but it took us 30 minute of going in circles in out ways and out in ways. Finally we asked and still liked to have never found it, in Soldier’s Field. Jo pulled in the wrong way of course and got her debit card stuck in the machine. They had to come and get it out for us. You weren’t ever supposed to pay there. The man said the machine will talk to you and tell you what to do. We were all trying to figure it out. Ola said it didn’t talk and the man said yes Ma’am it did. Jo said she heard it talking but Ola was talking so she didn’t hear what it said. I didn’t hear it either. Jo who had her bad ear to it said “Yes it did talk but Ola was talking in her good ear so she couldn’t he
20: High atop Pike's Peak, it was 14,000 feet above sea level!
21: Beautiful Mountain Scenery!
22: The Museum was great and the grandkids would have loved it. I wish they were here. Garet would have had a fit. They have to plan a vacation to Chicago some summer or winter. It is nice here today. We walked, read, looked, took pictures and sent pictures by phone. It was amazing. Sorry Chip, I wanted to eat a hot dog on a Chicago street but instead I took a picture of a vender for you. It was about 10 am in morning and it was too early for dogs. My stomach is weak now from this morning. We walked, looked and took pictures and bought souvenirs. Back to the car, I took them right to it. Jo says “How do you know where we are parked? All I remember there was a bug.” I was so proud of myself! It’s about 4 pm now and we want to go to the Ola’s old neighborhoods before we go to her 5th grade student’s house where we are to spend the night which is about 30 miles away from here. The place has changed a lot and she doesn’t recognize it. On the road somewhere in Washington State Well, we are in a traffic jam now and Jo is in the wrong lane. Ola says “jump in!” and Jo says “no, I’m going to get in front of a big truck up there!” Ola says “Jump in!” and Ola stuck out her hand for the truck to let us in and Jo said “No, he will hit me!” She stuck her nose in and the truck driver came to a dead stop. Ola said, “See he wanted to run over you!” Then they got into a discussion about getting in and out of traffic. Jo’s upset because people that were behind her are now in front of her. She wanted to do like I do and run up pass everyone and jump in front of a poor old slow truck. She doesn’t want to let them in. She’s fussing at them for what she wanted to do and the hour delay. I feel road rage coming on! HA! I may have to listen to it for a while! Oh me! If it was me, I’d just drive down the middle and don’t let anyone by! HA! In Chicago again Back to last week, where was I? O yes, in the old neighborhood, well we found it and she found something she recognized. The house had a for sale sign in it and you know me I don’t mind asking to see your house if you have a for sale sign. We figured they want people to see it to sell it.
23: So we go up and knock on the door. They welcome us in to show us every room in the house. We liked how they had it done, new granite in the kitchen and they had taken a bedroom and made a huge kitchen. The office in the house still had the wallpaper that Ola had put on it. Otherwise, it was all remodeled. Beautiful house! We said “Thanks and sorry that we would not have imposed but we had saw the house was for sell.” The nice lady said, “O that’s not my house for sale, it’s the lot next door.” Oops! She was very nice, and we had a lovely tour. We will send her a card of thanks again when we get home. The other houses we saw we just drove around and saw the kid’s school. We saw the trees Kent planted which are huge now and stopped at the local Ace Hardware (Jeff) to get a cord for our coffee pot. They have to have peculating coffee not drip, of course the kids asked about the cord and did not have a clue what a peculator was. Jo said she would find it. She found another man (older). Ola and I went to the cords and found one. Then off to Judy, Judy, Judy’s house. It was dark and the house number didn’t match up and Helen was confused. Ola too. We could not read the house #’s. I said “Let me out so I can go find the right #. I walked up and down the street. A kid was sitting out in this car and they had someone pulled out of the drive and left the house. I looked up and Ola and Jo were gone too. I asked the kid what his address was and told him that I was Ola O’Dell’s sister and we were to spend the night with Judy. He said, “O yes but my mom just left, but that his dad was still in the house.” So I go to the door and I’m at the right house and I had to go flag Ola down as she drives back up the street. We go in with all our junk and Ken, Judy’s husband, helps us with our things. We sit and have coffee and freshly baked apple pie. Judy made and cooked. We talked. They were such an interesting couple. 5 boys, 3 or 4 were in college, one just had his 21st birthday. He had gone out with some friends and brought them all back with him. They went to his room as to not to disturb us. We talked more about their jobs. Washington State Again The trees here are beautiful, tall, and green stately pines, beautiful Christmas trees. We went through a whirl wind of yellow leaves all around us. Mountain after mountain with clouds with dark green and yellow birds. Oh, I can’t find my camera, I found it, it was in my bra! Now I’m balanced with phone in one and camera in the other. I have them when I need them if I remember that I put them in there! Oh help, Jo’s going 65 down this mountain and it is raining again. I’m praying and she is hollering look there. My eyes are shut and afraid to look and my ears are popping. Oh! We are getting close to the bottom, Thank you Jesus! We just came out of beautiful weather 10 minutes ago to hard rain. No more pictures for a while. We can’t see. People just fly here. They were going 70 on their mountain road in the rain. And Jo’s is right there with them! You think I would be use to this fast! (NOT!) Back to Ken and Judy and the boys So off to bed we go and having to rearrange the furniture in one bed room to get us in. Now the kids pile out of the 21 year olds room upstairs to go where we were because we are now upstairs where they were. They just keep coming out; I don’t know how he got them all in there. The kids piled down the stairs greeting us as they passed. We never heard a peep out of them. Ken is a recreation and field trip director at a local school. Judy is a writer for a number of local papers and magazines. Such a nice family. I was very impressed. We were up early the next day and off to Denver. Judy packed us a lunch after feeding us a breakfast of fruit, yogurt, cereal and homemade muffins and coffee! We are getting close to Kevin’s now. We are trying to find our hotel. This should be fun! Jo says “Give me the book so I can look for the address” and Ola is telling her to exit. Jo says, “Get me the address out and we may find it before Helen does.” Ola reads it again. I say from the back “What does Helen say, because she hasn’t told us to get off yet.” Low and behold Helen is going the same exit. We don’t really have Helen programmed with our se,
24: Seattle, Washington So we do need to look for the hotel address that Jo said Helen wouldn’t take when she tried to program her hours ago. So here we go, Helen still want to go 5 miles. This is a big town. Jo has been doing great so far, Ola is on the phone with Kevin so not telling her where to go. Ola says “Get off here!” Too late! But Helen says we have to go 2 more miles to the brothel. Jo says that she is getting off the exit. Ola says she saw a sign that said 124 but it was street numbers she saw not the exit 24. Ola agreed with her this time that she might be wrong about what she saw. I’m quiet in the back seat of course. This traffic is like Atlanta or worse and it is Friday rush hour. Jo’s doing great. We are in the right lane, and we are looking now for the hotel but we went passed it because it was behind some bushes and trees. We called them, and we were only blocks away. We saw them too late and Jo passed them again and had to turn around and come back. We are in now and it is one of the nicest places we have stayed. It was arranged a little different and as usual, even walking it took all three to find our door. It was raining, and it was foggy. After we got settled for night, I went out and scouted out a way back to the lobby. It is a Marriott Resident Inn sort of like apartments in a big complex. I walked in and out around a dead end. Started over and finally found it, but it was quite a walk just to do Facebook but there is food there and a fireplace and tv that’s not on C-span or CNN. Well, when I get back, Jo is looking for her curling iron and of course, it is in the car 2 blocks away and it is raining, and I have to go get it because when she was driving she said she needed eye drops, (yes, while she was driving!) and she needed something else too and I dug for it in her bag and I’m flinging things everywhere. “So why is it in the car?” she says in a high squeaky voice, and I said “I took it out when you needed stuff out of the bottom of your bag and you forgot to tell me!” I said this back also in a high squeaky voice , “and you didn’t say put everything back just like you found it, That’s why!” So off I go in the rain, because it was my fault and their old! I am the go fetch, check out, get stuff girl! Sleep at last! Up early again 6 am but not my phone, Mary Ruth called Jo this time. Jo said, “Do you know it is 3 hours different here?” And Mary Ruth said, “Yes!” and they talked (loudly I might add) forever so we just got up then. Well we are off to Kevin’s house and of course we went out the wrong way and got all turned around and we had to check our directions again and off we go in the right direction. We were going fine but out of gas so we got gas. We had to turn off the road you know what that means. We call Tammy to make sure we were still going the right way. We made it! We are off to the Market where Kevin sets up and plays for the people shopping so if you are ever in Seattle in a small market and a real sharp dressing man with black and white wing tips with his gentleman’s 40’s style hat pulled over his eyes then leave him a big tip, it’s Kevin, still very good looking and as nice as can be. Just don’t talk politics or should I say Republican! The market was great! Everyone had samples of food. I walked around eating everything. I got Ryan a hat and ate some cheese.
