Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Presidio and Muir Woods

We started the day driving through The Presidio, a former army base which has been owned by the National Park Service since 1994. This is a huge section of San Francisco right at the southern end of the Golden Gate Bridge, probably the most valuable property in the area. Word of mouth is that the city of SF is really POed that it was given to the park service and not to the city. For some reason, we think the Park Service will protect the property a little better.

We drove across the Golden Gate Bridge, then to Sausalito, a quaint little town on the water. It absolutely oozes money. As quaint as that town was, we drove straight through and then headed up the mountain to a spot overlooking the bridge along with the entire bay area and city. This spectacular vista was worth the trip.

Going farther north into Muir Woods, we walked through a forest of redwood trees, some of which were 12 feet in diameter. There was a section called Cathedral Grove where they asked for silence so that you could appreciate the majesty of the trees and surroundings. We listened to the trees rustling in the heavy winds, the birds hopping under the fallen tree trunks and even saw two small deer eating within 4 ft of the path.

Next, we will head to Yosemite NP. Can't wait!

Monday, September 28, 2009

San Fran

Yesterday we toured the Calif capitol in Sacramento. Although it's a beautiful building, the only thing that makes it unique is that in the 70's they demolished the entire interior, keeping only the outside shell, and rebuilt it. You would never know that it wasn't built in the late 1890's as most of the others that we have seen.

From Sacramento we drove over and up through the Napa Valley. It is a beautiful drive with rolling hills covered with rows of grapevines. We took a tour at Beringer which is the oldest continuously running winery in the US starting back in the 1850's. It was a fun, interesting tour and we learned a lot about grapes and wine-making. As we were finishing up the tour, one of the employees asked our group if we would want to be part of the filming of the Japanese version of the movie, Sideways. Here we are, movie stars, and nobody will see us. Unless they're into Japanese films! Oh, and by the way, Connie finished off the tour dancing the West Coast Swing with our tour director. She actually held her own!

Today, we rode Bart, the San Francisco rail system, into town. We jumped on a cable car and rode on its back porch down to Fisherman's Wharf where we strolled around, watched the seals and ate sourdough bread and clam chowder. Yum! We rode a streetcar to Ghirardelli chocolate and had some samples, then walked up to Lombard St (and I do mean we WALKED UP to Lombard St) That was a real workout, particularly after walking down and up Lombard itself. It's a good thing we're all perfect physical specimens or we'd be really tired now. I have to wrap this up now, it's 9:30 and I have to go to bed. Tomorrow there's a lot more of this beautiful city to see...the Golden Gate Bridge and the Presidio, plus.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

We vowed to cover a lot of distance yesterday (at least get out of Oregon!) so we left earlier than usual, 9:15. I know a lot of you think that’s late (especially Phyllis Childers) but not the Kincaid/Tatum team. Probably the most memorable part of our day was that it was 46 in the morning at Coos Bay on the Oregon coast and by the time we were 2 or 3 hours into California it was 116. The killer is that we were at a pretty high altitude, too. I can understand it in Death Valley but not where we were. But it was a dry heat!

When we were near Redding, CA, we were able to watch the Blue Angels perform. It was flat in that area so we could see quite a bit of their show. Quite a sight!

We passed thousands of olive trees. The only way we knew they were olive trees (on any other day we would have stopped to check them out but remember the vow that I opened with??) There was a billboard advertising olive tasting at a shop. Yuch! Not an olive fan here. In a muffaletto is the only way to go!

Our vow paid off. We made it to Sacramento. Seeing the capitol today and then on into San Fran.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

There, it's fixed!

We left the Portland, Oregon area yesterday morning and went straight to Walmart because we had some fixin' to do. Apparently, the leftside headlight lens cover came off of the Silver Bullet, so we needed to rig up some sort of cover to protect the halogen bulb from burning out. Mike and I looked "high and low" for anything we thought would work, finally settling on a transparent plastic baking pan lid and some clear packing tape to do the job. Luckily, I had a small pair of scissors in my bag, so we formed the pastic to the headlight module and applied tape as needed. We used some duct tape around the edges to make sure it all held together, but saved enough in case it would be needed later for someone's mouth! All in all, I think we did a pretty decent job (it was still there after a full days travel)!

