Monday, August 2, 2010

Day15 – Church with the kids

Phil and Carly are attending a church at Bentonville. Praise the Lord. Answered prayer. They appear to be happy there. Hopefully they will be absorbed and become a part of the family.

The service was good. The pastor was good and made some interesting points about leadership and the ease that sin can affect it. The text came from Samson and Delilah.

Just an interesting observation. This church spent some money quieting the auditorium. I did not hear a page turn, a chair move, or even an occasional cough or sneeze. Sound good? But I also did not hear the occasional amen, or hallelujah, or laughter at a joke. It reminded me of teaching. When I taught a very small class, the class was very quiet. But, the jokes did not go over very well, the question and answer sessions did not extend the lesson, the class just didn't run as smoothly. I had always attributed this to the smallness of the class. But, I think now it is the noise factor.

Lectures and sermons feed off the response of the audience. The occasional "Amen" encourages others to be more involved. Laughter is infectious and causes others to laugh. I think that the noise factor actually encourages the audience to listen more intently, just to see what they are actually missing. If the sound deadening in the room is so well done, the laughter is not there, the "amens" are not evident, and the quietness allows our minds to drift off subject. There needs to be a balance between noise and quietness, but I personally did not like "not hearing" those Bible pages turning.

Arkansas is hot. So, the kids put on their suits and filled the pools. That gave Grandpa a chance to man the hose. I am a deadly shot. Heh, heh, heh…

We had deep fried fish for supper, cooked in one of those outdoor turkey fryers. No sweat, except for the thunderstorm that suddenly materialized over the back yard. We finished inside while discussing the size of the fireball above the fryer when a sudden downpour dumped on the hot grease.

After everything was said and done, all I could say was, "It was a great day." Thank you Lord.

Day14 – 11 hours to Arkansas

Well, typically, we don't travel for 11 hours straight. We got up on Saturday morning to leave. Now, I normally have my phone set to go off at 4:30 am so we can get up and leave for Men's Prayer Breakfast. It was still set, so we awoke early. I think it was still dark when we packed the vehicle. What took so long, I don't know, but we finally got off at 7 am. Good old Tim Horton's provided a cup of needed java and something sweet to pump up the bod.

The trip was basically non-eventful. We just traveled as fast as possible. It was hot and I didn't think the AC was working as efficiently as it should have. Con sent her son her first text as we approached the center of Missouri. I have patience. I have patience. I have patience.

We arrived 12 hours after leaving Tipp. The kids were just about to go to bed, so we were able to give kisses and hugs and read them a bed time story before retiring. It was great.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Day13 – Beeline to Bethel

There is actually a joke there. Bethel school district, which is my previous employment, has a mascot of the Bethel Bees.

Decision time. We have been on the bike for over 2500 miles. The behind is a little sore. The rides are getting hotter. We want to get to Arkansas without any problems. I have seen forecasts that suggest rain. So, we have decided to pick up the Jeep and continue our trip.

So, we are making a beeline to Bethel. At the Tipp City house, we have a garden. It has not been seen for 13 days. I had asked a couple of friends to take as needed. Well, they did not. So, we had about 14 ears of corn that needed to be cooked and eaten. We ended up giving them away.

The Jeep had a squeak when we last drove it. I thought it might be a wheel bearing. The problem was how do I fix it on Friday night or Saturday morning. Enter the Lord. We tried to make it squeak. It would not. Apparently, the Lord did not want to stop us from leaving for Arkansas.

We stayed at the Tipp house and planned to leave the next morning.

Day12 – Through the Finger Lakes on US 20

The first place we passed of any note was the place we were going to stop for the night. We did not stop there, because it was so late, but we had called. The place is called The Brae Locke Inn. When I called to see if they had room, they did. We could get a king size bed with a fireplace for only $199. Since the temperature outside was hovering around 90, I did not think we needed the fireplace. Their only room cheaper was the double bed without the fireplace, but they did not have a laundry. When we drove by we found out why the price. It was a beautiful cabin resort type inn overlooking the lake. I did not regret the decision to not stay there..

We stopped in Auburn. It has a beautiful lake, Owasco, where we took a few pictures. Again, you will have to wait until I retrieve the camera to see them. Take my word for it, they are beautiful.

