Monday, May 22, 2017


We have done a lot of driving to get here.  The destination of our travels east was New Hampshire where our older son, Doug, received an Associate in Science Degree in Precision Manufacturing from Nashua Community College. 

Doug retired after 23 years in the US Marine Corps and soon after underwent surgery for colon cancer.  He also has gone through a divorce.  We are so proud of him for completing this degree program.  He did it in spite of these difficult events and he did it all on his own. 

Before the diplomas were distributed Doug, as one of the military veterans graduating, lead the pledge of allegiance.

Here he is receiving his diploma Lucille Jordan, college president.

Before the ceremonies began, he showed us through the lab where he took his training.  Look at all these impressive computer-controlled machines.

During the last semester of training,  all class members built engines, using those tools.  Doug was disappointed I didn't recognize that the shape is like the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek.

Here is Doug with his two daughters, Samantha and Rachal.

Rachal took this picture of John and me, Samantha and Doug.

Then Sami took a picture of Doug, John, Rachal and me.

Doug took us to dinner at the Longhorn Steakhouse to celebrate.

Rachal didn't feel like joining us, but the rest of our group had a good dinner.

The entire drive was worth it to be able to come here and support Doug as he marked this accomplishment.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

White House

You need a ticket to tour the White House and you get those by contacting your local Representative or Senator.  In 1973, when I came to visit John who was attending the F.B.I. National Academy, a training program for local police officers, I got a ticket and was able to go on a White House tour.  John had never been inside the presidential home but we weren't able to take a tour this trip because I forgot how to get a ticket.  I am sure many other people are in the same boat because now there is a White House Visitor Center with lots of very good information about this iconic building. 

There is this model of the White House and it's grounds.

This is Hiawatha's boat, a center piece. First Lady Julia Grant acquired this item at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition.

The center shows lots of pictures of presidential families really living in the White House and discusses the changes and improvements made over the years.

We have been to D.C. twice before and you were able to walk up to the iron fence that surrounds the White House.  It is a real shame that the threats of terrorism since 9/11 and resulted in these barricades keeping the public away from the building.   But it is so sad to see these barriers.

This is the view from the other side of the building.  At least you can see the White House and the grounds.

The crowd standing to get a look at the facility was impressive.

Over the weekend 394 names were added to the Fallen Police Officer Memorial and many police officers from the departments of the officers that had died in the line of duty were there.  These two motorcycle officers from the San Diego Police Department wanted to have a photo with the White House in the background.  They pulled into place then walked over to the people in the crowd shown above and asked them to take a picture with the officer's cell phone.  Cool!

Freedom of the Press

During my time in the School of Journalism  at the University of Colorado, where I got my degree in 1965, I gained a deep appreciation of the First Amendment to our constitution, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Ever since I heard in  2008 about the new museum in Washington, D. C., the Newseum, I have wanted to visit it.  So it was center of our intention the first day there.

The exhibits include front pages from the day's newspapers in all 50 states, the Pulitzer Prize photograph winners, the history of publications of the news over 5 centuries, the role news reporting played in our country's Independence, in the struggle of civil rights and in the fall of the Berlin Wall. 

A section of the Berlin Wall and one of the guard towers from the East German side are on exhibit.  The wall had kept citizens of East Germany from going to the West German side but it couldn't keep  radio, TV and newspaper stories of the better life and the freedom in the west from reaching people on the Communist side.

The sign below expresses the importance of a free press and the hope that journalists will maintain the standard of truth.

I hadn't realized that newspaper editors had been real celebrities during the 1890s.  There were even trading cards with their pictures, like we saw for sports heroes when I was growing upl

Of course, most of us in my generation are aware of the role the Washington Post and reporters Woodward and Bernstein played in the impeachment and resignation of President Richard Nixon.  I had two young children at that time.  I was glued to the TV for the Watergate hearings during those months.

I got a kick out of this poster from that era.

Nothing in the exhibits about attempts to stop the freedom of the press was of interest for a photograph but over the years individuals, courts and partisans have attempted to block that action.  So far, freedom has triumphed in this country, though in most parts of the world the concept is unknown.

This is an old printing press which would only print one side of one piece of paper with each operation.  The news sure spreads a lot faster in this age of the internet!