25: We all gathered around Kevin, so others came over too! (It was good for business!) He is good and had a nice quiet folkie blue’s sound. The kid’s loved him. He has a real job but he does this because he likes it and he’s not homeless. Out to dinner at another Mexican Restaurant, and I’m going to be speaking Spanish soon! It was good not as hot and spicy as the last one. Where’s a Cracker Barrel when you need one? HA! We ate at the Public market. It is a huge place and goes on forever, we had a few samples here and there. We went to the fish market there everyone standing around to see the famous fish throwing that they do there. No one buying so the worker calls out “Could someone buy a fish so we can throw it?” Everyone laughed. We didn’t get a picture of them actually throwing fish but I do have one of the crowd at the fish market. So on we go through the market and Tammy showed us their favorite cheesecake place. Kevin, he stood and peered at the cakes inside longingly for a long time and we would leave and come back, and he was still looking. Ola said “Get you some.” Kevin said “You guys might want to eat them.” We all laughed, and walked away with him still there looking longingly. We had just eaten and still trying to diet, we didn’t want any. He was still there. I went back and asked him which were the best kind and bought them and gave them to him because we had said we would pay for parking but he had to pay all the parking and we didn’t have real money. HA! I said that’s how you get your parking money back. We all laughed. He was very grateful. We walked around the city, which is huge and got pictures and we went back to his place for a night cap or coffee(for us Baptist) and talked and joked. Kevin said Tammy had thought since we were older ladies from the South that we may be heavy set old ladies. She’s been watching too much Paula Deen! They were glad to see that we all three would fit in the back of their car. He also said we were a good testimony for what Southern woman are really like. I told him we left our white sheets and hoods at home! (Laugh again)
26: Well, we are off to go back to the hotel where ever that’s at. HA! Kevin’s printed us out directions. I know we drove from there to their house but going back but it was dark. Of course, we got lost, IMAGINE THAT! We turned on Helen and let her find us and tell us how to go back to the hotel. We made it and called Kevin and told him we made it back, but we didn’t tell him we got lost again. Ok my phone was off because of my alarm which I swear I keep turning off but it keeps going off at 4:30 AM! So I turned my phone off. It’s 12 pm at home, and I called Lloyd but remembered the time difference (unlike Mary Ruth!) not wanting to wake him so late, so hung up. He called me all upset the next day because he couldn’t get me all day and didn’t know if we had wrecked or what. I calmed him down and went to bed. We are up and on the go again. Went to Kevin’s and said our goodbyes and took more pictures. He played and sang for us. We actually found his house this morning without any turning around. We are getting good at this. And now with Helen as our co-pilot (not asleep!) see I have got something out of all those news programs. (you know the Midwest Airline Pilot story).
27: We came out and are on our way. I called Lloyd to let him know we were on the move again and on the freeway and Helen started going crazy. I told him I’ll call you later and we all have to be co-pilots sometimes to get to where we are supposed to go. We have done well, no turning around. We have gone 60 miles now and we have got to find a Mickey D’s! Oh My Gosh! It is right in the middle of an outlet mall with all the stores! Lots of them! I have to run and go the bathroom so I can shop while they get coffee and pee. I ran in and saw the men’s went in the one opposite it and it was a broom closet so I used the mop bucket (NOT)! However, in one of our stops I did go in the men’s room and use their toilet. Their little toilets are hard on your butt. HA! Just kidding about using the urinal. But it was how I knew it was a men’s room because they do not have regular toilets. I made it out and no one knew but me and God (well now you do too). They caught up with me and wouldn’t let me go shopping. I was so near yet so far (again) so here we go to find Mount Saint Helen’s. I might sacrifice one of the other two to the volcano. Which one? Hmmmm? Open road for 53 miles so we are safe for a while. It’s foggy and we can’t find the mountain. We’re off to see the wonderful Mount St Helen’s. We are here! Wow, 60 miles up to the top and it took about 2 hours or more to do it. It was beautiful! Still the top was foggy. It was sort of eerie. The visitors station on top had sounds like a rumbling of a volcano and you couldn’t really see the tip top because of the fog. It was desolate and kind of scary, but we’ll worth the trip. On the way to Portland, OR Heading to Cecil’s now. Ola is driving and all is quiet. Passed a mallI’m having withdrawals! We are headed into Oregon now, and it’s a little flatter but stately trees. I think we are driving along the Padre Sound Waterway. There’s another mall and we just came across the bridge. There’s another mall. My kind of town! We followed Helen’s directions to the tee and we are here at Cecil’s. She lives in a giant neighborhood like our North Chattanooga area. Older homes but nice. They have a great market just one block down that is like GreenLife . She made a great meal for us. No meat, but it was great. Mince meat pie (which I usually won’t eat) but it was great. The next day was pumpkin cornbread (which she grew the pumpkins herself) and potato leek soup. I could have eaten more but restrained myself except for more cornbread though. It was great! We had a day off shopping but should I say following Cecil which she did all the shopping. We don’t have room to shop. We did all have to buy a rain coat at the Goodwill. It was a high-end Good Will, but great. Rained all day, off and on but we took the rail road transits and buses all over the city and it was great. Our hotel was very swanky. I felt like a big shot. We each had a bagel and coffee for breakfast and it only cost us $30 total. (5 bagels and 5 coffees) Well, today we are on the road again. Oh I forgot to tell how Ola got the opportunity of getting rid of Jo at Cecil’s. When we were leaving the last night, it was dark and Jo went down on the last step and hit the pavement on her face and head. I’m not accusing but Ola was beside her! I went back to the house to get a flash light to see if she was dead or alive. I yelled as I got to the door, “We’re suing!” She was ok and came up laughing because I wanted to sue! (After all, Cecil is a lawyer!) She did get hurt a little but thank goodness it was her head, the hardest part about her. Now I know we are better looking, because she looks like scar face today. She’s a tough old bird. Takes a lickin’ and keeps driving, face in bandages, head concussion, one eye covered and still wants to drive (just kidding!). She is driving I think it’s because she don’t want to go down the coast but we do. We are on the lookout for a cheap breakfast. Denny’s here we come! Good bacon and eggs, good everything but still cost $10 each but oh so much more food! Out of the big city and back to cows.
28: The California Coast was Gorgeous!
