Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Long Awaited Update July 28, 2009

Same ocean, same kids, different beach.

Wow! And Wow again! I don't know where the time goes. we have been active every minute of every day. The best laid plan was to blog and post pictures as we travel, but there is either no internet connection or no time or both! Since the last update, we have gone from Los Angeles area of California up to San Francisco. We spent a couple of days there, then moved North to redwood country and stayed with friends in Humboldt County. We left there yesterday and came back to San Francisco. That's where we are now, waiting for the van to get new brakes, rotors and calipers. The van is running great and we're delighted to have the air conditioning as we were inland from the ocean and temperatures went up to 105 degrees. But when the brakes started to grind, we knew we had to get those fixed before heading home over the mountains. As soon as the repairs are complete, we'll be heading up I-5 towards Ashland, Oregon and then East across Idaho, Montana and North Dakota.

Little Gracie Jayne and a big tree.

My daughter and son-in-law, along with two year old Gracie, joined us in L.A. They flew out last night on the red eye and are safely back home waiting for us, (and hopefully watering our plants).

In San Francisco, we shopped a little. The kids had money to spend on souvenirs. We rode the cable car and the streetcar. It was just too cold and foggy for a boat ride. We all donned sweatshirts and jackets. When we returned yesterday, the skies were sunny and it was hot. As soon as we got to the Golden Gate Bridge, it was socked in and cool. That's when we heard the first screeching from the brake shoes. We went back to the same motel we stayed at last week and across the street was a Good Year tire and auto center. We're waiting right now for our repairs to be done. Then, we'll head out on the road.

A foggy Golden Gate Bridge.

Up North, we visited friends. On our way through Mendocino, we met Aiko Annie who writes the "Cozy Shack" blog. and shared a cup of coffee from Moody's, the local coffee shop. Very nice to see her again and have her meet my family. Once in Humboldt County, we checked in to a three bedroom mobile home my friend has on his property and stayed there. It was very comfortable. We swam in the Van Duzen River right across the pasture from their house. We went to the ocean at three different places and collected driftwood and rock treasures. The rocks added a few extra pounds to the trip home I'm sure.

Yoody in her new skater hat with Papa.

We enjoyed the views of the ocean and the coastal mountain ranges as we returned to a place very dear to us, the grandkids and son-in-law seeing the area for the very first time. We hiked around and climbed sand hills and steep grades along rocky beaches, visiting old places where we used to live and camp in years past.

Before leaving the Southern part of California, we went to Disneyland. We spent the day there and see where we could easily spend many days. The waiting times for the rides was long, so we picked and chose as wisely as we could. It felt like everyone had a great time except my pocketbook which emptied faster than water draining from a broken levee!

I'm posting some pictures from Disneyland, the redwoods and the ocean. I have hundreds more pictures to download. This trip is of epic proportions. I'm making some debt, but that's okay. This trip is creating memories for us all. We are so blessed to be able to do this and spend this great time together and with friends.

I recall saying to the kids yesterday as we carried ice from a convenience store back to the freshen up the Coleman cooler, "I've been with you day and night for over two weeks straight and I'm not even sick of you."

Lilly riding Dumbo.

More later. After we get the van repaired, ($858.00 brake job, pads, rotors, calipers, oil change), we're on the road and heading for some hot springs, a place in Idaho called craters of the Moon and some camping. In the meantime, enjoy the pictures.

On Jan and Ron's boat, The Janine Marie, while in Redondo Beach.

Rasta Queen and the Sorcerer ala Mickey motif.

Seal on a buoy

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Finally, A Spadoman Vacation Update

WOW! It’s been a week, NO, over a week on the road already. I haven’t had a chance to update anything, and we’ve done so much already! We’re having a great time. Actually, right now, we are in Redondo Beach, CA. We’re staying with friends right now and will go to Disneyland tomorrow, Monday, then be on the road traveling North to Redwood country on Tuesday. Over 2500 miles so far. Van running great. All campers are happy so far.

We picked up some passengers here in Southern California. My daughter, along with her husband and 2 year old Gracie, flew here from Minneapolis on Friday and will travel with us until the 28th of July. They’ll fly back home from San Francisco. My other daughter, Jayne, will fly back home tonight. She also came to join us last Friday.

We had a passenger that we gave a ride to from Colorado when we started the trip. Her name is Chanti and I met her on The Longest Walk last year. She was in the Minneapolis area when we left and was going to take the bus. Since we were going that way, she rode with us for the first two days. WEe dropped her off in Longmont, CO last Saturday.

We were on the road all day the first two days of the trip. Traveling down to I-90 and west to Hot Springs, SD before we stopped the first day. WE camped out at a nice lake that first night and put over 700 miles under our belts.

The next day took us into Nebraska and Wyoming and down to Colorado to drop off Chanti, then we continued over through Rocky Mountain National Park and west to Grand Junction, CO. We stopped in Grand Junction and stayed with friends there for two nights. It was great fun traveling through the mountains. We all played in the huge snowbanks we encountered at over 12,000 feet above sea level.

While in Grand Junction, we went to a lake and swam, but that trip was cut short when Squint Eye took a fall and landed with a loud “Thunk” on a cement boardwalk. She had a bad bruise on her forehead, but never passed out. She cried a little and was banged pretty good. We named the bruise Eggbert after a trip to the “mergency room” to have a doctor take a look and make sure all was okay. It gave us quite a scare, but we had a marvelous visit with some old friends while in Grand Junction.