We went to Salem to continue our efforts to see as many state capitols as possible. The Oregon Capitol was pretty, but not as old as others because it had to be rebuilt in 1938 after burning to the ground.

We then headed west toward the Pacific coast, following the Umpqua River. It was very scenic and saw some elk and red headed ducks along the way. It lead us to Reedsport, where a nice little town festival was taking place for the weekend.

We then proceeded down the coast on US 101 and went by the Oregon Dunes State Park. Many large sand dunes between the hiway and the ocean. It wasn't until we neared Coos Bay that we finally saw the Pacific. Beautiful! Before dinner, we went to Sunset Bay State Park to watch the sunset over the ocean. There we were treated to a symphony by the numerous seals basking on the rocks. Sounded like dogs baying at the moon! This morning, we head south. California, here we come!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The past two days have been busy, busy!

We spent yesterday exploring Vancouver, BC. It's a high density big city. Lots of high rise condos everywhere. The city is busily preparing for the winter olympics with construction going on everywhere. We took a quick drive through Chinatown (typical Chinatown--people scurrying around the storefront markets that were selling anything you could imagine) then on to the downtown area. The waterfront seemed to be the focal point of the city with an almost completed new convention center right next to the present convention center. There were two cruise ships in port, one on each side of an Imax theater that reminded me of the Sydney, Australia Symphony Hall or the Denver airport. Looked like 5 giant sails protruding from the roof. One building had olympic figures newly etched into the windows. We took a walking tour of an historic area of town called Gastown which was so-named for a talkative fellow (No, not Mike T but you're warm!)
After we left the downtown area we went through Stanley Park which is a huge park that must have been set aside from the beginning of Vancouver. It is bounded on 3 sides by water and has old growth evergreen trees that are huge, some 5 or 6 ' in diameter. Someone in Vancouver was very far-sighted in preserving this area. It's beautiful.
We drove back to Seattle and spent another night in the same Country Inn. We intended today to be a driving day, with hopes of covering a lot of territory. We got all the way to Portland, a whopping 175 miles away!! We have excuses! After all, we didn't take this trip just to drive.
We stopped in Olympia to see the Capitol. It was beautiful, of course. Marble everywhere, a huge rotunda, and Tiffany chandeliers all around.
When we got to the Oregon border where Portland is, we decided to drive up into the Columbia River Gorge with the mile wide river on one side and mountains on the other. Waterfalls are prevalent there with one of them being the Multnomah Falls being the 2nd tallest falls in the US. Farther up into the gorge we came upon the Bonneville Dam and Locks. It has fish ladders there for the salmon and other fish to swim up and spawn. It channels the fish through corridors where you can view them through windows. They are very determined! There is also a hatchery there. We watched hundreds of salmon try their best to jump back into the tanks in which they were born. It was a fascinating sight. Even made me want to go get my fishing rod! Might even catch something there.
Tomorrow it's the Oregon coast.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Boeing Tour

We reluctantly checked out of the Country Inn and Suites this morning. This was one of my favorites, very large and comfortable rooms, beautiful lobby, and a hot breakfast buffet. The great thing is that we only paid $52 a night through Hotwire. I asked the desk clerk what it would have been if we had walked in the door. She said around $129.

We are so glad that we toured Boeing today. What a phenomenal place. The buildings alone are worth seeing. Huge, huge, huge. One of them will hold Disneyland and have 12 acres left over for covered parking! One side has 6 huge garage doors, each one of which is almost as big as a football field. And they are all painted with murals. Impressive. We saw them making 747's, 777's and the new 787's. The 787's have a carbon composite skin and totally new technology in the way they are made. They are 20% more fuel efficient at the same speed as the 777. By the way, Boeing is the largest exporter in the US.