29: Now we have stopped for the oil to be changed. When you get our oil changed they give you a free car wash. Big sign says $3 car wash (rinse and blow), or you could get the full wash with hand scrubbed and hand dried. The man told Jo she could have the second one for $3 or she could have the first one for free. Of course, he tried to explain it to her again and she still couldn’t understand, so I had a Helen Sear’s moment and yelled “Do you just want the Blow Job?” (That’s what the sign said.I think) so she could hear me. Ola died of laughter and the man turned red and said “Ya’ll are out having a fun day?” For the record, she did get the blow job because it was free! Now off we go again on the road. I can’t put that on facebook, my preacher is on there! I have been hanging around Lacy too much just anything comes out of that child’s mouth but it is usually funny! Now we are looking for the Oregon coast where the ocean is. 1047 haven’t found it yet. There is a big mountain in front of us. We may have to go over it to find the beach. We are at the mountain now and we are going over it and Jo’s driving in a hurry. She wanted to go down 5 which is much faster but no coast. Hold on! And I’m in the back seat and I see what you mean Johnny L she says he still talks about his ride over the mountain with Jo 20 years ago. Now she is blind and deaf! Well these mountains aren’t as steep or curvy but there are a lot Christmas trees and they have farms with sheep and horses cut out in these mountains, so many evergreens and only a few bright yellow leaved tree scattered throughout. We see smoke and some burnt out places, a road called burnt out trail. Jo said they burn down the woods then named the street after it. Rain, good put out the fires, before we get there! They need Smokey the Bear here! Now the mountain is getting winding and two trunks are in front of us. Jo’s looking for a place too pass them. Oh me! Jo is now pulling down the shade to look at her face to see how bad her face looks. Now the only trouble is she is driving around a curvy mountain in the rain going 55 miles an hour with a big truck in front of us and me in the back seat holding on for dear life and another set of my finger prints are embedded in the door. Of course, there is no cell service, can’t call my family to say bye (again)! I’ve noticed Ola is doing that too! Seeing how good she looks while she is driving, you see a lot in the back seat. Thank you Jesus, we have found the ocean, I feel like Columbus when he found land! I’m a whale watchin’! (you know the song!) We stayed in a nice Best Western in Crescent City, Ca. right at the beginning of the red woods. We had a great free breakfast after Ola and I took a dip in the pool and went to the sauna. Of course, Jo wouldn’t go because she had to tidy up the room because Ola and I are so messy, but we are on vacation! The trees huge and only supposed to get bigger. Jo’s driving again. How does she always get to drive on mountains that are curvy? Jo is going 90 with the sun in her eyes. No one can see, but still flying. You don’t know what are around every corner like you do on our mountains. Oceans with 1,000 ft below us with big tree’s ahead and curves everywhere and no guard rails and now the ocean has huge jagged rocks ahead of us. If it wasn’t so beautiful, I’d be scared. Good place to die I guess. Jo says if you live to die you will die. I told her it might be hers not mine and she said I wouldn’t die just be mangled for the rest of my life and have someone take care of me but I’d be alive. Well we made it. This place is great and I got a picture with Paul Bunyan for the kids. He’s a big boy. We took a sky ride that was sort of scary being way above the big redwood forest, my life flashing before my eyes again!!! The view was great. We are on our way again. The clerk told us the other thing to see and we were off to the drive through redwood. I got pictures. That was all that was there! One tree that you drove through and it cost us $4.00. Jo wanted her money back. On the road again! Just past Palm Restaurant, they had told us that someone from Tennessee owned the place. We turned around and went back to have lunch there. The lady was home sick but she was from Tennessee. She
30: On the road again Ola is driving now going up and down mountains. Jo yells “Slow down!. She says “Sherry, why aren’t you yelling at Ola?” I was too distracted by the ocean thru the trees, so she and I are going to sleep. Ola is talking to herself saying the names of the towns. A quick jerk and swerve and Ola says, “You two better stay awake to keep me awake! So I’m up now. We are now looking for the real drive through trees. The other tree was real but there was only one. Farm country now and the ocean is beyond the trees and I can’t see it. Now the ocean is gone and a mountain range is beside us and we have found the California cows. Cows and more cows. Our cameras both are not working now, and we forgot to charge their batteries. We got to find a Wal-mart or no more pictures. You will have to just take our word about California cows, ocean, and big trees. We got post cards for the pictures. More drive thru trees. More trees, big suckers, I took pictures. We saw tree houses, tree tunnels, tree statues. It was great! We are now in wine country, a little flatter so they let me drive. Beautiful country with grape vines everywhere like the corn fields but its grape vines. It’s very neat. We fly by beautiful sights about 5 pm now and Ola wants to stop. Yeah, its wine country and we are only about 150 miles away from San Francisco and she wants to stop. I keep flying to get to San Fran before dark. Ola has just got to stay the night here, she thinks they give out free samples of wine but it was after 5 and all the visitor centers were closed. No wine! Beautiful place though. Best Western or as Ola called it Great Western. Jo looked for coffee and a bed, I went to exercise and to the sauna, Ola joined me and the whirlpool was outside by the pool. It was a beautiful evening and we stayed in there forever. We tried to get Jo to join us that it would help her soreness from the fall but she didn’t want to find her swim suit. Got up and had a mini bar breakfast and took an apple for the road and was off to San Francisco. I’m driving again. More vineyards after vineyard, Sonoma Valley was the place. We didn’t even get any wine. Nothing was open when we left about 100 miles out of San Fran. Traffic is getting heavier. Not just us and a few trucks anymore. Town after town, then there it was the Golden Gate bridge, and I’m driving across it. So great! Helen is busy keeping up Ola and Jo on the watch and me sightseeing as I drive. Beautiful after a quick view of San Francisco, we were off to Mount View where we are going to stay. We are here without any trouble by listening to Helen all the way. I told you they don’t yell at the baby! Nice neighborhood, pretty place, real neat. We are in and resting for the day. Ate, cleaned, and got unpacked and plan for tomorrow’s trip into San Fran on the train. We are up and off to catch the train. Yay, we found it with minimal of effort. Not sure how to get tickets, but we found a box and read how to get tickets, got our tickets and off we go. The trip was about 50 minutes long. San Fran was great. We went up and down the streets. We went to the Fisherman’s Wharf and all the piers, Gardella Square, Lumbar St. and China town. Great buy’s at China St. and I got all the kids shirts. We hopped on the trolley and headed back to Mountain View. 11:30 pm, and we are tired and off to bed. Up today and off to Cannery Row and Carmel-by-the-Sea. We went to a butterfly place where we saw 4 butterflies, supposed to be millions but they haven’t got there yet. The ocean was beautiful. We went to Santa Cruz to the college and the beach that was covered with carnival rides. We got home about 7:80 or so the trick or treaters had all gone in. We ate and played Rummy. I won once, Jo won once, Ola lost each time. She said she wasn’t going to teach us any new games. Off to bed now and up tomorrow to rest, Sunday a day of rest. Ola and I went for a long walk this morning and then we went to the farmer’s market in Mountain View. This afternoon we had a visit from one of Kyle’s old girlfriends and her son. She is a teacher. It was a nice visit.