We continued on through Utah, seeing Moab and Arches National Park. We hiked amongst the huge stone arches and the vistas of colors was fantastic. Back on the Interstate west, we crossed some of the most beautiful high desert landscape on the planet before getting to Kanab, UT where we got a motel room with a pool to swim and cool off. The temperatures were up in the 100’s. We stayed in Kanab for two nights. We drove to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and played around there all day Wednesday. Thursday we traveled through Nevada and into California and to Redondo Beach where we are now.

We stopped and had picnics almost every day. Our cooler kept the ice and things were cool. Nice to have a cool drink when it was so hot out. Passing through Baker, CA, there is a giant thermometer that told us it was 109 degrees. Dinner out was okay, but we haven’t found any really good food yet. We stayed away from the large corporate chains on purpose except for the Jack in the Box, (2 tacos, .99 cents), while passing through Las Vegas. WE drove the strip and saw all we could, but didn’t stop there. Too hot and we wanted to get to the ocean.

Once in Southern California, the ocean called to us all. We went to the beach on Friday, then on our friends beautiful boat Saturday along with more swimming in the California Yacht Club pool. Today, we are definitely back at the beach in Rdondo and there is talk about V Venice Beach in the afternoon.

This recap to this point is brief. I can’t possibly mention all the things we’ve seen so far. All I know is that to see the kids faces when they see the sites of nature that I’ve told them about over the few years that they’ve been around has been reason enough for me to be alive.

I’ll leave this piece with pictures. Enjoy. We sure did.

Peace to All.

Na in the water.

Swimming in the Pacific Ocean.

Camping in Hot Springs, SD

Make sure you drink plenty of water when in the desert.

Arches made of stone naturally

Swimming at the KOA

Have you seen the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD?

Saying goodbye to Chanti, (at the far right)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

July 10 through July 14 with Janet

A view of one of the many arches at Arches National Park near Moab, Utah.

On our first day of driving we saw the first bridge in Minnesota to use anti-icing chemicals. We crossed into South Dakota at 12:11 p.m. It took 5 hours to drive from River Falls, WI. We saw the corn palace in Mitchell, SD. The first night we camped at Cold Brook Campground in Hot Springs, SD. I slept in the tent. We saw the 80 foot dinosaur in Wall, SD. We saw a lot of places that looked like they would be an oasis in the desert. Water and trees. We went to Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah so far, and we've only been on the road for 4 days!

We had a visitor with us named Spot. We dropped her off in Longmont, CO. I was very sad that she had to leave us. We had lunch at a rest area in Wyoming. There were statues there. The Indian was 12 feet 6 inches tall and weighed 3000 pounds. The mountain man was 14 feet and weighed 2500 pounds. They were made of bronze, or copper maybe. In Colorado we stayed at Sonya's, an old friend of my Mom. We stayed at her house for 2 days. We got to meet Chuck and played with Taco Spike Burrito. Taco is their dog.

Me and Buddy with the big buffalo at Chamberlain, SD

We left their house and drove to Utah where we saw Fisher's tower and the arches. We got to see copper that turned the rocks green. We ate at a restaurant in Utah and stayed in a KOA in a cabin. I slept on the dumb floor because I didn't want Lilly to cry. In the morning we ate oatmeal with dinosaur eggs in it. WE swam when we got there, it was really fun, and we're going swimming again in a few minutes.

First Few Days With SoCool

In Rocky Mountain National Park at 12,000 feet above sea level.

On the first day we drove a lot. We had a passenger with us. Her name is Chanti, but we nicknamed her "Spot", because she used calamine lotion on her arm and it looked like spots. It took 5 hours to get to the South Dakota border from River Falls. We saw a lot of giant animals. We saw dinosaurs, steer, buffalo, elk and jackalope. Nebraska has lots of corn. Kool Aid was created in Hastings, NE. We ate popcorn as a snack in the van it was good. It was from Nebraska.

When we went to the arches in Utah, it was very hot outside.We got to climb on the arches. The Rocky Mountains were cold and it was hard to breath. We played in the snow in the mountains. The elevation was over 12,000 feet above sea level. I was scared. I wanted to get down off the mountains.

This is me riding a buffalo.

The first night we camped at Cold Brook campground in Hot Springs, SD. The next night, we were at Sonya's house in Grand Junction, CO. We are going to see the Grand Canyon today, or maybe tomorrow. After we left Sonya's, we traveled to Utah and camped at a KOA in Richfield, UT.

We swam in Colorado at High Line Lake, Lilly bumped her head so we had to leave. We were at the hospital emergency room for a long time. We also saw red rocks. It looked like rock. It had a flag on top. We went hiking and saw cactus.

Me with my sisters at Fisher's Tower near Moab, Utah.

Crossing into Wyoming from Nebraska.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

First Entry

We are about to embark on a road trip from our homes in Hammond and River falls, WI to Western destinations to visit friends and see historic and natural sites in many states. Our plan is to leave on Friday, July 10th. We will travel through Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada and into Southern California. The return trip will go from Northern California into Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming for sure, with thoughts of Montana and North Dakota.

We will attempt to post photographs and write of our experiences. Everyone on the trip will have a voice and their stories will be told in their own words. We're excited about this trip and about creating our own memories as we travel. Saving them to this blog will be fun now while doing it, and later. while recalling the trip.

So, see you soon with reports and pictures from our travels.