After we went to Boeing we had a late lunch at Ivar's Seafood which overlooked one of the waterways. Wonderful food (fresh salmon, etc) and we got to watch the ferry load and unload 3 times during the hour we were there. This ferry took semis, school buses and scads of cars. Very large and very fast. Interestiing to watch.

Staying in Vancouver, BC tonight with plans to tour it tomorrow. Hope to see some of the Olympic 2010 venues.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Downtown Seattle

We started off the day at the Seattle Center and going to the top of the Space Needle. Great views of the city and Mt. Ranier! From there, we took the monorail to downtown and went to the Pike Place Mall. Our first stop there was at the Pike Place Fish Market that is famous for the employees throwing the fish around that are purchased by the customers. Fascinating! They did it over and over and never saw them drop a fish. We then had lunch at the Pike Place Chowder restaurant. Many different kinds of chowder and the ones I tasted were delicious. Since we were all tired, we decided to take a bus trip around Seattle to experience the "flavor" of the area. On our way to the bus stop, we met a lady wearing a Marshall University t-shirt and chatted with her for a few moments. Once on the bus, the driver began talking with us and we found out that his family was from the Raleigh area and he enjoyed going back to NC for NASCAR races. Small world? After the ride, we walked through the Pioneer Square area of Seattle to see some of the old architecture from the 1800s. Many beautiful structures!

As we were going back to our car, we noticed lots of people gathering around the Key Arena and found out that Pearl Jam was performing that night. Wow! What a concert that must have been!

Before heading home, we drove to the Queen Anne section of Seattle to see the city from Kerry Park. That's the area overlooking town with very extravagant older homes (some mansions) and they were simply awe striking.

We stopped in a small local restaurant called the 125th Street Grill and enjoyed dinner, drinks, and Mud Pie while watching the Dolphins lose a heartbreaker to the Colts. Because of the Pacific Time Zone, the game was over at 8:30, so we headed back to the motel to call it a night.

See you tomorrow after we tour the Boeing plant!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

That Tricky Ol' Mt Rainier

After leaving our motel, we headed west across fields and fields of hay. They have giant watering systems because it is so dry on the east side of the Cascade Mountains. We came to a giant gorge with the Columbia River at the base of it. We then drove into the valley and when we came up the other side we saw the unmistakable Mt Rainier in the distance. It was a clear day and being over 14,000' in altitude, it stood well above everything else. We decided to try to get closer so we got off I-90 to drive near it. The closer and closer we got, the harder it was to see. Then when we finally got a view, there were too many clouds around it. (We had been told that it is shrouded in clouds so much that some people say that Mt. Rainier is just a myth!) We decided to give up and head back up to Seattle. Just a few miles up the road, we turned around, looked back, and were rewarded with a magnificent view. The clouds were gone! Unfortunately, Mike K was driving and didn't get to see it. Maybe he'll get to see it on the way south to Portland.
Tomorrow we explore Seattle.

Travel day

Not much went on Saturday as we traveled from Montana to Washington. We did, however, see a black bear on the road from Paradise to St. Regis, MT. It was in a beautiful valley along the Clark Fork River and it was about to eat some apples growing on a roadside tree. It did not seem to want its picture taken, so we let him go and headed down the highway. We will be in Seattle today and will try to update the blog tonight or tomorrow. See you then!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Glacier National Park

We actually got out of the motel early this morning. On our drive toward Glacier Park we were passing continuous wheat fields (they are prolific growers of grain out here!) with the mountains in the background. One thing lead to another, and the next thing we knew, we were all out of the van shooting a video with us singing America the Beautiful in the background. You know..."amber waves of grain and purple mountain majesty". Watch for us on Youtube or maybe even America's Got Talent! (I think I'm going to be sorry I put this part in!)

