Monthly Archives: October 2012

Day 43: Saturday, October 27 – Louisville, KY to NJ

  • Our final day on the road. Forty-three fantastic days. Every single day was amazing. Truly!!!
  • We left Louisville and hit the road early, hoping to outrun Hurricane Sandy and make it home with one long day in the car. We stopped in Clarksburg, WV for lunch at a restaurant serving up hot dogs since 1933.

Mr. Peanut as a hot dog?

Glenda at the Ritzy Lunch

Sue and hairy friend in background

Lunch

  • On the road, we passed convoys of tree-trimming trucks heading north in anticipation of work from the hurricane. About 30 from Virginia, 10 from Texas and 3 from Florida.

Truck in a tree-trimming convoy heading to help

  • We finally returned to the land of full-service gas and happily filled up.

Yay! Full-service gas in NJ!

Sue and our full-service attendant

  • Finally, home sweet home.

View from home sweet Weehawken

Our pilot car arrived safe and sound back home at 29 Marion.

 

Day 42: Friday, October 26 – Lexington, KY

  • This morning we head to the home of Jane and Jimmy Shropshire (Jane is Sue’s college pal).  They live on a working cow and calf farm in Lexington.  The house was originally a log cabin dating back to the 1700’s.  We have breakfast at the farm – a beautiful place with all the double plank fences running along the fields of cows and horses.
  • Glenda, Sue and Jane went off to a bourbon distillery – Woodford Reserve – a part of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.  We take a tour of the the distillery.  Our guide is excellent and we learn a lot about making bourbon including: the law and rules; the ingredients, rye, corn, barley; the mash; the distilling and storing in toasted and charred barrels and the aging.  We learn about bung and the sour mash.  We end the tour with a shot of bourbon and a bourbon ball!

At the distillery

The mash

Distilling tanks

Cheers!

  • In the afternoon we went to the race meet at Keeneland Track (yes they are race meets).  It’s a beautiful old track that runs races in April and October.  We are here on the 2nd to last day of races this year.  The track reminds us of Saratoga.  We sit in a box that belongs to Jane and Jimmy’s friends with a great view of the finish line.  We pooled our money and bet the farm – trifecta, win, place, show, across the board.  At the end of the day we each lost about $5.  Not bad for a whole afternoon of entertainment!  We manage to down another shot of bourbon and we ate a special Kentucky concoction called burgoo, some kind of  tasty stew.  We are not discouraged by the story JImmy told us that historically the burgoo was rumored to have road kill as its primary ingredient.

 

Jersey Junction We think there was one but we are too busy tracking hurricane Sandy, watching Jim Cantore and his map…wait is JIm from Jersey?  Well if he’s not it seems to us that he is 🙂

Theme of the Day: My Old Kentucky Home

Up Next: Our Old New Jersey Homes

 

Day 41: Thursday, October 25 – St. Louis, MO to Lexington, KY

  • We can’t believe it’s winding down. What a trip. This morning we go to the Historic Old Courthouse – scene of the Dred Scott trial. This is also part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial which includes the Arch and the Museum of Western Expansion underneath the Arch. The courthouse is beautiful – the Arch is elegant, simple, soaring and beautiful, really. We  enjoyed the museum also. It lays out the Lewis & Clark expedition and a whole timeline organized around the westward exploration and expansion. We find that Lewis & Clark are the original travel bloggers – we read their journal in the museum and find a lot of similarities to this very blog.

The courthouse ceiling

The Gateway Arch

Glinting sun

Sue in the sun by the Arch

  • Time to get on the road, ultimately to Lexington, KY. We first hope to stop at the Abe Lincoln boyhood home near Evansville, Indiana. We arrive there at 4:30 only to find it closed at 4. Bummer. But all is not lost as we find we are 2 miles from Santa Claus, Indiana. So we still get some photo opps.

This is all we saw…

America’s Christmas Hometown?

  • Back on the road, we stop briefly in Louisville, KY – home of Frank’s late father, Malcolm Johnson. Malcolm was also a U. Louisville Law School grad. Louisville is, of course, known as the home of the Louisville Slugger, Churchill Downs – home of the Kentucky Derby – and Muhammad Ali, too.

Glenda and the world’s largest bat

Oooops!

