in a perfect world of yancies: August 2012

26 August 2012

Road Trip Stage Five: CO, UT, ID, OR, and Home!

I can't believe we've already been home for a week! Still find myself daydreaming about roadside photo-ops... At least there are some good ones on the rolls from the last stage of our trip:
Rest Stop
Somewhere in Southern Idaho.

On our return journey, we got to Idaho by way of Utah:
Welcome to Utah

Map of these last legs:
Stage Five

At first it seemed cute that the Welcome to Utah rest stop was populated by prairie dogs:
Prairie Dog
But then we discovered that they aren't really afraid of people, so... back in the car!

You probably heard that we did a short detour to take a look at Arches National Park:
Balanced Rock

At Arches National Park

Weird and beautiful, but not the most hospitable weather for hiking:
Drink Lots of Water!
Luckily there's plenty to see from the car :)

A couple of days and a few rest stops later, we made it to Baker City Oregon, where we spent the night at the very cool Geiser Grand Hotel.

Charming old details, good food, friendly staff.
Under the Geiser Grand Ceiling

A nearly perfect last night on the road.
Geiser Grand Ceiling

Decent views from our room too:
Baker City Sunset
Nice find, Emily!

Family Photo, Baker City, OR

And just outside of Baker City is the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center.

Hadn't really thought about it until we started touring some of the Center's interesting exhibit spaces, but the route's a little familiar:
Oregon Trail Map 5 A
Now, it took us about a week, including stops to see friends and family, to make it from Missouri to Oregon. Thought-provoking and humbling to think that over a quarter of a million people spent six months getting there by foot...

Anyway, as I said, some nice exhibits inside:
Sheep It Up

And views outside:
Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

We ran out of time, but apparently if you walk to the bottom of the hill here, you can see ruts from the original trail:
Oregon Trail
There's a wagon parked down there marking the spot (if you want a better view, try the large version of the photo).

We did make time to visit some replica wagons near the parking lot:
Come and Get It!
Come and get it!

Next day, we were home. Nothing like waking up in your own bed:
Home at Last
All in all it was a great trip. We all had a wonderful time, and I'm incredibly grateful that we had the chance to see so much together, and to introduce Franklin to so many great friends and relatives.

22 August 2012

Road Trip Interlude: Life in the Car

And how was it, that twenty-day stretch of travelling? 5,496 miles is a long time in a car; how does one pass the time? Fortunately, Emily did most of the driving. Also fortunately, as a passenger she's great with a camera:
In the Car

Oh, here is a visual image of all of those 5,496 miles, by the way:
Road Trip 2012

One key diversion was the BBC podcast series
A History of the World in 100 Objects.
Fascinating stories about early human history (we only made it to like object 16... but still planning on listening to the rest soon!), and a thoroughly impressive job of weaving larger and often contemporary themes into discussions of insanely old bits of rock and clay.

I mean, one of the first stretches of writing concerned beer rations: need I say more? :)

We were on the road, of course, so haven't had the chance to enjoy all the fancy web extras, but I hear you can see all the objects online: take a look.

Of course, sooner or later people get tired of sitting in a car all day:
Poor Guy
Poor guy.

Nothing could possibly make me happier, however, than to report that in seriously 9 out of 10 cases, reading a book would stop the tears and put a smile on Franklin's face.

Among the many books we read many, many times, our favorites, in no particular order:

¡Fiesta!, by Ginger Foglesong Guy, pictures by René King Moreno:

This might be Franklin's overall favorite. My only worry is that my poor Spanish pronunciation will create problems down the line... ;)

It's pleasant cadences and charming pictures guaranteed that the book we heard the most was Big Red Barn, by Margaret Wise Brown, pictures by Felicia Bond:

And a new hit and keepsake was the copy of Cowboy Small, by Lois Lenski, that we picked up at the Badlands National Park gift shop. Among its many charms is the point when Cowboy Small sings Home on the Range:

A chance for me to belt out a few notes... and, as a bonus, it's the state song of Kansas!

Otherwise, we did out best to enjoy the beautiful scenery, both outside:

And in:
Blue Eyes

21 August 2012

Road Trip Stage Four: MO, KS

Back home now enjoying the temperate climate of Seattle! I've got a paper due (doesn't that sound weird? oh well...) on Friday, but I'll try to post a few more photos from the trip in between paragraphs.

