Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Maryland Hts, MO

I am thinking of you as I watch the news and videos of the flooding in St. Louis.  We moved to St. Louis in 1994, just after the historic flooding of 1993.  Now I understand this flooding may break those records.  I feel so badly for the St. Louis area.  When I saw the flood waters at the intersection of I-44 and 141, I know that area well, and wonder if our old subdivision is under water.  

Thanks for checking in on me now and then.  I no longer have your email address, so please send me an email and give me an update on you and your family!  I would love to hear from you!!  It would make my day!  If you don't have my email in your contact file, you can get it under my profile.  

Wishing you God's blessings in 2016!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

2015 Trip West - Day 7 and beyond...

Day 7:

Thursday morning we left Sparks, Nevada after breakfast at the motel (of course...we were on a budget, after all!!), and getting gas.  We crossed the California state line at 8:15 in the morning, and we knew we had to turn in the rental car by 3 p.m.  This was not going to be a long day at all, but we were still in for some beautiful scenery along Lake Tahoe.  We left I-80 and went south on SR 89, taking us along the west side of Lake Tahoe.  Here are some of the sites, as best captured from the car on a cell phone:

At the south end of Lake Tahoe we headed west on US 50.  We stopped in Pollock Pines for lunch at Taco Bell, and filled the car up with gas one last time.  When we got into Sacramento we got back on  I-80.  We realized we were pushing our time a little, so we did not go by the capital in Sacramento, but Corbin had been there on his other trips.  I think he had also been through Carson City, Nevada, on one of his earlier trips and no doubt went by the capital on that trip.  We did not go into Carson City as it was on the east side of Lake Tahoe.

We headed toward the Bay Area, and arrived at Susan's apartment at 1:30 p.m.  The long road trip was over.  We had come 3,600 miles from Chicago to the Bay Area...and I never drove once.  We finished the last card to the Trivial Pursuit game on this morning.  It had been a great trip...oh my goodness.  I saw so many sites, landscapes, terrains.  Our United States of America has much to behold!  I never thought I would make such a trip as this, and I have my Son to thank for making this possible for me.  Beyond all that we saw and did, it truly was having my Son to myself for almost a whole week that was the biggest blessing.  Mothers understand that.  Between our conversations and the trivia questions, I never had time to take a nap or read a book or look at a normal ways to pass time while riding as a passenger.  

For sure, the Bay Area is an area of bridges.  I was only in the Bay Area for a couple of days, as I flew back to Chicago on Sunday.  Corbin and Susan asked what I wanted to do while I was there.  I said I didn't need to go into San Francisco or across the Golden Gate Bridge, but I would like to see the skyline and the bridge from a distance.  On Saturday we did just that.  It wasn't the clearest of days, but it is possible to see the downtown skyline in the background.

From there we went to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and walked along the beach of the Pacific Ocean!  First time I have ever touched those waters!  We watched the surfers trying to catch a wave...which were few and far between.

After frolicking in the water a bit, we drove through Sausalito, which is a fun looking place...all the houses on the hills, almost stacked on top of each other, and the downtown streets filled with people and shops and eateries and activities.  From there we drove up to San Rafeal, parked the car, and walked around the town a bit.  We walked up to the Mission San Rafael.

Mission San Rafael Arcángel was founded in 1817 as a medical asistencia of Mission San Francisco de Asís. It was a hospital to treat sick Native Americans, making it Alta California's first sanitarium. Wikipedia

Early Sunday morning Corbin took me to Oakland International Airport for my flight back to Chicago.  I had a  non-stop flight that took me into Chicago Midway International Airport.  This was the part of my trip that I would be completely on my own, and I have to honestly say I was a little nervous.  I had not flown in over ten years, so getting through security was a little different, but not difficult.  I was on a full flight and since seats were not assigned, I chose to sit by a mother with a baby since it was a window seat.  I know that flight pressure hurts babies ears, and I expected the baby to cry a lot.  I doubted many passengers would choose to sit there, but I didn't mind.  

Once we landed at Midway, I retrieved my bag at baggage claim and then found my way to the train to take me down town close to Union Station.  I had about a two block walk, so I took a few pictures of Chicago.  