The Muhammad Ali Center

  • All along the way today we decide to listen to Professor Allison’s Teaching Company CDs on Early American History (Professor Allison is Sue’s cousin Bob). Shout out to Bob – we are loving it and have many questions!
  • We arrive in Lexington. Glenda calls her good friend Lee’s daughter Olivia who is a senior at U Kentucky now. At the last minute Olivia is able to join us for dinner. We have a great meal and enjoy hearing some of Olivia’s stories about life in Lexington as a student at U.K. We also share some of our exploits. What a nice evening.

Glenda and Olivia

Jersey Junction

Olivia was born and raised in NJ. So she is a big time Junction. She loves NJ and is also enjoying her time in Kentucky. We may get her back to Jersey at some point.

Theme of the Day: We can’t think of one; can you?

Up Next: Lexington again

 

 

 

Day 40: Wednesday, October 24 – Overland Park, KS to St Louis, MO

  • 40 days and 40 nights. Who knew we would actually make it this far?  The morning starts out with our usual slow start but we are pressed as we have to make Glenda’s 4th doctor appointment of the trip.  As we have mentioned before, we are going to name all the docs with names of colors so this one, Dr. Firestone, is Dr. Red.  Nema takes the patient, Glenda, to the doc while Sue wanders around KC Plaza, a shopping center of southwestern architecture full of fountains and beautiful tile work.
Back to the doctor–yes the arm is broken–and now Glenda gets to pick out a cast–now called a clamshell splint made of Aquaplast (a low temperature plastic).  She selects Jayhawk blue. Why not?  When in Kansas…..

KC Plaza

Plaza

Glenda and Dr. Red and her x-ray

Glenda and Carla the hand therapist

Making the cast

Do you recognize this arm sans cast from “Person of Interest”??

  • So once she is all fixed up, we say goodbye to Nema and head out east on Rte 70 to St. Louis.  Nothing to report on the way, just highway and we land at our hotel across from the Arch.  The Arch looks really cool, beautiful and huge!  We will explore it further tomorrow.

The Arch

  • Dinner tonight we decide to try the “Little Italy” of St. Louis — “the Hill”.  We take a cab which takes forever…through the city streets, highways, crossing rivers, on main avenues etc and we finally arrive at one restaurant.  No sign of a “village” like the little Italy we were expecting.  Oh well.  We eat at the restaurant and find out that Yogi Berra and Joe Garagiola grew up across the street from each other on Elizabeth Street here.  We walk over to find the street now named Hall of Fame Street.  Wow!!  The cab ride home takes half the time, half the cost and such a pleasant driver.  He advises us against taking the rickety capsule ride up the Arch to the top describing the awful ride.  We agree wholeheartedly and thank him for his wise counsel.  No Arch ride for us.

At Cunetto’s

Toasted ravioli – a “Hill” special

Hydrant at the “hill”

Jersey Junket

Today we have 2 junctions.  First, Carla, of hand therapy fame, announced that she was so impressed with customs at EWR.  She loved it.  So much better that London, apparently.  Second, Yogi Berra, a long time Jersey resident, of Montclair and late maybe of Caldwell, an icon…was raised here in “the hill” in St Louis.  5447 Elizabeth St.  Here is his house:

Sue in front of Yogi’s house

#5447 Elizabeth

Theme of the Day: Arms.  Broken arms, great throwing arms, catching the great pitching arms etc.

Up next: Lexington, KY

Day 39: Tuesday, October 23 – Overland Park, KS

  • Oh No!!!  Technical failure!!  Right off the bat this morning, Glenda’s new camera (purchased on the road 2 weeks ago) broke.  A slit instead of an open lens.  Help!!!  So before we launch into the day’s activities, we stop to exchange the camera.
  • Nema and Bob take us to Independence, MO the home of the Harry S. Truman Home National Park Site and Truman library.  First we check out the local town and then off for a tour of the home (a very big stamp day here…stamps for the home, the farm, the various trails…woohooo).

Jackson Court house where Harry S. Truman starts his political career as a judge

an Independence Eatery

  • For the home tour we meet Ranger Mike, our guide.  Glenda, an aspiring park ranger, is secretly thrilled when Nema asks Ranger Mike to remove his hat to let Glenda try it on.  She needs to get a good feel for the uniform she may be wearing in her future employ.