We drove through Glacier via Going to the Sun Road which cuts through the middle of the park going up, up, and up, twisting and turning as it goes. The scenery was spectacular with rugged mountains complete with glaciers (of course), deep ravines, waterfalls, and pristine rivers and lakes. We walked down to an area of the river with large boulders scattered around and slight rapids. The water was pooling in areas that looked so blue that we thought of the Tidy Bowl man. It was so crystal clear you could see all the rocks on the bottom in what was probably 10 to 15 feet deep. We couldn't convince anyone to dive in because the temperature of the water was approximately 33 degrees. At least it felt like it!
We hiked over a mile out to St Mary Falls. No stairways this time but it was quite rugged terrain and we had to go across lots of rocks and boulders. Beautiful area and so peaceful.
We were disappointed that we did not see any bears but we were thrilled to see Big Horn sheep at Logan's Pass which is the highest point in the park. There were four of them, two of which seemed to be charging at people who were on a path nearby. I suppose they decided that the people weren't really a threat because they turned and went back up the mountain. It was interesting watching them jump and climb on the very steep rocky mountain. I can't figure out how they do it.
I can't emphasize enough how beautiful this area of the country is. Pictures just do not do it justice. You just have to see it!
Tomorrow we head toward Seattle.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Old West Virginia and Cincinnati friends

After a couple fast and furious days in the Yellowstone area, we drove to Bozeman, MT to spend the night. The next day (Wednesday) we went to see a couple friends of ours from our days at Marshall and in Cincinnati. Mike and Rhoda McCormick graciously invited us to stay the evening in their wonderful home in the Montana mountains. I can't begin to tell you how beautiful their home is and the magnificent views that they enjoy from every room in their dream house. When we arrived, they were enjoying the peace and quiet from the deck just outside their living room. We spent an hour or so touring the grounds before we sat on the deck for an afternoon cocktail and appetizers. We then decided to go out for dinner and went to Ted's Montana Grill, a wonderful restaurant owned by Ted Turner. The place was warm and charming and the food was delicious. Most of us had buffalo meatloaf and it was absolutely terrific! After dinner, we went back to their place and marvelled at the clarity of the sky. We could see countless stars, a planet or two, and the most awesome view of the Milky Way you can imagine! We then sat in the living room and laughed (mostly at me) and chatted until midnight before turning in. The next morning, we talked a bit more before leaving for Glacier National Park, which we will begin touring Friday. We went through Helena, toured the capitol, and saw a beautiful old church, the Cathedral of St. Helena. After riding through downtown and the walking mall by Last Gulch Street, we then went to Great Falls. This is a very neat city on the Missouri River that we drove around for an hour or so before heading north toward Glacier NP. Stay with us for more!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Yellowstone and Grand Tetons

We've spent the past two days touring Yellowstone and the Grand Teton National Parks. The north end of Grand Teton is only a few miles outside the south entrance to Yellowstone. They are both so spectacular we are already planning a trip back to stay longer! Right now we are getting the Readers Digest version of just about everything. So much to see, so little time. This is a spectacular country with breathlessly beautiful scenery and we are so thankful to be able to take this trip.
We've seen mountains with glaciers on them fronted by pristine lakes, canyons that take your breath away to look into, geysers (including Old Faithful) spewing water and steam, roads winding between huge boulders that looked like children were playing with them and so much wildlife we couldn't begin to count. We hiked down hundreds of feet (and back up) to see the lower falls of the Yellowstone River. It was exhausting but probably the most memorable part of the past two days. After watching Old Faithful do its thing, we went into Old Faithful Lodge, built in 1904. It is the largest log structure in the US and has a vaulted ceiling that is probably 4 stories high. You can sit on the porch upstairs and watch Old Faithful erupt as much as you want.
The last hour of our time in Yellowstone was filled with wildlife. We came up over a rise, looked out over a huge valley covered with buffalo, some of which were within a foot or two from the road. The contrast of the buffalo to the yellow vegetation was a sight to behold. It was truly awesome. It is rutting season so the males were very interested in the females. What's new!!
We also saw a lot of elk, the males bellowing (or whatever you call that high pitched sound they make) so loudly you could hear them from 1/4 mile. I guess they are calling their women, too!
We've seen many shallow, winding streams and rivers with lots of fly fishermen. The highways in Montana even have fishing access parking lots like other states have rest stops. If you enjoy the outdoors, this is certainly the place to be.
We are exhausted but happy. Staying in Bozeman, Montana tonight with plans to see some old friends tomorrow.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Finally Yellowstone