31: California Wine Country
32: It’s 5:21 am and we are up, the time has changed but our bodies didn’t change. When it got light out, I went for a walk to the park. Ola and I found it yesterday. It is a huge park, with daycare, pool, workout buildings, tennis courts, etc. There were 10 different play grounds. A skate board park and a running track. There is money in this town! Most homes aren’t real rich looking but the communities are top notch. Back from my walk and we are ready to tackle San Fran again. We go to the train station and there’s no place to park. It’s Monday and everyone went to work early. No place in the town that has a place to park for over 2 hours at a time and we can’t get out of the parking lot in 2 hours. So we ran around town all day looking for someone to tell us where we could park. We started at the post office (because we needed stamps). A nice man showed us a parking garage so we asked him where city hall was because it said permit parking all day. We are off to get a permit if need be. Jo said they only gave those to workers probably. The nice man said he would let us follow him to city hall. So off we go, up and down around and around the town. We get there and thanked the man and he was on his own way. We march to city hall to demand a place to park. Well, not demanding, just asking. We met a nice young lady who tried to help us. She called different people and all she could find out was they only gave the permits to people who work in the city. Ola said we will work in the city as hookers! HA! The girls laughed and tried to find us a place and talks to the head lady on the phone trying to find us a place to work. We told her our bucket list trip story and she loves us. She wants the other lady to come up and see us. The lady comes in and tells her we can park in the city hall parking lot for the day for free. She said she was going to let us park at her apartment but it was a little far away. We finally parked and hoped that they don’t lock our car in their lot. So now we are off to walk to the train. How far? Who knew? A lady told us 2 blocks, we went 3 or so blocks and there it is. We run because everyone else is so we see the train. Ola says hurry get the tickets so I run and Jo and I try to figure it out and I hit the wrong button and 3 tickets pop out to the wrong place. It takes all 3 of us to figure everything out. Ola was lagging behind to stop the train (I guess) yelling hurry up so she wasn’t there to show us how to do it. So Jo tried but it would not take her credit card. So Ola had to get our tickets and now the train has left us. So we wait for the next train for 30 minutes, so I’m asking everyone if they need our 3 tickets and they said no and finally I found a young man who could use one. Another person took one and now we are set and on to our first stop. We go for the next train and there is a black man yelling at a lady. We are hurrying to the bus and everyone was rushing to get on. Some lady driving by yelled “Cut it out.” We all look around and Jo walks around the sign that was blocking the people and the next thing I know the black man is laying on the track with the train coming and everyone just looking. This black transvestite (who looked like a girl, fake boobs and all, jumped down after handing Jo his purse to hold. The man lays there with everyone trying to stop the train then when it got close and stopped he jumped up and started yelling and cussing, “I don’t know who pushed me, (blank) all of you!” The conductor said, “You ain’t getting on this train!” He kicked the door that the driver is in then went back out the door and smashed the mirror and stormed off while the rest of us were trying to get out the back door away from him. Jo’s up trying to buy a ticket and the driver gets out to hand her a ticket and says I can’t drive this train with a busted mirror. We get off and back to the other train track. Now they send the train off and the other side will be 20 minutes until it leaves. Now the other side has another train going our way and we run back to that side. We are now safely on our way with a transvestite as our new friend talking all the way and she or he has been running back and forth with us. He/She gets off and tells us that it is at his/her stop. Now we are trying to figure out which stop is ours. We ask one after another. We never truly trust the first person and ask several others till we are convinced it is where we are going. Ola even helped a little old Japanese lady find her way (we are getting good!)
33: San Francisco, California
34: We make it to the Golden Gate Park and that was all we saw when we got off at Lincoln (I’m learning to remember names of streets by assassinated presidents, it helps me remember because we have gotten off a street wondered around and not known where we came from!) Imagine that! All we saw was a ball field and runners. What now? We look for a tower that a man said was free (we are into free!). Jo found an electrical tower. That was all the towers she could see (towers are supposed to be taller than anything else she says, yes you say, no wonder it was free!) We walked and we looked, and finally a tower and it was closed on Mondays. Well off to the science museum and well you know how much Jo and I love to soak up scientific knowledge (Ola tries). It was pretty good. Don’t eat there though if you go, it was very expensive, but we were hungry. You know who complained the whole time! Ha! Jo just had to go see if the tower was really closed so we walk a mile and it was really closed. We walked a mile to a Japanese Tea Garden. I wanted to see but it was in the direction of Lincoln St. (remember the way back) Free it said and we get up to it and they wanted $5 each, only free 9 to 10 in the morning, it was 12:30 or so now. So I decided we’d skip it and have some lunch. We, of course, looked and looked for the park and we come out of one wanted to go this way and another wants to go another way. (It has been this way the whole trip. Don’t take Ola anywhere and leave her, she gets all turned around (Lloyd you would be so proud of me!) He thinks I get things bassakwards, Ola can’t even talk straight! (Remember Great Western!) Well, we saw a street and yay it was Lincoln! Now we have to find a trolley, bus or something going our way. We ask 3 people again to be sure, read 3 signs and decided which way to go. With the help of the driver, we got to the right place even if we did ask him 3 times where we were to get off. He told us that he would make an announcement. Off to the Ferry we go to Sausalito. When we got off we walked, and walked from one dock to another looking for Sausalito. A boat left Ola said that we missed it. We walked the other way and asked, then walked the other way. If we weren’t eating so much we could be skinny! We finally found it. It said to Sausalito over the gate, no way out of the gate, we got our ticket priced because we are old. (anything for a discount) Got in the gate and read the sign. A lady told us we were going to Sausalito and Jo still said are we sure we are going to Sausalito. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. Poor Jo, she can’t hear the people tell us the directions and she is not going to sit still long enough to read so she is always lost. HA! If I didn’t know better, I think I was writing about myself (Not!) to a few of you might be thinking that. My kids would be so proud of their Mom on this trip (except for the oil change incident) which we won’t repeat. The ride over to Sausalito was beautiful and the shore line of San Francisco was breathtaking. Alcatraz was scary and eerie. Then we had a sunset over the Golden Gateway and the moon over the Bay Bridge (which is open now). It was beautiful! We’ve got to hurry now, darkness is coming, and we are still parked at City Hall which is 4 blocks from the train station on who knows what street (Mercy!) that’s the name of the street. Jo remembered that because she knew we would need it, but what street was Mercy off of? (Who knows?) I remembered which way we came and stuck to my gun on the directions and just took off walking, they followed me, and we walked and walked. We will be in good shape when we do get home. Yay! We found the car and the gate wasn’t locked and I’m driving home! We plugged up Helen, she has been acting a little strange lately and can’t seem to find her way because she’s been hanging around with us too long I guess. I pulled out left remember we came in from the right, but of course they wanted to go left. Helen finally got her head together and found herself and of course, I had to go around the block and head right as I said. Now we are on our way and we followed Helen and got right home. We are in cleaned because I had to write in my journal before I forgot the day completely.
35: Then it was time for our daily game of rummy. We are kinda at a tie. Ola lost all the other night but last night she won twice but could not remember it so I told her I won! HA! Now we have convinced her she won both hands or 2 out of 3. Tonight I won the first hand, Ola the second, and we let Jo win the 3rd. HA! No she did it fair and square. You got to watch her though. Well we are off to bed and packing. We are leaving tomorrow if we can find anyone that will have us. Michelle keeps saying that one of the kids has swine flu. Delynn keeps insisting she has no electricity. She is now trying to pawn us off on her friends. Ola’s friends were sick when we came through Chicago. I’m just waiting for Jordon Rushing, my friend’s son, who works at Disneyland that he is also sick. I know these people in San Fran are ready for us to leave. People have been great here and ready and willing to help 3 old ladies on their quest to fulfill their bucket list. Ola thinks Jo and I fuss too much about how we look and what we wear. They harped at me for not wearing my tennis shoes with all my outfits. I have big feet and I don’t like to look like I’m all feet. Who cares they say! I said a lot of these people will remember us and talk about us and I don’t want to be remembered by the one with the big feet! Thanks to Shell and Otis for their Father-in-law’s home. It has been great. We all have had our own room. (No TV!) But we don’t have to watch CSPAN. Nor do I have to sleep with Ola (and her snoring!) I did hear her through the wall’s once. Well got get some sleep; we’re off tomorrow to port’s unknown. Up and cleaning and getting packed, Jo packs and we clean and wash sheets and make beds, dust, and mop. Now we are in the car, Helen is sluggish today she can’t seem to get going. Maybe the flu! I show them the way out, which they have been 20 times already but still question. One ramp coming down said “Do not enter”. Our car has been beside it where it has always been. Now we are off on 101 Jo go said program Helen to San Pismo Beach. Then Helen gives us more directions to get on CA 277. Jo starts yelling 101, 101, 101, not 227 101! Helen keeps spouting. Jo keeps spouting. Off the exit we go and got gas. Got gas and got back on 101. Helen now says go 187 on 101 and Jo’s happy.
