Bali and Mainland U.S. – our trip continues

Barry and I had a fantastic and varied trip last year.  It took us time to make it back home.  For about two months, we stayed in green and hot Ubud, Bali.

Bali spiders

Bali spiders – even the insects are colorful

Bali - green and lush

Bali – green and lush

Surprising art

Surprising art

And then flew – via Qatar and Philadelphia – on to St. Louis.

We got there at the beginning of April – in time to see –

The last of the snow in my sister's yard.

The last of the snow in my sister’s yard.

And family:

Front row: Brother Mike and his wife Erika came in from Florida, my sister Trish between Barry and me, and cousin Coleen - on the Missouri River

Front row: Brother Mike and his wife Erika came in from Florida, my sister Trish between Barry and me, and cousin Coleen – on the Missouri River

Niece Jennie, nephew Chris' wife Val, and our youngest family member - Cooper :)

Niece Jennie, nephew Chris’ wife Val, and our youngest family member – Cooper 🙂

Nephew Chris with Quinn

Nephew Chris with Quinn

Near where we ate lunch, on this spring day on Main Street, St. Charles, MO, we saw this bush. Can you see what's there?

Near where we ate lunch, on this spring day on Main Street, St. Charles, MO, we saw this bush. Can you see what’s there?

Lots of snakes - big and little sunning themselves. All beings happily greeted the sun1

Lots of snakes – big and little sunning themselves. All beings happily greeted the sun!

Mike, Erika, Barry, and I drove to Effingham, IL to see our cousin Elaine; she knows much about our family history and always has something for us to learn.  She took us to the grave of our Great-Great Grandpa Benjamin Backensto (the grandpa of my Grandma Ola Edith Riley, who made the terrific pineapple-upside-down cake).

Mike, Erika, & Barry listening to Elaine explain our family history. The land for the church and cemetery were donated by an ancestor.

Mike, Erika, & Barry listening to Elaine explain our family history. The land for the church (in the background) and cemetery — in Loudon Township, near Beecher City, IL — was donated by Great-Great Grandpa Backensto.

Now what had been his land – has many producing oil wells!   If only Great – Great Grandpa Backensto had given the land to us!   But he had many of his own children, so that land didn’t go all that far, and he held it generations ago.  😦

xxx

Near Beecher City, IL – the cemetery where our great-great grandpa is buried

Benjamin Backensto - died Jan. 12, 1873 - age 63 years and 10 months - a notable age for the time

Benjamin Backensto – died Jan. 12, 1873 – age 63 years and 10 months – a notable age for the time when life expectancy in the U.S. was 45!

We also learned about an even earlier ancestor–a controversial one: Mary (Bliss) Parsons, who was charged with being a witch – twice – and survived.

Besides learning of ancestors, we caught up with young members of our family.

Mike and Kegan searching for treasure under the refrigerator

Mike and Keegan searching for treasure under the refrigerator

We had a wonderful visit with our cousin Elaine.

Elaine's wonderful pineapple upside down cake

Elaine’s delicious pineapple upside down cake – the recipe is in an earlier post.

Back near St. Louis, we had lots of family gatherings at my sister’s house.  We did lots of eating,  talking, and laughing.

Trish, Elaine, and Erika

Trish, Elaine, and Erika

Mike and brother-in-law Chuck - solving world problems

Mike and brother-in-law Chuck – solving world problems

Kegan, brother Al, and nephew Jason - in the foreground

Cousin Keegan, brother Al, and nephew Jason – in the foreground.  We saw lots of other family members: Brianna, Lori, Dale, Fred, soon to be family Amy.

More young Rileys :)

More young Rileys 🙂

Outside - lots of turtles

Outside along the Missouri River bank – lots of turtles – on a walk with Trish and Chuck

Lone biker - out on a spring run

Lone biker – out on a spring ride

The geese were there

Geese

Then we headed to the West

Then Barry and I headed West.

We needed to deliver our car

We needed to deliver our car “Russell” to the Seattle docks, and we got one last road trip in this great touring car.

From friends Fran and Roy's deck in Breckenridge, Colorado

From Fran and Roy’s deck in Breckenridge, Colorado

For a day or so in Breckenridge, we thought we were going to be snowed in.  But we were with friends Fran and Roy;  they are good company (and have a fireplace and good food), so we weren’t worried.

Barry staying cozy in Breckenridge

Barry staying cozy in Breckenridge

However, the storm didn’t really hit us.  Instead of huddling inside, we walked beautiful trails through snow covered trees with Fran and Roy and ate wonderful vegan meals and talked and laughed over great dinners.

Then we were on our way to Bountiful, Utah, where we stayed with a lovely Servas family for two days.  We got involved in the annual Bountiful food drive.  Cars, trucks, vans filled with Boy Scouts (sponsored by the Mormans) – and lots of donated food – came to the food bank site in a continuous parade from about 8 – 11:30 a.m.   It was really an impressive event.

Barry and I also wandered around Salt Lake City:

From the Salt Lake City Public Library

From the Salt Lake City Public Library

At the University of Nevada, we got to see the women’s gymnastic championships – awesome.

We saw the PAC - 12 Women's Gymnastic Championships

We saw the PAC – 12 Women’s Gymnastic Championships – the best attended women’s sports event in the U.S.

We always love getting to meet Servas hosts and seeing a glimpse of their lives.  Our Bountiful Servas hosts were great.

Then, if you know Barry, you know he likes to play Texas hold’m poker.  And Reno is between Salt Lake and Seattle.