We left Buffalo, WY for an eventful day. First, as we were climbing the Big Horn mountains, we heard a loud bang and thought we might have blown a tire. After looking around, we discovered that a bag of chips had exploded, probably from a change in altitude. Secondly, we finally got rid of a fly that had been in our van for at least three days (wonder what he thought when he looked around at his new home?). Then, we saw a sign in Greybull, WY that made Connie shudder. You can see it in the photo above. Finally, we spotted a carwash in Cody and tried to turn around to wash some of the mud off our van. The turnaround led us into the Cody Riverside Cemetary and its automatic sprinkler system; thus a free carwash!

We saw lots of beautiful scenery, especially in the Big Horn Mountains and again as we approached Yellowstone. We did not get to see much of the park as we were trying to get to our motel before dark. But we did see many elk and one carefree buffalo walking straight down the middle of the hiway, stopping traffic in both directions. Tomorrow we will begin to explore Yellowstone!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

We woke up to a nasty, rainy, cold (about 50 degrees) day. Glad that it was today and not yesterday when we were visiting Mt Rushmore, Crazy Horse and all the other sights nearby. We headed west toward Yellowstone doing a little side trip to see Devil's Tower, WY. They used it when they filmed Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It was supposedly formed from volcano lava that hardened and the mountain itself eroded away. In all actuality, I think it is a giant petrified tree stump.

We stopped for the night in Buffalo, Wyoming to visit with Richard Kendall, who went to high school with Mike K and Connie T. They hadn't seen each other in many years. It's good to see old friends! Everyone should do it more often.

We'll be heading out to Yellowstone tomorrow. I'm sure we'll take off bright and early. Around 10. Maybe 11.

Friday, September 11, 2009

We started the day going to Mt Rushmore which is about 20 miles from Rapid City. Rapid City itself is very flat but you start up the mountain immediately south of the town. You go up and up until your ears start popping, you make a turn in the road, look up, and there is the most magnificent sight. The granite faces of Washington, Jefferson, T Roosevelt and Lincoln appear perfectly white, with the entry park being a series of archways and flags. Ellsworth Air Force Base was doing a flag retirement ceremony. One of the park rangers (she told us we could call her Rushmore Ranger Rhonda) told us they are creating a 9/11 museum honoring the firefighters who lost their lives. It was a sobering moment.

We then went on to the Crazy Horse Memorial, which is only about 5 miles away. We knew that it wasn't nearly completed but we certainly didn't realize they had only done his face. It was a "Well, I'll be!?" moment. A little disappointing. I guess the pictures we had seen were those of the "model" which is on display in the museum on the grounds. It will be a monumental (get it?) project to finish it and I'm sure it won't be in our lifetime but they are determined and are working fervently on it. It will be 563' high and 641' long whereas Mt Rushmore is about 60' tall although it is very high up. Both are worth seeing. The story behind Crazy Horse Memorial is the most important thing to take home from that one.

We toured the Black Hills and drove on some of the most twisty turny roads I have ever been on since they opened the WV turnpike. I drove all day so I wouldn't get sick. The roads had so many switchbacks and pigtail turns (those are the ones that spiral down under where you had just driven!). There were a lot of tunnels through the stone mountains where only one car could go through. One was only 8'4" wide! When we got to that one we pulled over because people were standing outside of it waiting with their cameras. Lo and behold, a big tour bus came inching its way through. We're not sure but we think he greased it first.

On the wildlife loop we saw herds of buffalo from a distance, one close up, many wild turkeys, lots of deer, some gorgeous prong horn antelopes and some very, very curious donkeys. Connie especially liked those and really got up close and personal with them!