I passed by a very familiar sign to me, reminding me of the trip Paul and I took with Kevin and our granddaughters about three years ago...a Route 66 road trip.  Route 66 starts in Chicago and goes to the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles.  We just took it as far as Albuquerque, where Corbin and Susan lived at that time.  Sometime I hope to take it all the way to Santa Monica.  It's a neat trip!

Union Station is located on the Chicago River.  I thought I would include a video of Chicago just for Corbin and Susan's sake...nostalgia of the town they left behind.

Here I am...headed out to my train that will take me back home to Kalamazoo.  Finally I had transportation that was not crowded, and I had a whole seat to myself to stretch out.  I was tired.  It had been a long 10 days for me.  I had about three hours to rest before getting into the Kalamazoo station.  Friends Chris and Greg were there to pick me up.  Even had a hot air balloon going across the sky at that moment.  And thus ends my 2015 Trip West!

Monday, December 14, 2015

2015 Trip West - Day 6

Day 6:

After our late night on Tuesday, we slept in a little at our Pocatella motel.  We ate breakfast at the motel, gassed up, and were on our way by 8 a.m.  (Sorry for the bugs on our windshield, distracting from the gorgeous view of what was ahead...cleaned it off, and the bugs continued to hitchhike with us.)

Corbin was alert and ready to show me sights in our next state of of his favorite states because of the National Parks in the southern part of the state.  He and Susan have hiked down there and want to go back.  Our drive on this day would just be taking us through the northwest corner, coming south on I-15, and then heading west on I-80.  By the expression on his face, I can tell he is contemplating the answer to a trivia question.  Thus far I had not driven because I kept him talking.  What a great inspiration it was to get the Trivia Pursuit game back in Nebraska!!!  We had been using it the whole way since.

It only took us a couple of hours to arrive in Salt Lake City, the capital of Utah.  Corbin had been here on both of his other trips this summer, and had already seen the Capital Building, but since we were going by it, he drove around it again for me.

As we were coming into the city, I found myself turning my head every which way trying to capture all the sights.  There was just too  much to see!  Above is just one of the sky lines as we drove along.  Since I wanted to see the infamous Salt Lake Temple, located in the middle of the city, Corbin found a parking lot at the corner of Temple Square so we could spend some time walking through the area.
I don't know exactly why, but walking through Temple Square was perhaps the highlight of my trip west!  And I had not even anticipated going there!  The place filled me with wonder, and I felt my spirit was totally open to worshiping God while we were there.  There were some things He was teaching me.  We must always remain open and teachable by God's Holy Spirit, no matter where we are, but in this "holy city" of the Mormon faith, I felt God in a very close way.  Any prejudice I might have carried had no right to be shaping me.  I wanted to see things from God's perspective, and He honored my desire.

Because the Salt Lake Temple was the most sacred of all the buildings, no tours are given, and only members of the Mormon Church are allowed inside.  In one of the visitor centers there is a small scale replica of the temple, cut in half, so you could see what is on the different floors.  I would like to have spent more time with that, but there was a lot of territory to cover, and we only had an hour's time on our meter.  

My first impression of the area was how everything was so pristine!  Whether I was in the buildings or walking the outside paths through beautifully landscaped gardens and past fountains, it was very clean, very organized, very well laid out.  There are 35 acres in and around Temple Square.  From the brochure:  
Guided tours and presentations feature historic sites, interactive exhibits, art displays, 70-mm films, parks, and gardens.  Also featured are the largest genealogy library of its kind in the world and the renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square.  Enjoy all of this in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City.  Tours are available in more than 30 languages at some locations.  All are free.

Also located in one of the Visitor's Center was a small scale model of Jerusalem A.D. 33, before the temple was destroyed.   

 This is the Tabernacle, home of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra.  I could have gone in there, as the public is invited to choir and orchestra rehearsals and broadcasts.  Rehearsals are Thursdays and broadcasts are on Sundays, and we were there on a Wednesday.  

Here is the Assembly Hall, built in 1882 with white spires and stained glass windows.  Free concerts are presented weekly.  I did not enter any of the buildings except the two visitor centers.  Time did not allow, and I think I was in awe of it all.  Definitely calls for a return trip!

 To the left is the Church Office Building, which is the headquarters for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Time did not permit us to go to the 26th floor observation deck.  What a view we could have seen of Salt Lake Valley from up there!  Next trip...