36: Now she changed her mind we are going to Pruneville not San Pepto-Bismol. She forgot her prunes. She needed them bad this morning. She keep’s griping about all my clothes and stuff. I told her I would rather be known as the one who brought too many clothes than the one who griped all the time. She gripes, we laugh, she laughs too. I think we are headed to Big Sir got to see then surfer boys. Yay! 68 degrees and it’s a beautiful day 9:30 and a great day ahead. Now that Jo has told us where to go. Helen is quiet and I think she feels better now. We are minding her for a change. Just looking at the countryside. No wonder people want to come to California. You have it all! Oceans, mountains, fields, big cities, small towns, all within an hour of each other. Some of it within 3 or 4 miles from each other. Now we are at Big Sir. What a sight, hills, rocks, ocean, and homes. 60 miles of curves, high mountains looking down at the ocean and rocks and water and we have got to pee! Oh me! Nothing for miles but ocean hills, rocks, and now cows. Here are the happy cows at the sea. Oh we got to go! A state park ahead and we pull in and ask if we can use their bathroom. We did, thank you Jesus!
37: ! I’m swearing off water! We are off again, looking for somewhere to eat lunch and we found a nice Big Sir River Inn nestled in the woods. Looks like the Smokey Mountains with ocean over the mountain and lots of cabins to stay in and enjoy mountain streams and shade and go about 2 miles and you have the ocean with big surf. Oh good, I get a chance to each junk food again! Hot dog, chips and coke. Ocean again. It’s so beautiful! We meet a hiker on his road trip walking and he was nice, walking and talking. We got pictures. More mountains and curves, right next to the ocean looking down at the sea, scary but beautiful. Ola’s driving, she is okay on mountains but she wants to go sightseeing also. I’m in the front so it’s not so bad. Ola is tired and Jo’s going to drive. Hold on! Not so bad, I’m in the front and it is not quite as bad, she’s doing ok. I just saw a bunch of white seal or something lying on the beach. We stopped; of course, we stopped every 10 minutes or so sometimes more. Lloyd would choke me if I asked to stop so much. It is the elephant seals, millions of them flopped, some belly up, which is the white and some flopping around, some throwing dirt on themselves. We first thought they were dead and washed up but no they are just resting, they have been swimming from Canada, a volunteer who was there to give us info told us they come every year, the young ones come first, then in late November the teenagers come and in January, the big bulls come and mating season starts and the bulls fight. She said it’s something to see. The young leave before the older ones get there. They were everywhere! So neat! Now we are off again in and out, up and down. It is flattening out now. Oh we see a place to pull off and get to the water. We see lots of cars, surfers in the water, a small curvy road going down to the water. This is a rocky beach, got pictures. Big waves, we watched the surfer dudes and off we go to find a place to stay in San Pepto-Bismol (better known as San Pismo). It was a nice place. It had a mall across the street and got Lloyd and Janice a birthday card. Now for some Facebook because it’s been unreachable for days and there was a hot tub! We soaked forever and then Ola insisted on our cheesecake poise for our trip, got pictures, if you want to see some old women, up close, sort of molded! We are on the road again. We are in Solvang, a Danish town. It was a quaint. We had a Danish call apple. I can’t spell it. And when I can spell it, I usually can’t pronounce it. Nut town! Off we go again, go right or left? One way goes back to the ocean and one goes back to the mountains. Jo chose the mountains. She likes to scare the Bajeezus out of me! We are now in Santa Barbara and we stopped to find the beach. And we drive all over town. We turned Helen on and went to seaside and found water. Now we found where a Wal-Mart is and got a map to find beach which Helen can’t find. Now we have a map and everyone takes a look but everyone has a different opinion. We got to where we get in to the beach and Ola had a Jo moment and almost a nervous shaker. Because I said we go left and she said go right and then she said that I had the map upside down. I said either way we go left. No she said right, you go right. Well, we went left and she about died. Well, when she saw that we were going the right way she calmed down and resumed her composure. Now we are in Malibu Beach. This is a neat place. No wonder the houses slide off the cliffs. They build them on sand. Never build your house on the sand. We have made it to Santa Monica Pier, strange people here and look like a lake on the ocean. We got pictures. We ate lunch on the pier. Now we are off again, and we can see LA. Finally we are at Shell’s. Shell is not at home. She left before we got here. Alright Ola, are you talking again? We take Ola in to see Mary and she ain’t talking. Jo and I are off before dark to find Delynn’s, right in the middle of rush hour, plug in Helen and off we go. We made it.
38: Oh My God! This child has emptied her whole house onto her drive. Looks like Sanford and Sons. Everything out in the middle of floor tape on the electrical outlets, my room is ready to sleep in. But no sleep for the weary. Put the house back together first! We get two rooms put back, to bed now more work tomorrow which is ok. I have kinda been missing work. Spent the whole day putting everything back in its place. Hot tub here we come! This is a really nice place. Very neat especially now that we put Delynn’s house back together. Nice pool too, water is warm. We spent the day cleaning and now we are off to get Kelly at the airport. We made it fine with Helen’s help. (She is so smart!). We sat in the pickup lane forever. Then the airport security kept trying to move us. We didn’t know where to park. Another car was in front of us. I told Jo to stay put as long as they didn’t tell us to move. They are back again to make us move. We said we don’t know where to park and he showed us. The traffic was so bad at the time we couldn’t get out. Well, it is now 9:25 and I text Kelly and we are inching up to the security guard and the other car left when her rider got there. Now we have to move or run over the security man. Kelly calls. She is out front she says “Where?” I said. “We don’t see you.” Now the security man motions for us to go. I told him she is right at the front door. He says pull up here and now we see her, and we load her and off we go, back to Delynn’s with Helen’s guidance. Thank Heavens for Helen we’re here! Delynn has finished up the place, and has a fire going on the back porch in the fire pit for ambiance. (I think she had thought about burning it down before we had gotten here to help her with things!) It looked great with candles and everything smelled great and so peaceful and relaxing. Off to bed we go. Everyone is tired from the last 3 busy days. 6:30 Am we are up for our beach walk and Kelly joins us. After our walk and breakfast of eggs and toast, we are off to Old Town San Diego for some sightseeing. Delynn showed us a beautiful self realization center garden (we got pictures!) We have got to make us a pond down from my yard to Eric and have our own meditation garden. We saw several beaches with lots of surfer dudes. There were beautiful waves. Now we are off to Old Town, and it is a quaint little place. So Mexican! You feel like you are in Mexico. We had lunch and my gosh what a lot of food they brought us. We have enough food for 2 days; we will have to freeze it because we are off to Shell’s for a few days to see Hollywood! Oh let me tell you this, we shopped in all the shops and Jo kept pointing out all the anatomically inaccurate male statues. Kelly said, “Thanks Nasty Lady!” (We got pictures!) We had to leave to keep Jo away from the statues. She thought they were cute. HA! We had a great day and saw a lot of sights and got pictures. The next day we got up early and went for our walk on the beaches and now we are headed off with our potato salad and green beans to Shell’s house to spend a few days and see Kent and Shell and LA. We had a great lunch and good time with Kent, Shell and the girls. One of them was away till Monday to check out a college. Shell put us up in a hotel on the beach for 2 days and it was great. No hotel is really on the beach in California, only the houses. You have to walk down 4 blocks of a steep hike to get to the beach. The homes were great and very high dollar. We were looking for a sugar daddy for Kelly because Tyler says he wants a rich stepfather to keep him up! HA! Jo chased a few! The walk back up was a killer. You could see the ocean if you looked real hard over the roof tops. You could hear it at night with the windows open so we left it open because we were high up so no one could get us! Kelly and I did the beach walk each morning and at night. Sorry Tyler, no Sugar daddy for you! Although we came close on one morning, a cute surfer dude asked your mom to zip him up in his wet suit. His string broke he said. o lots of different beaches, real rich looking homes with beautiful beach rocks, etc. I took a lot of pictures. We are back to Delynn’s, and we went to the hot tub.
