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Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Just wanted to let everyone know we arrived home safely last night. I will be posting a synopsis of The Trip probably tomorrow so stay tuned.
Lucy and I also want to thank everyone for their comments and support during the past few weeks, so THANKS!
LuDi (name used on the way to Retreat)
DiLu (name used on the way back home)

Lucy and Diane

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Misc photos

Oklahoma City Murrah building memorial

Gettin' down at the Singing' Pig

Vegas, Baby!

Another busy day on the trail. We started with breakfast at a little diner then went to the Grand Canyon. I have always been fascinted with how the Grand Canyon just sort of sneaks up on you. It's a 54 mile drive from Williams to GC and there is nothing in the scenery that even hints that such a spectacular sight is just around the corner. We went to the Mather outcrop, took a few photos, saw the short movie at the visitor center and did some shopping at the bookstore. We didn't stay long since we needed to get on the road.
It was a rather dull drive from Williams to Kingman. Best thing I can say for that section of road is Lucy found a Sonic.
Everything was going well until we were almost to the Hoover Dam area. Then the traffic came to a dead stop. You guessed it - road work! LOL In spite of the delays we made it to the hotel at around 5:30. After checking in, Lucy spent a few hours with her family and I took my great-niece out to dinner.
Tomorrow we will have breakfast with Lucy's son, DIL, and grandson then it's back on the highway. It will be our last day on the road - we will be in Benicia by tomorrow night.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Williams, AZ

This is going to be a short update since I'm not able to get online with my laptop for some unknown reason.
We had an easy drive from Santa Fe and arrived here about 5:00ish local time. After an excellent BBQ dinner at The Singing Pig, we hung out at the restaurant listening to some music. I even got to sing a bit which was great. Now we at back at the B&B where it will soon be lights out. Tomorrow - Grand Canyon.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Day in Santa Fe

Lucy's mom was our gracious Santa Fe tour guide. We went to the cathedral, shopped, had lunch at La Cantina, shopped some more, walked around the plaza, went to a museum, went on a search for churros (found them!), went back to the house for a few hours then out again for dinner at The Shed. Oh, and I shopped a little more.... :) The weather was glorious - a perfect day in Santa Fe.
Tomorrow's destination is Williams, AZ. We plan on making a quick visit to the Grand Canyon on Sunday morning then drive to Las Vegas so I can see my great-niece and Lucy can see The World's Cutest Two-Year-Old, aka Herbie.
Our journey is almost over. Just a few more days on the road then we will be back home in California. It's been a fabulous trip but we're ready to go home.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Do You Know the Way to Santa Fe

OK, the title of this post is a little lame but I'm tired so it's the best I can come up with.... :)

Before leaving Oklahoma City we went to the Murrah Building Memorial. It's very beautiful and very awful at the same time. Seeing all those empty chairs broke my heart......
I took a few photos and will try to post them tomorrow.

The drive from OK to the New Mexico border was pretty boring. Not at all as interesting as the trip through Missouri. Those folks in OK and the Texas pan handle really need to step up their game when it comes to quality roadside attractions......LOL Best thing I saw was a fake buffalo. Lucky Lucy slept most of the way across Texas. It's not her kind of place....bwahahahaha....

While the stretch of New Mexico along I40 didn't offer any roadside amusements, the scenery made up for the lack of quirky signs. I can't come up with a good adjective. Beautiful isn't quite the right word, perhaps striking is better. The landscape is so different - it's a type of desert I'm not used to seeing - large bushes, scrub trees, rolling hills, range lands, isolated ranches, dry stream beds.

We made to Lucy's mom's house in time to have a great supper and watch the sun set. I'm really looking forward to seeing more of Santa Fe tomorrow.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Oklahoma City

List of the roadside attractions Lucy wouldn't let me see:
Jesse James Wax Museum
World's Largest Rocking Chair
Vacuum Cleaner Museum and Factory Store
Midwest Largest Coca Cola Retailer
Meramac Caves
Infant Jesus of Prague National Shrine
Precious Moments Chapel (inspired by Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel)

I'm feeling just a wee bit cheated..... :)

Other "interesting" things seen from the highway:
Fireworks store claiming they had black market fireworks (on a big freeway billboard!)
A bar called Du Kum Inn
An antique mall and/or adult bookstore about every 50 miles
The Kum & Go market

Missouri was weirder than we expected and Oklahoma was prettier than we expected. And other than the obligatory road work, the trip was easy peasy.

