More of the Story: St. Louis, Chicago, Madison, Fountain City, Breckenridge, and Beyond–Traveling the U.S.
From August until the beginning of October last summer, Barry and I drove 7,000+ miles across the U.S. If you’ve been reading this blog, you know much of what we did. However, I’ve left out important experiences. Now you can know more of our story.
We saw loved family members, wonderful friends, and beautiful places.
Our first stop was St. Louis to see family. My sister, Trish, and her husband, Chuck, let Johnny, Barry, and me stay with them for over two weeks while we visited everyone and searched for a car.
The visit included celebrating several birthdays.
For the afternoon, John requested his favorite museum: the St. Louis City Museum, a great interactive place created from recycled materials. Check it out when you are in St. Louis: http://www.citymuseum.org/home.asp
Later, John’s celebration with his older cousin’s began.
On another day, music and dancing along St. Charles’ Front Street with family.
Besides having cute kids, our family also has cute dogs.
From St. Louis, we traveled north.
We also visited friends, old and new. We spent a couple of weeks in Chicago, one of my favorite places, first with Jeany in her house with wonderful garden on the north edge of the city, and then with Chris in her magnificent loft near Navy Pier. It’s fantastic to spend time with good friends.
With John and Sam, we experienced a Renaissance Fair in Wisconsin.
Then John flew to Vancouver to see friends and sail. Barry and I went on to Madison, Wisconsin, to visit friends Patty and Tom.
And we couldn’t be in Madison without being involved in a protest.
Next we were off to visit Servas hosts Joan and Jeff in Fountain City, Wisconsin. The town is small, picturesque, and right on the Mississippi River. Our hosts were Joan, a retired doctor now rescues injured raptors and is restoring a meadow and Jeff, a teacher who resisted the Vietnam draft.
The hawk had been hit by a car and can’t fly. Joan trains the hawk, so she can take the him to schools to educate children. Joan and Jeff have built separate muses for their two rescued birds.
Besides getting to learn about the raptors, we got to go kayaking with Joan and Jeff on the Mississippi River! Ever since I first read about Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, I’ve wanted to paddle down the Mississippi. I’m used to an out-rigger canoe, so for every stroke that Joan took and went straight, I took about four and zig-zagged. Mainly we were in the backwaters of the Mississippi, but when we got out into the channel, it felt choppy and much like the ocean can be. The whole experience was great!
I got to help Joan weed the meadow that she is working to return to native flowers.
As is often the case with Servas visits, we met interesting people and got to have interesting experiences.
Next after visiting a few more Servas hosts along the way, we stayed with our long-time friends Pam and Warren in Evergreen, Colorado.
Among other things, Pam is very involved in a no-kill animal shelter.
Of course, we hiked.
Barry and I caught up with other friends.
We stayed with Roy and Fran in Breckenridge; they treated us to yummy vegan food and great hikes. Elevation does make a difference.
Then further west, we met our next Servas family in Grand Junction. Everyone in the family is a scientist, so the house is filled with interesting collections. Felicie, a mom, geologist, and potter, is rewriting with her sister their mom’s 1990 edition of Geology of Utah. Amber just graduated with a degree in entomology; her favorite insect is a velvety ant. Among their many scientific books and magazines, they have a collection of National Geographic magazines dating from the 1940’s! A recent article on the collective society of weaver ants notes at if an ant dies of old age, it hasn’t been doing its job. We send our young people to war; they send their old ladies. Now that’s an idea we should consider.
Our drives through the Rockies were wonderful.
From the natural splendor of mountains and healthy living, our next unreported stop was Las Vegas–to visit family.
We couldn’t be in Las Vegas and not enjoy the show–
We survived buffets and poker, had fun, and then headed back east.
Our next previously unreported stop was to visit friends in Sedona. Kanela was John’s Hawaiian immersion teacher, Tim a writer for The Maui News. They now own Sedona Art Supply: http://sedonaartsupplies.com/. Their two sons are growing.
We stayed there a couple of nights and wondered if, as in A Night in the Museum, the displays would come alive at night. However, the paint brushes remained quiet, and everything seemed in its correct place each morning. Good art pieces and wise sayings decorate the walls.
Then onward to Santa Fe, New Mexico, another stop with a Servas host. We arrived at Ken’s 20-year-old intentional community just as the local Sierra Club was meeting to hear guest speaker Ray Powell, Planning Commissioner, speak.
The group impressed us with their activism and involvement.
Strolling through the local farmers’ market, we found treasures of color and smells.
We took our collections from the market back to Ken’s and had a feast.
Santa Fe also has a vibrant music scene. One night we went to the symphony.
The next night we saw Blues great Buddy Guy.
While we were in Santa Fe, we realized that we needed to get back to Maui soon. However, I still wanted to visit Mike and Erika, my brother and his wife, in Florida, so we zipped through Texas (very, very dry), Louisiana, (cotton growing), Mississippi (a blur), and on to Gainesville, Florida.
Seeing the beginning of fall colors along the way, we headed north. For the first time since he left Morehead University in 1966 to come to UH Manoa, Barry was back in Kentucky.
Although we had seen them in St. Louis, we spent a night during a busy week in Loveland, Ohio, with my nephew Paul and his great family, Wendy, Piper Lynn, and Cole. We had a great feast, and then in the morning after the others had left for school or work, Wendy gave us a tour of Loveland before she needed to get to school.
Then it was on to see our cousin Vanessa and her growing family in Bloomington, Indiana, with its great university and love of basketball.
Ryan, Vanessa, and Carsyn gave us a tour of the campus, where Vanessa works.
We visited Ashlyn at her school.
Similar to her mother, Elaine, Vanessa is a terrific cook. Vanessa shared family recipes. (I plan to pass some on to you in a future blog).
We zipped back through Springfield to see Elaine and Howard again and back to St. Louis where we saw all our family there and visited Elle and Bryce’s school to share some of our experiences in China. Then we were on the plane to Maui where we have many responsibilities and friends.
In our drive across the U.S., we saw beautiful places and met incredible people, but we saw that something must be done about our roads.
Why don’t we have a well-developed train system that would save gas and free our highways? These goods could and should be transported other ways. That was my only complaint.
We hope you too will travel to see family, friends, old and new, and wonderful places.
Bon voyage and Aloha, Renée