While we were walking out on a long pier to take a picture of the town, we were looking down into the water. It was very clear. Con asked if there were any fish in the Lake. I kidded with her and said of course not. Then she remarked, "then, what is that?" It had to be about 15 lbs, about 30" long and dark, not a catfish, some kind of preditor. I only wished I had my rod and reel right then. Of course, you can't fish from the pier, but it was huge.

We saw each Finger Lake from the end. When we got to Canadagua Lake, we went back to the place where we had eaten a couple of years ago. We found the place, but the other restaurants had failed and were closed up. It was actually sad. Kind of a statement of times gone by.

We did find a new little lunch restaurant and ice cream parlor. It was pretty cool and the prices reflected the obvious clientel that were not in our league. $25 for a salad and two cups of soup is a little steep.

OK, we did not do so well with the price of lunch, but you would be proud of Con for the room we got that night in Penn. The first place we stopped; it was a new Holiday Express, they wanted $150 for a single. And they had only one left. Next door, literally only 5 feet, there was a Super8. It was a little grimey. And there was a bar directly in front. Con asked to see a room. We have not seen a motel room from the 30's but I think this was built then. The room could not have been bigger than 8x8. The bathroom sink was at the end of the bed, so if I wanted to cool my feet in water while sleeping, it could be done. We did not stay.

At the next exit was a TravelLodge. It was going to cost us $99 for the night. So, I asked if they gave any discounts. When he asked what did we qualify for, I said, AAA and military. Suddenly, it only cost $55. Not bad.

If you have been following this blog, you know we can tell the great places to eat, by the number of cars in the parking lot. Since we didn't want to go anywhere we ate there. Let's see. We were the first in the restaurant, there was only a waitress who did the cooking and she didn't know we were there for the first 5 minutes. But, I ordered the Steak and Cheeze hoagie as I wanted it and loved the meal. Well, we lucked out.

Day 11 – Gotta make mid-NY

Off to VT and points beyond.

If you have never taken 101 out of Manchester and across NH, you need to experience it. Nice windy roads that climb into the Green Hills and White mountains. It was a great ride. At the top is Hogback Mountain Pass. Of course, there is a look-out. We stopped and I got at least one shot. The weather was very hazy and I doubt the scenery is very good. Actually, I left the camera on the bike, so you are not going to see anything for at least a week.

We took the back roads around Sarotoga Falls. This time I left MAPI in the map mode and just drove as I thought it would work. Now we were traveling on Route 20. Did I mention that US Rt 20 goes from west to east coasts. The road is nice, wide, yet only 2 lane.

We had traveled a number of miles. We are beyond the big cities, but the projected spot we were trying to make was still a long way off. It is hot, very hot. With a protective motorcycle coat on, it is actually very warm. Not to complain, but the rider behind me was starting to get a little cranky. So, we stopped to literally use the air conditioning in a convenience store/gas station. The destination was still a long way. We needed to get some miles under our wheels. So, I suggested the unthinkable; we take the NY turnpike.

You should have seen the look. But, it had understanding behind it. So, onto the freeway we went. It really wasn't too bad. No slowing down, so we were not so hot. The miles just started melting away.

One thing happened for which we don't usually prepare. As we passed some construction workers laying down another layer of asphalt, I felt my right eye burning. Trying to blink it clean, did not help. You can't just get out a hanky and wipe your eyes and I was getting blinder as we drove. Finally, I just could not see through the right eye and told Con, "I have to stop."

Not to scare you, but I was scared. Stopped on the breakdown lane on a freeway with big trucks passing you at 65 mph is not my greatest desire. After I wiped my eye with a Dunkin' Donuts napkin, everything was OK. The only thing I can think that happened, is that a drop of the tar actually made its way in the air stream past my windshield, under my face mask, behind my glasses and into my eye. Wow, unable to see on a motorcycle at turnpike speeds. THANK YOU LORD.

OK, we made it to Utica before grumpy started complaining about showers and laundry and eating and whatever. We pulled off and drove into a new Holiday Inn Express. The manager was nice. But he also wanted $135 for a single room. And he only had 10 left and they would be gone shortly. And he did not have any laundry facilities. That was the straw… We went across the street to Best Western.