Please note Glenda is already wearing the requisite green ranger pants

Here we are at Harry’s home

A few facts about Harry S. Truman:

-His middle name is only the initial S.  for both of his grandfathers

-He is the last president to not have attended college

-He was nominated as FDR’s VP to replace the previous VP and became VP in Jan ’45 and FDR died in April ’45 so he became our 33rd President.

-Moved back to Independence after his turn as President and lived there until his death.

-We stopped back in town for ice cream.  Sundae and shakes for all (Harry worked here as youth when it was a pharmacy).

In Independence…

Yum!

  • We arrived at the Harry S. Truman Library. Take in the movie and go through the exhibits. This is a really well-organized museum. So much happened in Truman’s watch and he had so many big decisions to make. We took it all in. And then Glenda’s new working life re-emerged as a PR woman asked Glenda if she would pose for some still shots for a potential brochure and website. She’s back in front of the camera – all body parts were represented! Bob, Nema and Sue all barged in for their own stints at modeling. We think Nema will be picked as she played her role writing something out so very well.

Photo shoot – Glenda & Bob

More photography – Glenda & Sue

Harry and Glenda

  • We toured a bit of downtown KC and capped off the day with fabulous, true, KC barbecue at Oklahoma Joe’s – a BBQ joint in a gas station – rated #1for ribs in the country by some. Best BBQ we’ve ever had!

Gas and ribs, anyone?

Slab o’ ribs


Jersey Junction

In our quest to get Glenda a new camera, we met Zach, our Best Buy sales associate. He’s never been to New Jersey but revealed that the first thing that comes to mind when asked about our fair state is the basketball team. He was a NJ Nets fan because of Vince Carter and knew all about the recent move of the Nets to Brooklyn. He also made us smile when he told us he would NOT mention Jersey Shore in answer to our question. Good man!

Best Buy salesman and NJ Nets fan Zach

Theme of the Day: The buck stops in Independence, MO

Up Next: St. Louis, MO

Day 38: Monday, October 22 – Flying W Ranch to Overland Park, KS

  • Up early to try to view some prairie chickens — we tried but we don’t think we saw one although we did flush out a bird that looked kind of like a duck?? But no water in sight??  Is it a prairie chicken?  Yes, we think so.

Sunrise

Sunrise 2

Glenda (splenda) in the grass.

Hags on Nags

  • Next up – Tall Grass Prairie National Preserve with 3–really–stamps.  The prairie (french word for meadow) used to cover 170 million acres of North America, today less than 4% remains.  It is basically 3 types of grass rolling out over hills.  Because of the drought here the grass didn’t reach its usual height potential so it was easier to hike through and see where we were going.

Schoolhouse on the prairie

prairie

prairie

Glenda as a junior ranger

  • Still on our way to Overland Park, KS.  Next stop Topeka for a visit to the Brown v. Board of Ed National Historic Site.  We landed in Topeka but we were hungry!!  Shout out to Papp for the Diners, Drive-ins and Dives book for directing us to Bobos Drive-in.  Yummy.  A vintage drive-in for the burgers and onion rings.

Bobos

Said our server

food art photo

At Monroe Elementary School now home of the Brown v Board of Ed National Historic Site

  • We arrived in Overland Park, KS to the home of Glenda’s friends Bob and Nema and dog Cooper.  They have a beautiful house and welcomed us, our bedraggled selves and overloaded car, warmly.  Fabulous dinner on the patio in 80 degree Kansas October weather?  We go to our separate but equal bedrooms. Ahhhh 🙂

Glenda, Nema, Sue

Cooper: Dog of the month at Pete and Mac’s Dog Hotel

Chocolates for dessert

Jersey Junction

Nothing really strong today–a mention or 2 in the Brown v. Board museum about Newark’s several African American Mayors since the civil rights movement. Nema and Bob have both been to NJ many times.  Nema has decided that the Princeton U campus is the prettiest campus she has ever seen.  Nema, a Texan who knows her way around a sweet potato pie, recalls over 20 years ago she bought the best sweet potato pie she has ever tasted from some guy in the Trenton train station. She still remembers it.  So there!!

Theme of the Day: From the mountains, to the prairies….