On a sad note, we had our very last Culvers meal in Springfield. No more Butter Burgers or turtle sundaes until we come back to Wisconsin next year. We were so inconsolable the great folks at the Springfield Culvers actually gave us a 50% discount. It was a nice way to end our Culvers spree.

Tomorrow - west to Santa Fe, New Mexico!


Photos from St. Louis

St Louis

With Theresa, Sweetie Pie's sister

In the arch

View from inside the Arch

View from the Arch

St Louis Cathedral

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

St Louis

What a lovely lovely city! Stately old homes, tree lined streets, a beautiful museum, trendy shops, bars, restaurants and more. And of course, the Arch.
This morning I went to the St Louis Basilica. I don't have words to truly convey the beauty of this spectacular church. I took some photos which I will post tomorrow night but I'm sure they won't do the church justice. The place is huge. The entire ceiling was covered with brilliant, sparkling mosaics and the altar was just amazing. I wandered around, gazing up at the ceiling until the noon mass.
The hotel was on a street lined with a mix of buildings. Large old homes and apartment buildings are next to new condos and apartments from the 1960's. Some are in good condition, others are a bit shabby but genteel. I loved it.

Sonja picked us up around 1:30 and did an excellent job as tour guide. We had tea at the London Tea Room, went up in the Arch (OMG), had dinner at Sweetie Pie's (soul food restaurant featured on Diners, DriveIns and Dives and on OWN), a starlight tour of St Louis and a visit to Sonja's apartment. We had a fantastic visit but it was way too short.

Tomorrow - Oklahoma City.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Caution - Road Work Next 2200 Miles

We left Appleton late this morning but before we went south we had to go to Simon's Cheese Factory one more time. Picked up some fresh cheese curds, crackers, and another chunk of hand-selected sharp white cheddar. Gotta have food for the road!
Drove miles and miles through rolling farmland dotted with picture-perfect barns, silos and white clapboard homes. It was pretty for a few hours then the landscape changed to a boring sameness. I wish the farmers in the midwest would take pity on us city slickers and put up a sign or two to identify their crops like the farmers do in California.... :)
For lunch we stopped at........Culver's! Bet you were surprised......hahahaha
Of course there were miles of road work to traverse - large orange cones, single lanes, big trucks, crazy drivers, you know ...the usual.
And then it started to rain. Just what we needed... :)
Actually, it wasn't too bad especially when compared with SNOW. Just enough lightning to make things interesting.
Unfortunately it was too dark to see the Mississippi River as we crossed into Missouri but we did get to see the lights of downtown St Louis. The Arch was just spectacular, glinting in the dark. I don't know if we will get to go inside the arch but I will definitely be taking a ton of photos.
Our experience with our hotel was not nearly so pretty. The first three rooms we were assigned were not clean and we were close to leaving. The poor night desk clerk finally found us a clean room and reduced our rate. I will be having a little talk with the manager tomorrow.....
Speaking of tomorrow, Sonja has made us reservations for tea. Really looking forward to seeing her and more of St. Louis.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Club Scrap has once again done an excellent job in giving us a long weekend filled with cool classes, really useful presents (love them all), tasty food and plenty of opportunities to hang with our CS peeps. Last thing on the agenda is the farewell brunch tomorrow morning. Dinah always cries which makes me cry too. It will certainly be a "no mascara day" for me.... :)
Our plans for tomorrow (after brunch) include laundry, packing, another visit to Culver's and dinner at Lombardi's. Lobster for Lucy and Connie but of course, not for me. (I don't eat spineless creatures..... LOL)
Monday morning we will say good-by to Appleton and hit the road for St. Louis.
Hmmmm.....I wonder how many Culver's are between here and Missouri????
We will keep you updated - stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It's Almost Time!