41: On Wednesday, we had a brunch with one of Delyn’s friends. She is a spiritual advisor and writer and her husband is an artist. He does beautiful work. We got pictures. We had a real sophisticated time. Then off sightseeing down town San Diego. They had Veteran Day celebrations and we joined in. It was a great day. Kelly and I are off to see Jordon Rushing at Disneyland up at 5:30. At 8, we called Jordan and he met us but we couldn’t get in till 10. The hotel guests only could go in at 9. Jordan had to come out in his costume covered in sweats and let us in. He had to be in place at 10:15 and still had a wig to put on. So now Kelly and I are off to explore Disney. There were some kids in line to get their picture made with Mickey and Minnie and the other characters. Kelly and I in line too. I told them this was my little girl and it just took me a while to get her here to Disneyland. We got pictures, and we saw Jordan in his station with Tinker Bell. He was just great, so sweet to the little kids. We got pictures. We spent the whole day there until they closed the park. Home at 9:30 and off to the hot tub and bed. Oh yeah, we were in line to see Jordan, and we told this little girl in line next to us that we knew Terrence since he was a little boy. She looked at us and said “You know, they are not real don’t you?” We laughed and told her we still knew him. Up at 6:30 and off for my walk and later to the San Diego Zoo and the Balboa Park for the day. I packed a picnic and Ola and Jo went to the store for bread. We were aiming for a 9 am departure and everyone was ready. We had to wait on Delynn. She changed shoes 3 times, hat, scarves, earrings. We all climb in finally at 9:30. Then Kelly tries to set Helen. She needs the address. So in the house again to get the address. “There is no address,” says Jo. It is in Delynn’s purse with the info about the zoo. We are going to buy a membership for Delynn because we get two free passes and 2 at 20% off. She can’t find it in her purse in the house again we go. Can’t find it. We looked in her purse again, and it was in there the whole time! We get in the car again and forgot something again and had to go back into the house. Now it is 9:50 and still not out of the driveway! Well finally, we are off to the zoo. Now we argue with Helen about which way to the zoo. She say’s 5 and we say go 163, and we keep looking for the zoo entrance. Finally, we had to rely on Helen and she got us to the parking lot but we still couldn’t find the zoo. We did find the Balboa Park. Now Jo and Delynn went one way and we went the other. Jo found it first and saw a zoo sign. Now we go to buy the membership, and we still have to pay $30 to get in but Delynn gets in free. Now I have to buy a bus pass $8.50 for me and $8.50 for Kelly. We all tried to figure out if we got a bargain or not. Everyone had a different opinion. Now we have accepted it, and we are off to see the zoo. The zoo was great. Now it is 3:30 and we are hungry. We brought our lunches. Now we are looking for a place to have a picnic. It is a little chiller and no sun in this park. We saw a picnic table but that was not where Delyn wanted to eat. She is looking for where she and Barry had taken Emory on a picnic before. So we went looking for the spot. Finally, we just find a spot and drag out our food because Jo’s having a fainting spell. Now we are all cold and tired and ready to head for home. Now we discuss dinner which Delynn wanted to do at 5:30 and we didn’t want to because we had just ate lunch at 3:30, so no one was hungry yet. We go home and Delynn is still trying to go to the night spot. She thought Kelly wanted to see the night life. Kelly wanted to go to outlet mall, that’s her night life! No dancing and drinking! So dinner is out so Jo cooks goulash. Kelly and I are off to the mall. Ola goes to the hot tub, Delynn gets on Kelly’s computer. We are back from shopping and off to the hot tub.
42: The next day was Kelly’s day to see all she wanted to see. We did several beaches and shopping. Back to the house to eat and then back to the hot tub. The next day, we did more sightseeing today. Jo kept the funds on the trip and tells Ola that we will have to spend another week at Delyn’s. Ola decides to go back to Shell’s for the week. We wanted to see more sights up that way so we would take her the way and off we go to see the sights. We saw the Crystal Palace, the TBN building. I took pictures for Carolyn and Daniel. Then a beautiful shopping mall. We have time so off to Beverly Hill’s and Hollywood we go. We got rid of Ola now and we can do the some other stuff like go on Rodeo Drive and look for movie stars. We found it with the help of Helen and found an easy and great parking place. We parked and fed the meter and off we go to act like we are somebody and check out the shops. We find where we saw Brad Pitt’s car. Bright yellow Rolls-Royce Convertible that was by a real expensive men’s shop. We took our picture by its license plate that read BP111, we guessed it was his??? Never saw him though. We found a place we could afford to eat out side on Rodeo Drive. I went back to put more money in the meter and got to the car and noticed we didn’t really have a meter. The meter I fed before was for the car behind us. I thought it was a two head meter for the front car and one for the back car. We were parked in a red zone. No parking! I ran back to get Jo before we got a ticket. She was on the phone to her friend to tell her we were having lunch on Rodeo Drive. | Studio where Shell Works
43: But now we are not! Can’t find another parking spot. Off we go home back to Delynn’s but we did eat lunch on Santa Monica Blvd at McDonald’s! HA! I guess we aren’t big shots after all, not even pretend. We got back at 6 to Delynn’s and she wanted us to have dinner with Stan and Sandra. They wanted to eat at 6 pm but she didn’t have anything ready. Her guests were there but nothing was ready. We jumped in and made the beds and helped with dinner and ate at 8 and played rummy with them. Delynn failed to mention that she had invited them. The rest of Wednesday and Thursday we shopped and went sightseeing. We also laid out by the pool and walked. We pressure washed the trailer. We cooked and ate and packed for our departure on Friday morning. Well, we are up at 6:15 and ready to leave about 8:30 or so. Off we go and we know how to get to San Diego except when we get to 805. Do we go this way? Jo yells, “Give me Helen!” Helen is on now and she is ok with our directions, and we are on one way to the highway. Now we are on the right road and we have to stay on it for 250 more miles until we get to 10. We see rock mountains everywhere. We saw the mountain where Ola had a cabin and put Finn’s ashes. Now all we see is just desert and Mexico on the right of us and the border patrols, desert and mountain rock on top of rocks. Now we are really in the desert with sand hills everywhere. Now we are in Arizona. It’s hot, dry and desert. We stopped to eat in a road side stopping place. We set on the curb and ate in the middle of the desert, and I picked up rocks for Kevin. All we see now is flat range of mountains in the background. We come upon a border patrol and “Stop, Working dogs ahead” a sign says. I say, “They can smell Mexicans!” They laughed and said “No Marijuana!” They told me to put that in my book so I did. They asked where are we from and where are we headed. We told them we have been traveling for 5 weeks but that they could go ahead and check if they wanted to. Jo says, “When you open the car, everything will fall out!” They said have a nice trip. We got to Tucson, but there was no place in the inn. We go on to Benson where there was a Best Western. We had a good night’s rest. Up and off to Burt Hill and Tombstone the next day. We walked all around and took a stage coach ride. Now we are on the road again looking for a place to stay tonight, so we will not be turned away again. Ola and Jo fuss about where to stay. We are just trying to find our way out of this town. Arizona is a hot and dry desert with lots of dirt hills and cacti. We passed another border patrol and they just looked at us and the messy car and said, “Go ahead and have a nice day ladies.” Now we have decided to start smuggling Mexicans and Marijuana across the borders. We look so innocent. We will soon be close to El Paso so we can make some extra money to keep us going on our trip! (Just kidding!) Good thing we didn’t pick up any Mexicans. We went through a big check point and they just ask us if all on board were US citizens. We all said yes and off we go. I’m driving now and when we got really close to Mexico, we could see the buildings and city right next to El Paso, but I couldn’t get good pictures. Ola took some though. We are looking for a place to stay for the night, and it is 7:30 our time and 8:30 Texas time. We find a Hampton Inn and it looks neat. We stop and Jo goes in to get us a room and she was gone a long time. I went in to use the bathroom and no one was around anywhere. I looked in the offices and called out and looked around for them. Then I went on to the bathroom. It was a nice place. I go tell Ola it’s deserted. Then Jo comes out. She had taken the only person that was running the place and made them show her a room. It was brand new place and very expensive looking. They needed to vacuum though.