Up next: Overland Park, KS

Day 37: Sunday, October 21 – Dodge City, KS to Flying W Ranch in Clements, KS

  • We are on our photo game today – lots of photo opps. Enjoy! En route from Dodge to the Flying W we followed the Santa Fe Trail and arrived at THE MIDDLE. Kinsley, KS – halfway between San Francisco and New York City. 

The Middle

Santa Fe Trail marker

On the trail

  • We stopped at a National Historic Site (yes, another stamportunity) – Fort Larned in Larned, KS. This was a military fort, protecting the frontier and trade routes. Glenda and Sue were really into the whole history here during the mid-1800’s. Shout out to cousin Bob Allison – U.S. History Professor – we have questions!

Sue with metal man on a horse

Fort Larned housing

Carpentry shop

Sue, from Frank’s perspective

  • On the road, we saw field after field of crops we didn’t recognize along with grain elevators we don’t understand. Shout out to Mary and Roger Blanken or anyone with farm/western knowledge – please explain. We also saw unfamiliar equipment and structures.

Storage thingies

What is it?

Help! WTF

Glenda with unidentified crop

  •  We finally turned off Route 50 to Road G, our road to the Flying W Ranch. We are staying in one of two bunkhouses on this 7000 acre working ranch and guest lodge. The other bunkhouse is occupied by 9 Minnesota farmer women who brought their own horses to ride the trails and experience ranch life for a week. They call themselves “Hags on Nags”. Perfect! We will get along fine. (Sheron and Margie H – other than the major differences, the hags remind us of you and your girls. All good.) The ranch is rustic but charming and loaded with amenities and great country views. We took a short hike uphill and got back in time for a horse-drawn carriage ride. The hags joined us. Here are our pictures at the Flying W:

The Flying W!

Goats on the ranch

Glenda on the bunkhouse front porch

Sue hiking the prairie

Glenda lovin’ the prairie

Hag on a nag

Glenda, Possum, Josh and Sue

Some of the hags

Sunset on the prairie

  • Our hosts, Josh and Gwen, couldn’t be nicer. Josh cooked us a great steak and potatoes meal, brought to our bunkhouse.  Shout out to Bob Mallow who set us up at the Flying W and more to come. Yay, Bob!
Jersey Junction

Fort Larned – we checked out the 1870 Census to find 2 NJ-born residents. Alfred Woodhall, post surgeon (we assume a Princeton grad – or UMDNJ?) and Patrick Kelley, a Private with Company K in the army. Long ago Jersey people.

We asked the hags if they’d ever been to New Jersey and 3 of the 7 in our carriage had been!

Theme of the Day: Farmers and cowboys are friends

Up Next: Overland Park, KS

Day 36: Saturday, October 20 – Manitou Springs, CO to Dodge City, KS

  • We are heading to the plains and the “wild west” town of Dodge City, KS-via Route 50-we are avoiding the big interstate Route 70.  Along Route 50 we learn of a National Historic Site near La Junta, CO called Old Bent’s Fort.  It was a trading post on the Santa Fe Trail for fur traders, Indians, explorers and visitors-the gateway to trading in the west.  It is on the Arkansas River and sits near what used to be the border with Mexico.

At Old Bent’s Fort

 

  • That was a fun and informative stop – and Glenda met another Glenda in the gift shop.  Wow!!!  Back on the road we notice the flat, open land we expected.  No more Rocky Mountains or any mountains-in fact there’s hardly a hill at all.  We found a few more sites en route.  The DAR installed 12 statues of pioneer women all across the country from Bethesda MD to Upland CA and we found one in Lamar CO.  This one is the Madonna of the Trail.  We also passes through Holcomb, KS site of the Truman Capote “In Cold Blood” murders.

Madonna of the Trail

Road view

  • Now in KS we see a lot of feed lots–full of cows packed in at the troughs.  Roll down the window and breathe deep.  Take a good whiff of manure of a million cows.  Ugh.  Reminds us of Jersey on the turnpike.  P.U.

  • Dodge City is a pretty tired town with not much happening for tourists especially.  The fake western museum/town was closed when we arrived so we walked around town and shopped a little in the primarily Mexican downtown.  Dinner at a local Mexican joint.  Pretty good!!