We had a good day in Appleton today. Farley, Lucy and I went to The Mother Ship (Club Scrap headquarters) to pick up our October kits and got to chat with Rita, Tricia, Kay, Jac, Lori and Ron. No one would divulge a single secret, dang it, so we will just have to wait until Retreat officially starts, which is tomorrow. Needless to say, we are all rather giddy and breathless with excitement - you can tell by the increase in the number of exclamation points and happy dance smilies on the CS message board.
After leaving CSHQ we did a WalMart run then stopped in at the Fox River Mall. We just had to go to Pensky's Spices and the tea place next door....just doing our part to stimulate the economy, ya know.
And guess where we had lunch - yep, Culvers!
Tonight we met up with over 30 retreaters for dinner at Lombardi's, the steakhouse located in the hotel. The restaurant crew was great and of course so was the food. It was a perfect way to get the party started.
FYI - I'll try to post every day but no promises. Starting Monday I will definitely be back to daily reports.
Lucy and I really appreciate all of the comments and we are glad people are enjoying our travel blog.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

We Made It!

We arrived in Appleton around 8:30 this evening - yay!
The trip from Council Bluffs was long but we went through some pretty country at least part of the way. Sorry, Nebraska but Iowa is way better when it comes to scenery.... :)
Surprise! We had lunch at Culver's in Clear Lake, Iowa.
And another surprise - much more road repair! LOL
So that's it for now. I'm brain dead and need to wash my hair.

Monday, October 10, 2011

AR wants more photos

These were all taken along the highway between Salt Lake City and Cheyenne.

Council Bluffs, Iowa

We were so glad to have a day of rest in Cheyenne. We did laundry, went to Sonic for diet cherry limeades, did some crafting and caught up with our Words with Friends games. The only downside was not knowing there was a Culver's in Cheyenne! (For the uninitiated - Culver's is a fast food place famous for their butter burgers and frozen custard. We discovered Culver's in WI during a previous CS Retreat) Oh well....we made up for our lapse not just once but twice today. At the Culver's website you can enter your itinerary and get the locations of all the Culver's along your route. This is a very very dangerous but oh so useful thing!
The road to Iowa for the most part was easy peasy. Great weather, hardly any traffic until we got to Omaha and even then it was light by California standards. However, what is up with all the freakin' road work? It seemed like every 30 miles or so there was some sort of project going on which meant we had to abide by the speed limits or risk a double fine ticket.
Saw some interesting things along the way. There was a house built around a large teepee, a giant statue of Jesus, some strange sculpture on an overpass that looked like huge, spiked medieval weapons, and mile after mile after mile of open land. Even though some of it was pretty in a lonely sort of way it's not a place where I would want to live.
Our little motel in Council Bluffs is a total gem. Nice room, free wifi, wall mounted flat screen tv, and when we walked into the lobby they were serving hot dogs and freshly made chocolate chip cookies. Breakfast is served until 10:30 so we don't have to rush in the morning. All this for $55 (AAA rate). Almost makes us want to come back just for the room..... :)
We are really excited about tomorrow - we will be in Appleton by tomorrow night. For us, Retreat will officially begin and we can't wait.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

More Photos

Salt Lake City Temple as seen from the 10th floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building

Snow scenes from today's drive on Hwy 80 between Laramie and Cheyenne

The Great Laramie Blizzard of October 8, 2011

It was just supposed to rain - really, that's what reported. But I'm here to tell you, the weather folks were WRONG! The day started out well, overcast with a sprinkle here and there but nothing to cause concern. We stopped in Rawlins for a late lunch (we had a heck of a time just finding a place to eat!) and to gas up the car. After lunch, Lucy had to make a phone call. I interrupted her and said, I think we need to leave. Right now. It was starting to snow. It continued to snow but it wasn't very cold (about 40) so I hoped it would stay that way and not be a problem.
I was wrong.
The closer we got to Laramie, the colder it got and the more it snowed. Lucy drove with determination and skill and didn't once roll down the window and scream. (I thought that was a real triumph.) We got just north of Laramie when the traffic came to a complete halt. Luckily, we were close enough to Laramie to have cell phone service so I went online to check out road conditions. Yep - the road was closed between Laramie and Cheyenne. The problem was, there was no way to get off the highway and go back to Laramie. Nothing to do but wait and see what happened. It was encouraging to see the snowplow go by so we held out hope of reaching Cheyenne. We sat on the road for about 40 minutes and tried desparately not to think about needing to use the bathroom. Finally we were allowed to drive on. The snow was still falling and the temperature was still dropping, 2 of the 3 lanes were covered in snow but Lucy just followed a semi truck (at 35 mph) and we made it safely to Cheyenne. We felt much better after we consoled ourselves with dinner at Sonic.
Now for the bad news. The road between Cheyenne and Mount Rushmore is closed. No way to get there so we are changing our route. We will be driving across Nebraska and Iowa rather than South Dakota and Minnesota. Oh well. Mount Rushmore isn't going anywhere so someday we will be able to visit. When there is no possibility of snow..... :)
We have a lovely suite and since Lucy was just a wee bit traumatized by her snow encounter we will be hanging out here for a couple of days.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Day in Salt Lake City