Not new, but the rooms were only $55. She put us up near close by. And there was a laundry! Not bad, huh?

We ate big that night. Wendy's was next door.

Before the lights went out, we got a call. Not normally do we get a call while on a motorcycle trip. Alan called to ask if we were OK. Did we get wet? No, we stopped before any rain. When I saw the news, I realized why he called. Right after we got back from Wendy's, (early evening, around 5pm) it started to rain. The rain was associated with a huge front over all of NY that included numerous thunderstorms and hail and strong winds and lightning and… We had completely missed it. God got us off the bike at the perfect time. THANK YOU JESUS.

We slept well that night.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day10 – Con’s sick.

Yepp. She woke up, did some knitting, walked around the room, and promptly threw up. Well, actually, she asked me for a bag. Do you know how hard it is to find a bag in someone else's home at 6 am while not trying to wake the dog or anyone else for that matter? OK, I found a trash can, but Con wants a bag. Back to the kitchen. Finally, I find the baggie drawer and a new Zip-Lock. That is when I heard the sound. You know, that gurgling, belly emanating, gut-wretching groan. Uh-oh, too late.

Fortunately, she had emptied the wet cloth bag. Well, I tried.

Dawn awoke. I asked for a thermometer. It was 99.8. The Beaulieu's offered to keep us another day and I gratefully accepted. Con slept for another 6 hours.

That night Alan had a driving duty for the teens at the church. Nice idea. The teens go out after VBS and visit and invite the families that came. His group had a great time. We, on the other hand, got to go out for steak. Oh, the sacrifice we make.

Well, Con must be feeling better, because her sliders and mashed potatoes were gone when we left. And the ice cream treat I was eating suddenly disappeared. Tomorrow, we leave for the second time. Well, literally, we would be leaving for the third time. (Metaphorically speaking, that was meant for Michelle.)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day9 – Freeport first then back to Manchester

Well, we had to leave Topsham. But, a visit to Freeport and LL Beans should be productive. When we came on Saturday, the place was smashed. Toooooooo many people for me. Monday morning, before the campers are up, I figured that the gad-zillions of people that are normally there will still be in the tent. Monday morning there were only 3 million there. I know, I counted them all.

We lived in Freeport for a year. We lived there when it was a little town with groceries, pharmacies, general stores, hardware stores, etc. Now, it looks like an outside mall. And our short walk around confirmed that they have been busy adding new buildings with more mall outlets. We finally found the outlet for Beans. I was hoping to pick up a new, but used rod. Con wanted a new pair of jeans. No such luck. Nothing there for either of us.

Before we got on the bike, a lady approached us to ask us for advice. I said that we probably not the best source for information. It seemed she wanted to know what helmet we would advise. I was able to let her know about our Shoei and suggested that an Aria was also a great helmet. In the middle of Freeport….

The trip to Manchester was short and to the point. We were trying to make time, but we didn't want to go the same way. Instead we took a couple of back roads north of Portsmouth. That led us to South Berwick, where we got a lunch at the Johnson's restaurant. Meal was good, but I wasn't expecting French fried shrimp in my shrimp roll. I thought it would be like a mayonnaise dressing on the shrimp. Their cole slaw had a definite garlic flavor. I was a little taken back by that also.

We were hoping to have supper with the Beaulieau's and Phaup's. But when we arrived, Dawn had an emergency, and Alan would not be in until after 9. So, we gave the Phaup's a call. They were overjoyed to see us and immediately asked us over to their house.

We took off for the Phaup's and enjoyed every minute with them. Con stayed back with Bonnie while Dick and I went south to pick up Audry, their daughter. Then we met back at the house. The travel time with Dick was great. He is an avid fly fisherman and we swapped stories for the entire trip. When we got back to the house, Dawn had come over also and stayed for dinner. It could not have been a better evening.

Tomorrow, we leave for Ohio. Actually, we decided to not travel to Maryland. I just didn't like the idea of traveling on the freeways, through big cities from Boston to Washington D.C. It just didn't make me want to go. So, we have decided to go home first.