We closed out the day by going back to Mt Rushmore to see it lit up at night. They light it every night but tonight the lights will be on all night in honor of 9/11. Ranger Rhonda told us the Presidents were watching over the country.

Yesterday we started the day with Mike Tatum playing the Beatles' song "When I'm 64" to honor Mike Kincaid's birthday. It was a hoot!

We traveled west from Sioux Falls (yes, I have learned how to spell Sioux). Unfortunately, we forgot to go see the Falls. We've heard we didn't miss much. Along the way we stopped at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD which is a large building covered in corn parts and grains. There are huge murals on the sides of the building which are made of half ears of Indian corn in various colors. The birds especially like the Corn Palace.
The terrain was very flat with corn, soy beans and hay fields as far as you could see. We saw the occasional wind driven generators and even passed a semi pulling a long trailer with one of the blades on it. We estimated the blade to be 80-100' long. It was definitely an "over-sized" load.
After crossing miles and miles of flat land we suddenly came to the Missouri river valley which was 400-500' below us. It was a beautiful vista.
After the valley, it was miles and miles of flat land again. Then all of a sudden, we looked and saw a canyon-like break in the terrain. It was the start of the Badlands. What a contrast! That was the moment when we all knew that we were OUT WEST! We took the Badlands Scenic Byway which is a 31 mile loop running through the Badlands National Park. (By the way, those of us over 61 can get a lifetime pass for $10. This allows entry of everyone in the car. Everyone else pays $15 per entry per car. Wow!) We saw spectacular canyons and mountains in various shades of gray with red strata. It was late afternoon and the shadows were very striking on the jagged terrain. We kept taking pictures at each overlook. Thank goodness for digital cameras. We also saw several colonies of prairie dogs. Fat prairie dogs preparing for winter. That seemed a long way away since the temp was 95 there. It had been 80 the entire day until we took the side trip.
After visiting the famous Wall Drug Store on the way, we arrived at Rapid City, SD for our tours of Mt Rushmore and Crazy Horse. More on that later.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

We toured Minneapolis and St Paul today. Saw the Capitol in St Paul. So far, we’ve seen the capitols in Frankfort, KY, Madison, WI, and St Paul, MN, not to mention the capitol in Indianapolis at night from the highway. They are all strikingly beautiful with lots of granite, marble and murals. We will be teaching a class in Capitols 101 after this trip. Can you say Rotunda?
Geography lesson---The Mississippi is quite narrow and shallow through this area. It joins with the St Croix river south of here to form the Mississippi that we are used to seeing.
We headed west for a rather uneventful afternoon seeing more wind driven generators (these were actually turning!) and a motel where all the rooms offered garages. Can’t imagine why!! Not sure but I think it gets cold up here!
We’ve been stopping at McDonalds to use the free WiFi to get our hotel rooms through Hotwire. Today, a young man came up to us after we had finished up and asked us if we were finding everything we needed. (Where was he when we were trying to spell Souix, Soux, Sioux Falls, SD?? Hotwire does NOT have spell-check.) In our conversation with him, we told him we were heading for Mt Rushmore and he said that he had recently spent his honeymoon there. He told us he especially liked the town of Deadwood. When I asked him if it was a neat, western town, he said in his distinctive Minnesota accent “Well, it’s pretty nice but, ya know, you can polish a turd, but it’s still a turd”. He could tell by our laughter that we had never heard that expression. It’s a good one.
One thing we’ve noticed is that people up here are exceedingly nice and have a lot of personal pride in their towns and property. It shows. Everything is so well cared for, overflowing with flower baskets and planters. Much like Canada.
More tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

We left Chicago near noon on Monday and headed north toward Milwaukee. After an hour, we were getting hungry and since we were all wearing Marshall gear we stopped at a Chik-Fil-A for our free chicken sandwiches. Are we cheap or what? After lunch, we made it to Milwaukee and saw some of the sites, including Marquette University and Miller Park, the home of the Brewers. We then went to Madison where we walked around the state capitol and toured the University of Wisconsin campus. The school is located a few blocks from downtown and is right on a lake. It really was a beautiful campus and town.
Our next stop was the Wisconsin Dells, a town as commercial as Gatlinberg, TN with amusement parks, miniature golf, and water parks. We spent the night there and the next day (Tuesday) we checked out the beautiful Wisconsin River and the bluffs (the Dells).