44: We go in and unpack and look for the pool and the whirlpool. We find it but there were no lights. We go to the desk and the girl had to turn on the lights. She said the boss never turns on the lights. We all enjoyed the whirlpool and then we went to our room. Ola watches a ballgame, and I go to the exercise room to walk and watch TV. I watched a Christmas show and found the weather station to see what lies ahead of us. Rain for now and suppose to clear up before we get there. I went back to the room where they are now playing rummy. Lights are out, and I had a good night’s sleep. I didn’t wake up once! Ola didn’t even keep me awake with her snoring. Up at 6:30 and it is still dark here. Everyone got ready and off to breakfast. “There’s nothing left for breakfast,” Ola told the girl at the desk. She said there is no food or milk. So we have toast for breakfast. Then these other people come in and ask for food. The girl came out and started filling in the stuff with sausage and biscuits and got some milk for the cereal. We would have to just eat in courses, I guess! Jo went to check out and talk to the other people who were complaining. They said that the boss don’t want to hire any help, no maids or housekeepers and it just looks like it’s ran by two teenagers! This stretch of the trip is just too quiet. No where to turn, no where to get lost, no hill to be scared of, just flat and straight. The only fussing is about whether the car is too hot or too cold or if the car is too messy. Helen has recovered from her breakdown and all is well with her. We are about to run out of mountain range and it’s all flat. Now we are at a strange mountain range that looks like someone came by and shaped them and gave them a flat top. Looked like a nuclear plant ahead and got pictures of it. We get off for gas in Fort Stockton which has 4 motels and 1 McDonald’s and a few other places but no fort! We drive 2 miles to check out the other two gas stations and to see if they are a penny cheaper. Jo is saving her penny for Emory’s mask collection! Now to the Mickey D’s to get coffee and pee. Now they are arguing about which way to get back on the free way. Jo says this way and Ola says this other way. Ola gets to the ramp and looks to the left and say’s I’m going that way and points left but we needed to go right. I yell to follow that black truck and she does even when we yell that way where it split again. I said this way is going to take us to the hotels and it was. Now Jo yells “Get on here!” And Ola passes it and turns around. I just thought you couldn’t get lost on a straight open road. We can! Now we are on 10 again and all is quiet. In the voice of an old cowboy song. “Just riding along with the tumbling tumbleweeds!” I know I wouldn’t want to live here, there’s no shopping and no flowers. I just thought we were out of mountains but there are a lot of hills with flat tops still. This woman driving is given me whiplash in the backseat. She keeps swerving all over the road, back and forth and a straight stretch of road going 80 miles an hour speed limit is 80, not speeding but swerving. I saw a strange bird in the wilderness. It was 3 foot tall and didn’t look like a turkey; its neck was too long. We made it to San Antonio and to the Alamo. We check for parking. $10 all day. We see the motel that Shell told us about. Ola wants to check it out. She came out with a paper saying one night stay with 2 free breakfasts for $129. Great deal we thought but Jo’s not sure. We might find something cheaper, she thinks. This one might be too old (that it is because it was built in the 1700 to 1800 or so.) She thinks it might smell like the Read House, and she don’t like it. It is a great historical hotel set right in the heart of the river walk and next door to the Alamo and The Mall. Ola and I out vote her. They make me stay back because it’s for 2 people only so I do. I hear them talking to the desk man, and they call my name. They told him anyway and it didn’t make any difference.
46: The bell boy was in for a treat! Our entire luggage goes in because it is valet parking, and we can’t get to the car if we forgot something, so we take all but the coffee pot. I tell them there will probably be one in the room. Well, there was no coffee pot in the room. Jo thought that the man said that there were 4 beds but I think he meant it slept 4. You know she can’t hear! She was disappointed that it only had 2 beds. It did have 2 TV’s and 2 separate rooms. Ola and I shared the bed as usual. Jo had her own room and TV. I went to the workout room with a TV. The tread mill is not working so I did some biking and I went back to the room to watch TV with Jo. This was after we walked all over the river walk and took a boat ride and had a real good guide who knew a lot of history and was very comical. Then we ate on the river ferry and walked back to the room and watched TV. Up early and had breakfast and off to the Alamo. There were about 2 miles of river walk and down town shops. Shopping and food was very reasonable. We ate, shopped and walked till we dropped. The old girls were tuckered out at 7:30 so off I go to shop some more. We were right at a mall. Not many bargains in that mall. I came back about 8:30 and got on my email and Facebook. Oh yes, and a man told me you had to pay for internet service but the computer on the end was letting people use it for free for some reason so I tried it. It worked so I used it both days. It shut off on me about 8:30 on Monday night. So up to the room I go to watch TV with Jo. We had a restful night’s sleep and breakfast and off we go to visit some missions and to Houston. We turned around about 3 times and with Helen’s help we finally got out of there. We passed up the turn and Helen yells right then left. It was very confusing, but of course Jo is driving. We are off to find the mission. The river walk is beautiful but the rest of what we saw of the town is poor housing and sort of desolate area. Now we found the mission and it was neat and I guessed it was built to help the poor because the area around it was poor. Now we are on our way to Houston, and its 11:30 am. The sun is hot coming through the windows and its 65 degrees outside and windy. I am sweating. Countryside is flat and green now. Landscape dotted with ranches, cows, horses, and hay rolls. Ola saw a great sign. It read “Great bathroom, you have to pee it to believe it!” HA (pee not see, get it?) Well we did our share. It was like taking three dogs off a leash in the park. We have to pee on every tree. Now we saw a great ranch and Ola didn’t get pictures, sort of boring scenery here, so I fell off to sleep. I will have to check the camera later to see if they have any pictures of me with my head back and mouth open. We got a good shot of Ola (when we went to one beaches and she wanted to stay in the car and read). We came back and she was sound asleep with her head back and her mouth open. I snuck up to the car and got a head on shot and one from the side. We open the door and she woke up. Our mistake was telling her about it. It was in her camera and later she deleted them, so she might be trying to get me back now, I heard them whispering. I’ll have to check her camera. She had to buy a new camera. We have already torn up two cameras. I miss mine. Now more cow’s, more cows in Texas than people. Courtney just texted me and she said the girls will be with her tonight but they are expecting real ants, and they will be surprised that we are people! HA! Just passed a sign that said “We sue lawyers!” Should have gotten a picture to send to Cecil. That is still an option if we run out of money, and we are still close. Now we are in Houston, we are lost, of course, we are looking for Rice. Jo says it‘s a waste. Ola says, “You do a lot for your grandkid so I’m doing this for mine! We put it in Helen but she takes us back to Courtney’s street which we passed a long time ago. Now we go back and try it again. The traffic here is worse than Chicago. Ola is driving. She and Jo argue about being too close to the other cars.