Our day started with a breakfast of left-over BBQ and sweet potatoes. It was a little weird to have babyback ribs in the morning but they were sooo good.... After our little meal we loaded up the car and headed for Temple Square.
It was not what we were expected. We both had envisioned buildings situated around an open square, which is not the case. However, the buildings and grounds were beautiful so we took quite a few photos. Some of those will be posted later. We started in the South Gate Visitors Center where we were helped by smiling, eager, squeaky-clean young adults. I was most impressed by all the interactive computer displays. It was interesting to see the temple rooms where only LDSers are allowed to enter. They also had a cool scale model of the temple that was open on two sides so you could see how everything was laid out.
Other buildings we saw were the Tabernacle, the Assembly Hall, the Mormon History Museum and the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. We went to the Family Search Center in the Joseph Smith Bldg. Lucy wanted to find info on a great, great (maybe a third great) grandfather and I was trying to get info on my mom's first husband. I did find one military record but nothing else. I think Lucy was more successful but clearly we have way more work to do.
After our search we had a really nice lunch on the tenth floor. The restaurant had fabulous views of the Temple which meant more photo ops. It was sweet to see all of the brides and I don't think I've ever seen more double strollers in my life! We ended the day at Temple Square in the Museum - the highlight for me was a special exhibit of quilts.
Tomorrow we're back on the road - taking Hwy 80 to Cheyenne, WY.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Some photos

I'm trying my hand at posting photos.

First up, photos taken while driving through Donner Pass.

Me and Guy, at the Gold n Silver Inn in Reno

Important sign at a rest stop about an hour out from Salt Lake City.

Out front of Pebbles

Provo Utah

It was a lovely drive from West Wendover to Salt Lake City but we missed the vista point at Bonneville Salt Flats and there was no way to turn around and go back. So we just drove on. Saw only a bit of The Great Salt Lake but we will be going to SLC tomorrow so we hope to get a better look. The road from SLC to Provo was pretty miserable. What is up with all the road repair? Detours, weird and poorly marked lanes - I was glad Lucy was driving.
Now for the good stuff. We went to Pebbles in My Pocket and bought a few things. Just had to get the SLC Temple paper and found three different shades of Ritzy Glitter on sale. Needless to say, the glitter is now mine. Then it was off to the mall and Archiver's. Met Clare, Ruth Ann's daughter and managed to find more stuff to buy. Hey, we have to do our patriotic duty and help stimulate the economy, right? We tried to leave the mall but the siren call of a See's Candy store was too hard to resist. I was very glad that Lucy bought dark chocolate peppermints and California brittle - I'm a milk chocolate girl so I won't be tempted to eat her candy.
OK, I confess, I bought a couple of pieces of milk chocolate rum nougats.
We ended our outing with a fab dinner at Goodwood BBQ. Yummy yummy baby back ribs (Lucy had the combo plate with ribs and brisket) and sweet potatoes that were so good we got an order to go. We plan to eat the leftovers for breakfast. Really, we are......
I'm going to go ahead and post this installment but hope to figure out how to post pictures.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

West Wendover

In spite of many miles of road repair, we have landed in West Wendover. Our room is nice and Lucy is putting the flat screen TV to the test. There is no chance of me remaining ignorant of current events....:)
We ran into some snow flurries, a little rain but nothing serious. You know how it is...if you carry an umbrella it won't rain and if you go out and buy new chains, it won't snow. I'm not complaining!
Hwy 80 runs through some pretty desolate landscape. It boggles me to see this desert dotted with small clusters of homes out in the middle of nowhere. Just getting to a grocery store or gas station would be a major ordeal, not to mention getting emergency medical care. Those folks must be pioneers at heart.
West Wendover looks like a typical casino town, lots of bright lights, gas stations, fast food places and motels. We won't be staying long.
Tomorrow, Salt Lake City. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

First night - Benicia

I made it to Lucy's house. Lucy is busy sending out swap cards and swearing she will pack "soon"......