It was then off to Minneapolis. We elected to drive due west and then follow the Mississippi River up. It was a beautiful drive and we stopped in the town of Red Wing (where the shoes are made) that was very quaint and full of gorgeous flowers, which Mike K. said would be dead tomorrow from the frost. It was then on to the Mall of America, the largest mall in the US. It was and we were worn out after touring and shopping just part of it. Tomorrow we will check out the state capitol and other sites before leaving for South Dakota. See you then!

Monday, September 7, 2009

On Saturday, we left Indianapolis after breakfast and headed north for Chicago. Just past Purdue University on I-65, we noticed some large windmills in a field, so we pulled off of the interstate and found hundreds of these wind turbines extending for miles and miles. Unfortunately, it was an unusually calm day and none of them were operating at the time. But what an impressive sight and hopefully a start on supplementing our dependency on oil.
We reached Chicago in early afternoon and the traffic was absolutely horrible. Thank God we don't live in a big city! We checked into the Westin, which was very luxurious, but everything seemed to be a la carte. There are extra charges for everything; parking, internet access, even local and 800 phone calls. Seems a bit odd for such an nice, expensive hotel.
After lunch, we took the train toward downtown, but stopped in Wicker Park to meet the Kincaids' younger son, Wes. He showed us around his place and then took us downtown to the Chicago Jazz Fest and fireworks. At one time while walking along Michigan Avenue, Wes looked around and the 4 of us were just piddling around in the crowd behind him. He threatened to go get one of those retractable dog tethers for us if we didn't keep up. We stopped at Bennigan's for dinner and Wes thought Sheryl was trying to fix him up with one of the "cute" waitresses (much to his chagrin). We really had fun walking around Chicago, but were extremely tired when we got home around midnight.
Was glad to see on ESPN that the Herd beat Southern Illinois 31-28. GO HERD!
Sunday morning we took the CTA to pick up our travel guide, Wes, and before heading downtown, took turns riding his Yamaha scooter. It was fun and Mike even talked about getting one for local trips around Leland. We'll see! We then had lunch at a small sidewalk sandwich shop near Wes' apartment. It had the most extensive, diverse sandwich menu that I have ever seen. Connie and I ordered a turkey meatloaf sandwich, as did Wes. When our food arrived, our sandwich had a piece of meatloaf over an inch thick, but Wes' was made up of what looked like small crumbs. After we all laughed about it for a few minutes, he told our waiter, and received a much larger portion which pleased him very much.
The remainder of the day was spent touring downtown Chicago and the Navy Pier area. By the time we went to dinner, Wes admitted to us that we were wearing him out, both physically and mentally. He said it was like babysitting four kids. Imagine that!

Friday, September 4, 2009

We left Tennessee this morning about 9:00 and headed north into Kentucky. We took a few back roads to really get a feel for the countryside and went thru Danville and Harrodsburg on our way to the state capitol in Frankfort. Danville was a really neat little town and the home of Centre College. It had a very quaint downtown, lots of flowers and ambiance, and a magnificent historical town square. In Harrodsburg, we went to the Beaumont Inn, a famous inn and restaurant from the 1800s. We finally got to the capitol building after almost completely circling it and found it to be very impressive (as you will see in the picture). It was very ornate and filled with many statues and other historical artifacts.

We then set out for Louisville and went to the Louisville Slugger factory downtown. It was extremely impressive and not only included the bat making portion of the factory, but also a baseball museum, theater, giftshop, etc. We had a great time reliving many moments from our past when each of us individually were World Series heros in our minds!

We are currently just north of Indianapolis and heading for Chicago tomorrow. We'll talk later!