48: Ola sees a sign to Rice College but Ola takes that street, and it was the wrong one, so now we are looking for Main St which Helen told us to begin with. We found Main, now following Helen again. We found Courtney’s house. She lives in a nice neighborhood with big beautiful homes. She lives in a very nice apartment complex. Her apartment has bushes and greenery all around with a pool right in front of her door. It looks like it might be her own private pool. She says most of the people are older there so she has the pool to herself most of the time. Has a big iron gate so the girls can’t open it without Courtney.Her girls were so cute and very friendly to us strangers. We went out to eat at a Texas BBQ place, and it was great. Everyone that was in the place was walking out with one of their pecan pies. I had to have one. We went home and had pie and ice cream. | . We played for awhile and off to bed for the night. Me, I was on the top bunk. Jo was on an air mattress. I forgot to mention that Courtney had two cats. Jo says, “I can’t sleep with a cat in my room. The cat goes outside for the night.” We go in and out to do the laundry and to the car so you know what happened. We were all set to sleep and the lights are out and all is quiet. I think I was asleep already and Jo yells “Turn on that light! That cat is on my bed!” Ola jumps up to turn on the light and sure enough the cat was in the room. She says, “I can’t sleep here!” The cat runs out and she says the other cat is in here too. Ola searches for the other cat. It is horrified and is under the bed in the back corner. Jo runs out of the room and shuts the door. Ola tries to flush out the cat but it has no way out. So back under the bed it goes. I said, “Open the door so the cat can get out!”. Jo opens the door. Ola flushes out the cat again and out it runs on fear of its life. It runs out and Jo shuts the door so the cats can’t get in again. Now we are down for the night again. I’m sure Jo slept with one eye opened. Now its morning and we all got ready to leave. We ate toast and took pictures. We are on our way to the Sin City. That’s what Lloyd calls it. I haven’t been since I was 11 years old or so. I went to a bowl game with Mom and Dad. Helen and Jo went about 3 or 4 years ago at Mardi Gras. Texas, except for the big cities, there is nothing but a few cows and it is really flat now. Everything is going fine with the straight road. No turns. Now traffic is getting backed up and slowing down to our speed. Now the speed is just 15 to 20 miles an hour. It is the day before Thanksgiving. Jo’s in the back and I’m driving. She says give me the trip book, and she is going to see why the traffic is stopped. She finds that on 1-10 there will be road work. We are in Louisiana now. Jo wants to get off the freeway and find another route. Ola and I think it is a bad idea. We get lost on a highlighted route and you can just imagine how upset Helen would be.
49: . Jo thinks the road beside us will speed by all the traffic and we can jump back on and beat the crowd. Other people are getting off at this one exit. She just knows that’s the way. We see that but budge ahead anyway and we say, “How are they going to get over the water?” Jo is getting angry and wants me to pull over and let her drive. Ola says no. We are not in a hurry. Jo’s got gambling fever; she’s staying in Herod’s tonight and can’t wait to get to the gambling tables. HA! (Just kidding) It’s hard to argue with Jo when she’s in the back. She doesn’t hear what you are saying with our backs turned to her. It’s been funny. Ola will say something and Jo repeats it about 5 minutes later (double play) or I say it and then Jo says it. We have an echo with us. I just ignore it and Ola says “I just said that!” Jo says, “I’m not paying any attention to you, so I didn’t hear you!” Slowly but surely, we make it to the big Sin City. We were welcomed at first by grave yards. Then there it is, the Herod’s, then there’s the Marriott and Lloyd is smiling from ear to ear or was he grimacing because he thought I was going to run him down. Ola and Jo both had been yelling slowed down in this town, you don’t know where you are. I’m going with the flow I tell them. The bell man wants to help with my luggage, and Jo says, “All this mess is hers.” I’m not taking it all because I haven’t told her yet that the PT cruiser won’t hold my bag. When I told her, Jo says “oh yes you are!”
50: But I didn’t. I took my big bag and one of my small ones (and I still didn’t have my bathing suit in Gulf Shores!) Lloyd thinks he can take my bag, but I tell him no that it is too heavy, full of big rocks that I have collected for Kevin and April. I bet it weighs 100 lbs. Ah! He didn’t want to have to tip the bell man! Everyone says their goodbyes, it seems strange. We have been together for 6 weeks now. I’m going to miss them two. We get in our room, and it is really nice. Did a lot of hugging and kissing and off to see the town. We go over to see the Herod’s down the street. We like to never found Jo and Chad. They had dropped Ola off at her friends and were back at their hotel. I didn’t know the hotel was separate from the casino. We were inside by the restaurant and by a red tree. They were outside checking every door with red trees and after about 15 minutes they found us. We checked out her room and it was huge with a big bathroom. Them gambler’s do it up right! I think I might take up gambling myself! We go down and look around and all I have are $20 bills. These machines won’t take but $.25. Jo say’s it will give you a voucher, and you can get change, but I wasn’t going to put my $20 in there and lose it. She showed me how it worked but I still didn’t trust it. I told her I’d try it when I had some $1.00 bills. We went our separate way and Lloyd and I went to check out the night life. People were everywhere. I got 7 sets of beads right off! There were little souvenir shops everywhere and restaurants everywhere. We ate at a place that Alfred recommended, and it was great. Strange people here, homeless people and just downright crazy people here! We walked around forever, and I went in every other shop. Then off to our room for some “us” time. That’s all I’m going to say about that! Too much info for my kids! HA! I believe the old boy missed me! HA! I talked him into staying another day in New Orleans. It wasn’t as bad as he thought and there were lots to see here. The next day we checked out the grave yards. Then went back to the French Quarters. We checked out the casino again and found the cheapest place to eat breakfast because everything was closed. It was Thanksgiving Day. We had a $1 bill and Lloyd tried it and the machine wouldn’t take it so we figured we weren’t meant to be gamblers. We will have to settle for the cheap room. We hit the streets again and took a ferry ride and back. Now back to the room to rest (yesrest!). Then we hit the streets again. We found a neat place for a turkey dinner with all the trimmings for $15.99. Lloyd had shrimp. The food wasn’t bad, and they sure gave you plenty of it. I blew my diet today. Now back to rest. On Black Friday, there was one children’s shop that said it would be open at 5 am. I was up at 6:30 and there were not many people on the streets. We headed down to Mickey D’s to eat cheap. Then I went shopping and found some good bargains. I called the girls and told them we were leaving the city and headed for parts unknown. We are off to Gulf Shores. We arrived about 2:30 pm and we ate at Lambert’s, the roll throwing place. Talk about a diet killer, this place is the worst. I gained all my weight back in this one meal. Now we are in search of a cheap hotel on the beach for the night. We had some coupons but it said not on the weekends. We checked the Best Western, better known as the Great Western. They were 100 so we decided we would check further. We had stayed there before and that had gone great. We go to Orange beach and found a Hilton Garden Inn and the coupon said $89 a night. The girl gave us the $119 room for $89 and it had a view of the pool and the ocean. It was very nice place. The beach is beautiful. Off we go walking after our dinner collecting shells for April. We walked and back to the room to rest. Lloyd made the mistake of saying I could go to the outlet mall. So I reminded him it is still Black Friday! I’m trying to do my part to help the economy! We got to keep these stores open. Where would we shop if they went under? I have to buy it while it is cheapno money left!
51: It’s a little chilly now and we are back at the hotel. Christmas décor is up everywhere, and we walked out to the beach. It looks just like snow in the room light. It was a beautiful night. We got up early and went on the beach and took pictures with my phone. Now we are headed home. It will be so good to be home, I guess the girls are on their way home too. I guess I need to call them and check on them. Well, that’s the end of the epic tale of 3 sisters who went cross country in a Malibu and back. I hope you have enjoyed reading about our crazy trip, I know I will never forget it!