Once we left Indiana, we started making our way back west. Larry and Deb, Emily's aunt & uncle, were terrific hosts.
Debbie, Larry, and Franklin
Great with the baby, and full of trivia on Emily's dad's family :)

They're outside of St. Louis, by the way. Route map of this stretch:
Stage Four

Also saw their son Todd and his kids (their mom was sick, unfortunately, but last we heard she's feeling better):
Todd, Caiden, and Blaike
Caiden and Blaike, beautiful girls.

Todd's sister Angie and her husband Rob came by to make delicious sandwiches:
Rob, Angie, Todd, Franklin, Emily
Thanks again!

And then it was on to the great state of Kansas. Haley and Franklin really hit it off:
Haley and Franklin
I haven't gotten through all of our photos yet, but we may have failed to capture Lonnie and Barbara Lee on film. We won't need any help remembering their wonderful hospitality, however. Thanks, and congrats on the beautiful new house!

Also drove in to Lawrence, which of course meant lunch at Zen Zero:
Zen Zero!
Can't wait until Franklin can try their curry!

Note, he did _try_ to try it the other day... hope that stain comes out of my shirt! :)

Franklin enjoyed meeting Tom:
Tom and Franklin

And seeing the beautiful KU campus:
KU Campanile


I also tried to explain to him just why I love La Prima Tazza's espresso so much:
At La Prima Tazza
Probably have to return when he's old enough to sample it... Likewise the growler of Free State beer we picked up for the road :)

Wonderful to see the town, and especially nice to hang out with Deron and Haley!
Deron, Haley, Franklin

And as you probably know, Franklin cut a dashing figure in his new KU onesie as we approached the Colorado border:
One Last Kansas Sunset
More from our trip back west coming soon!

14 August 2012

Road Trip Stage Three: IA, IL, IN

Saying Goodbye to Gma C
The fun continued as we approached our easternmost point. Great visit (a little busy, but great nonetheless) with Grandma Christine in Illinois.

Speaking of state names, here's a look at our route:
Stage Three

Smiling with Gma
Had fun indoors, and outdoors.

At a pleasantly rainy Moraine Hills State Park:
Moraine Hills State Park
Little touch of home :)

Also enjoyed a couple of nice visits with Franklin's great aunt Dorothy:
Visiting Great Aunt Dorothy

Then we were off south to Indiana. Of course, we had to swing through Franklin, IN. Missed the welcome sign, but this is a pretty good alternate:
Franklin Skate Club

Almost as soon as we arrived at Brown County State Park for the Campbell family reunion, Braxton began his weekend full of hugs for Franklin:
Braxton Really Likes Franklin

Great to see other cousins (and second cousins, and third cousins!) too.
Matthew, Amelia, Franklin, and Braxton.

Evan and Franklin might be too close in age to have much to say to each other for now, but at least they can exchange book recommendations :)
Magen and Evan Making Van Gogh's Bed

And Shelley was nice enough to drive down to Nashville, IN to hang out for a couple of hours.
Emily, Shelley, Emmitt, Oscar, and Isaac
Emily, Shelley, Emmitt, Oscar, and Isaac.

After all the excitement, we were grateful to have the chance to relax a bit at Nana and Papa's place:
Napping on a Walk with Gpa Hughes

Fun with Nana

Family on the Porch

08 August 2012

Road Trip Stage Two: WY, SD, IA, NE

Badlands Camping
You know what? Driving across the country with Franklin and his mom is, well, awesome.

Here's how the second big stage looks on the map:
Stage Two

And here's how the little guy looks in the car:
Driving with Lion
Thanks for that lion, Gina!

Perhaps the most exciting bit so far was the night we spent camping in the Badlands.
BEWARE: Rattlesnakes!
Didn't see any snakes, but we did enjoy some great views.

Badlands Window

Fun shadow photo Emily took of the three of us:
Badlands Shadows

As promised, we saw some amazing stars. And planets. And amazing.

And then the dawn came all rosy-fingered at like 5am... At least it looked pretty good.

But what better company for a sunny morning in a tent?
Family in Tent

Also had so much fun in Omaha with Mike Battershell and his family that we almost forgot to take any pictures. Fortunately, Emily got this great shot of Franklin hanging out with Sammy and his mom Alicia:
Franklin and Sammy
And if you're looking for even more photos, there is, of course, a set on Flickr.

All right reader, we have some fun to have in Illinois. And we will see you in Indiana!