A magician show with cool dancers

A magician show with cool dancers – Madame Houdini in Reno

I don’t gamble – at all.  I don’t even want to take my chances at the slot machines.  Instead, weird person that I am, I went to a great Pilates studio.

xxx Pilates in Reno

Club Pilates Reno – new facility, great teachers

Lots of food - some of it could be healthy

Lots of food – some of it could be healthy

Barry got his poker fix - and we had fun

Barry got his poker fix – and we had fun

I will leave you here for now.  We had more road ahead of us before making it back home to Maui.

Aloha, Renée

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About reneeriley

Our blog was begun as a way to share our experiences in China. From August 2010 to July 2011, my husband, Barry Kristel, and I were at our University of Hawaii Maui College sister school, Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University in Lin'an, China, a city considered rural because it has only 500,000 people! We had a wonderful time. Then in February 2012, we returned to teach this time at our other sister school, Shanghai Normal University, in a city of over 21 million people. We've made many discoveries. Did you know that now Chinese girls, at least the ones who go to university, for the most part feel they are luckier than the Chinese boys? Did you know that Shanghai saved over 20,000 European Jews during WWII? Do you know how Chinese university students would deal with problems that come up in Dear Abby letters? What's it like to be on the Great Wall of China? Do you know how many Chinese girls had their feet bound and why? And we have recipes from many of the places we've visited. Among others, you can find instructions on how to fry cicadas from one of my ZAFU students and how to make chocolate-Kahlua waffles from my brother Mike in Gainesville. You can also look back to our earliest entry to see what we experienced in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006 during the mainly peaceful six months of protest until the Mexican government sent in the troops. Between our stays in China, Barry and I have been on the Mainland U.S. visiting family, friends and Servas hosts as we traveled home to Maui. We share those experiences too. Welcome to our blog! Aloha and Zài Jiàn, Renée and Barry

7 responses to “Bali and Mainland U.S. – our trip continues”

  1. Geri Sue Kliegman Rapp says :

    Hi – Just curious … in the photo captioned “Barry staying cozy in Breckenridge” is he wearing mittens? (If he was cold, he’d have been better off wearing a hat!!) Good article.

  2. reneeriley says :

    Hi Geri: Actually, he has socks on his hands!! We weren’t really prepared for snow. You are right about the hat, but it wasn’t really that cold inside. I took the photo because I thought it was funny. We had a good time there. Hope all is well with you. Aloha,

  3. Rosita says :

    Wow! That’s great! 😉 I have a holistic, natural way of living: I don’t eat bovine meat neither pork, because I don’t like how it tastes neither animal cruelty, because these animals suffer a lot at the hour of die. I believe that a person who kills intentionally an animal have a bad karma. I would never eat dog or feline meat, but I know that some countries practice it, as Thailand, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, but I believe that can be much more. How sad! 😦 weh, as I said, I don’t eat bovine meat neither pork, only chicken, fishes, rice and fruits (I love a fruit called mangosteen) so, with a very natural way of living, I’m a healthy person. I don’t walk my dogs, they don’t use collars, because local dogs need to be free, and Bali moved now to a local kampung, so, she have more liberty than in an apartment, and I visit she at the weekends 🙂 she’s being more and more beautiful, with a thick white coat, and she know the meaning of freedom, always running and playing with children in the kampung. I sometimes walk she, without collars, and I trained Bali to sit and stay. Obviously, she’s a very smart dog. I think that those walks with Bali are a way of improve healthy – for me and for she. I also make slight exercises all weeks. And you? What you’re doing by your healthy?

    • reneeriley says :

      Hi Rosita: You would like our friends in Breckenridge. They are vegan – and good cooks. Even their healthy dogs – who lived to be quite old – were vegetarian 🙂 . Walking with dogs is good for the animal – and its owner. “The Dog Whisperer,” Cesar Millan, has said that most problems with dogs can be solved by walking your dog (not sending them out to the back yard–which they see as a big cage) for three hours a day! Or you can put them on a treadmill. He says dogs need exercise to be healthy and happy (like us). As for me, I do a lot of outrigger canoe paddling and yoga. I hope you get to walk Bali today. Aloha, Renee

    • reneeriley says :

      Hi Rosita: I’m glad that Bali gets to run free and play with children. She’s a lucky dog. Are you getting to walk with her this weekend?

      As for fruit, I’ve had mangosteen and like them, but we get more mangoes, bananas, and papayas here, which I love.

      Wishing you a great weekend with your dogs — and with lots of mangosteens. Aloha, Renee

  4. Rosita says :

    Oh, thank you! 🙂 but I didn’t walk Bali, because I believe that local dogs need to be free, as I asked. And my methods of dog training are DIFFERENT of Cesar Millan’s methods 😀 they’re most holistic, comprehensive (sometimes I think I was a dog on my past life, because I understand them as I was a dog hahaha) and humane, with NO leashes or any form of torture, as spanking, only sweetness and tolerance, and…fruits! Dogs loves fruits, no? Hahaha I DON’T use dog biscuits NEITHER the click training: only fruits, because I think that it’s more healthy than artificial-flavored products. Of course, I have a DIFFERENT method of dog training, an it’s very good 😀 I’m a feminine version of Cesar Millan’s hahaha and I understand A LOT about dogs comportment and illnesses 😉 so, I have a good comprehension of canine universe. My dogs are the family who I chosen. And do you train your dogs? If yes, how?

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