Boots

 

Jersey Junction

No people junction today, but outside of La Junta, CO (which means the junction) at Old Bent’s Fort, we learn that Colt revolvers were traded regularly at the fort and were manufactured in…yes…Paterson, NJ.

 

Theme of the Day: It’s Mexican Day (our book on tape is also set in Mexico)

Up next: The Flying W Ranch Strong City, KS

Day 35: Friday, October 19 – Hotchkiss, CO to Manitou Springs, CO

  • Happy birthday, Frank!!!
  • We said goodbye to the gang at Dan’s house. They had just finished harvesting the potato crop.

Goin’ fishing!

Potatoes

Potatoes and trout for dinner sound good to us!

  • On the road, we thought, to Pueblo. We drove on Route 50 through the Monarch Pass (elevation 11,300+). We think this is the highest we’ve been. It was dicey.

Sue at the pass

Naked Aspens

Mountain view from the road

Roadside attraction – world’s biggest rocker

  • Drove through Canon City, home to 4 maximum security prisons, housing a couple of notorious criminals including: Ted Kaczynski, Oklahoma bomber Terry Nichols, the shoe-bomber and more.

Unabomber home

  • Driving along, Glenda found a different possible destination in our book – Manitou Springs, CO. So here we are. Our motel/cabin is vintage quirky 1950’s. A couple of sketchy motel-mates are a cabin or two away from us.

Reception

  • Manitou Springs has several springs, like Saratoga, and it turns out the town is a cute, western, friendly, funky town with a good vibe. We like it.

Sue at the well

Jersey Junction

A new couple checked into the B&B last night and we talked to them at breakfast. Sue was surrounded by Bell Heads! Our couple both worked for the Bell System in the past and spent a few of those Bell years in Homdel, Matawan, and Freehold. They are from Nebraska and the land of wide open spaces. They thought NJ was a little too crowded for them.

Theme of the Day: Leaving the mountains behind…

Next Up: Dodge City, KS

 

Day 34: Thursday, October 18 – Hotchkiss, CO

  • OK, so another trip for Calamity Jane (aka Glenda) to the local clinic.  This time, a slip and fall and a possible sprain/break of the wrist.  Although the doctor was named something else, we harken back to Jackson and Dr. Blue.  So since all docs out here are colors, we refer to this one as Dr. Yellow.  Dr. Yellow took an x-ray, wasn’t sure if it was broken or sprained, but gave her a splint and icing and Advil instructions.

A visit to Dr. Yellow

  • But Glenda can still walk and trooper that she is, she was ready for a hike.  We had breakfast and watched as people came to pick the grapes at the B & B vineyard.

Grapes!!

The vines

Jessica and Emily, the pickers

Action shot

  • We drove to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison in Gunnison National Park.  A stamp!!!!  And a hike to a view at the edge of the rim.

Black Canyon

  • Later we stopped by Glenda’s friend Dan’s house here in Hotchkiss where her other friends Chuck and Inken were visiting for a fishing weekend.  A beautiful, contemporary, NY architect designed-house sitting on 200 acres with the Gunnison River running through it.  Sue tried her hand at fishing with no success but Chuck reeled in a big one!!

Dan’s House

Inken and Glenda walking back from fishing

Yay!!

  • We had a raucous dinner party at some guy’s house where he has a brick pizza oven and makes pizza for one group only in a room in his house.  Dan and Eve brought all the snacks, beverages and side dishes and Joe the pizza guy made the pizzas fresh in his oven.  The beverages were flowing and we had a long discussion about shooting guns which Sue desperately wants to do but might be too scared to try.  Joe apparently has many firearms of all kinds to shoot all kinds of things.  Hmmmmmm.

Pizza Party

Glenda, Sue and Dan’s guest Teddy

Jersey Junction

Dan grew up in Red Bank, NJ a full-fledged Jersey Boy!!  His friend Eve, a Phille girl, spent her childhood summers at the Jersey Shore.

Eve and Dan – Jersey People

Theme of the day: Colorado Outdoor Life, Hikin’, Fishin’, Huntin’ (for a doctor)

Up next: Pueblo, CO

Not sure yet how to pronounce this state…Col o rahdo or Col o rado…like Nevada.  Anyone know???