 The Beehive House, built in 1854, was the official residents of Brigham Young, described at the great colonizer of the American West.  Also, following, is the Lion House, another residence of Brigham Young.  These houses are open every day for tours...must go back!

The people of the Temple Square, not the visitors...I guess I will refer to them as the Mormons as I don't know how else to distinguish them, were all dressed very modestly and simple...not for show, but for respect.  They all smiled and were openly friendly.  They seemed very accepting of us visitors, and some of us were not dressed so modestly or respectful.  I was as impressed with the people as I was with the buildings and grounds.  It's hard to explain what I felt in my heart as we walked around, so what I have just written is my best attempt.  By the time we left there, I knew I wanted to make another trip back some day and spend more time.  There is so much to see and learn and do there.

 The Conference Center is a building which seats 21,000 people, has a waterfall cascading down the south side of the building, and has an expansive roof planted with four acres of trees and flowers...just to give you an idea of how large the building is.  It's the building we parked next to when we arrived.  Below is a close up of one of the entrances.  It was the last building we went by on our way back to the vehicle.  We did not see the waterfall or go up on the roof top.  You can understand why I want to make another trip to Salt Lake City and spend more time at Temple Square.

Temple Square is right in the center of Salt Lake City.  They are doing some revitalization of down town, connecting some buildings, a shopping complex (I think), by an elevated enclosed walkway.  

You can also see the State Capital Dome from Temple Square.  The whole city entices me to return some day.  I couldn't say that about most of our journey west.  I was very pleased to see sights and states I had only heard about before, but I am not compelled to want to go back.  However, Salt Lake City affected me differently.  This whole trip west has been more than I could have dreamed of.  What a gift Corbin gave to me!!

Corbin had taken his father to The Park Cafe on their trek across the country, and enjoyed it so much, he wanted to treat me there also.  It was very crowded...a very popular place with all ages.  We were able to get a table out on the veranda.  It's located across from a lake and a park, but I don't remember the names...just seemed like a family place to go.

 I ordered a Club Sandwich.  Look how huge it was...and how pretty!!  It was only $7.75.  Corbin had a breakfast meal like he had last time.  It just beckoned him to have it again!

Time to get moving...we had quite a few miles ahead of us, and most of the rest of the stretch wasn't going to be that interesting...not much to see.  But first we passed by the southern end of the Great Salt Lake.

Corbin wanted to show me an unusual phenomenon at Bonneville Salt Flats.  Believe it or not, this is part of Great Salt Lake.  You can actually walk on the salt, but it's not at all like walking on ice or sand.  It has a totally different feel.  

My husband, the chemical engineer, explains what happens.  As best as I can interpret it, there used to be a huge body of water...10-15 times the size of Great Salt Lake...and the salt got trapped.  The water evaporated, and left behind the salt flats.  To better understand it, you can research it by googling Bonneville Salt Flats.  It could be the 8th wonder of the world.  And to think, I had never heard of this before!  For sure this trip west was broadening my horizons and knowledge!!

Well, we are about to leave Utah behind, heading into Nevada on I-80.  This picture was shot two miles from the state line at Wendover, Utah.  We paid $3.06 for gas at this stop, which was much higher than our other gas stops.  We were in the middle of nowhere, almost!  

We stopped in Elko, Nevada for a restroom break, a McDonald's value cheeseburger, and ice cream treats at the Dairy Queen.  We were on a long stretch, and for sure working through the Trivia Pursuit cards!  Our next stop was in Winnemuca, Nevada, where Corbin got a meal at KFC/Long John Silvers...a little of each.  I was still full from my ice cream sundae.  

We arrived at our last motel of our journey about 9:30 Wednesday night.  This was in Sparks, Nevada...not far from Reno.  Tomorrow we would be arriving at Susan's.  Corbin was starting to get a little more than anxious to see his wife again!!  

The blog continues, but it is winding down.  Inserting the pictures has taken me much longer than I had anticipated, but it's a much more interesting story with the pictures!  

I invite you to check out my blog, "Reflections on Genesis", which can be found in the section at the top right called "My Other Blogs".  It is a 50 chapter blog, one chapter for each chapter of the book of Genesis from the Bible.  But there are pictures to go with each blog to support my reflections.  It is by far the most read of my blogs...readers from all around the world.  I am amazed.  I couldn't get Zondervan to publish my book, but I am published in far away places that a book may have never reached!  Thank you, Jesus!!