We both enjoyed the newseum and could have spent more time there.  In fact, the $20 ticket is good for two days.  But by the time we had toured the US Capitol and eaten lunch, we were getting tired and not willing to stay another few hours.  And we had other spots we wanted to visit on our second day in town, so I guess we will just have to come back another time.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

US Capital

We checked into the Cherry Hill RV park in College Park, Maryland, and spent two days exploring Washington, DC.  The park is only 4 miles from a metro train station so we drove there and took the Green Line.

The train wasn't full but there were quite a few riders.  We boarded near the main entrance to the University of Maryland so there were a lot of college-age riders in addition to the tourists. It was too late in the morning for people who work in the District of be aboard.

The is the underground station where we waited for the train.

At both ends of the journey we used escalators like this to reach the street level.

We found another cell phone user to take our picture in front of the U.S. Capitol.

One group of visitors approaching the capitol were all dressed in American flag-inspired jackets.

This white star figure in located in the center of the floor of statuary hall in the capitol.  It is also the center of the congressionally designated District of Columbia.

John took this photo looking up to the dome of the capitol.

A painting featuring George Washington.

Our tour guide, here in the red jacket, was wonderful.  She was so knowledgeable and able to tell members of her group about the statues in the hall that are from their state.  Everyone in a tour group is given headphones.  The guide speaks into a mike on a radio frequency heard only by the people in the group.  It made it so easy to hear her and meant the building wasn't as noisy as when each guide was talking loud enough to be heard to the whole group while also hearing other guides.

These are the people carved into a band below the upper railing in the dome.

This statue represents three women who helped bring about women's suffrage, Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.

During the tour we passed the entrance to the offices of Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

These are just a few of the statues in Statuary Hall.

We had both been in the capitol before but I really enjoyed seeing where so many important decisions have been made over the past 200+ years in our great country. The concept that the Founding Fathers brought into being in this country has truly changed the world and we are so blessed to be able to live here.

Friday, May 12, 2017

What a Trip!

Normally, we drive about 200 miles a day and only travel every 2nd or 3rd day so we can relax and enjoy each location.  Earlier this trip we stayed 5 days in Tulsa and 5 days near St. Louis.  But in the last week we have driven 4 days in a row, covering 797 miles.  We parked in 4 states and crossed part of another.  Whew! 

There wasn't anything on our route through Illinois, Indiana and Ohio we wanted to see.  We will be back in Pennsylvania and Ohio as we return west next month.  We have checked off one item on our bucket list: we spent 2 nights in Hagerstown, Maryland .  We have now slept in 45 of the 49 continental states.  Only 4 more to go--Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Jersey.

Our home is in Colorado and the Continental Divide runs through the middle of the state.  To cross it, you often have to go over a 11,000 foot or higher mountain pass.  We didn't realize there is an Eastern Continental Divide until Wednesday when we crossed the 2,670 foot divide.

When was the last time you saw an operating drive-in theater?  It has been a long time for us.  We spotted this one on our trip across Ohio.

Trail Ridge Road between Grand Lake and Estes Park, Colorado, crosses the Continental Divide in Rocky Mountain National Park.  From the top you can see into 4 states.  There are other places you feel you can see forever, like the Youghiogheny Overlook in a Pennsylvania highway rest stop.  (Does anyone have any idea how to pronounce that word?)

This is another view from the same area.

I think this view was in West Virginia.  Obviously it is early spring here.  Many of the trees hadn't leafed out.

The limestone (?) hills in West Virginia are also great.

We haven't seen dogwood trees for years.  We found this one in our Hagerstown RV park.

Where we spend our winters in Arizona people refer to it as summer camp for geezers. Maybe we now have regressed to childhood. The best option we could find to park in Hagerstown was the Jellystone Park. It really was nice--since school is still in session and we were there mid-week. It must be wonderful for families with children. They had everything from a zip line to laser tag to water parks and mini golf. 

Saturday, May 06, 2017

History Museum

This is what our weather looked like for the first few days we visited St. Louis.  It meant we looked for indoor sites to explore.  One day we walked in one of the malls and we made a couple of visits to stores like Walmart and Target.

Another day we decided to visit the Missouri History Museum.  It is located on the edge of Forest Park, a beautiful wooded area in the city.  We would have loved to walk there but is was too windy and cold.

Forest Park was the location of the 1904 World's Fair, held.  Most of the fair building were removed and the area was kept as open space and park land.  One section of the museum is centered on that fair.  We have never been to a world's fair but if another one is held in this country it might be interesting to check it out.

This display shows what the well-dressed fair-goer wore in 1905.

The fair highlighted peoples and cultures from around the world and recent technological advances.  Manufacturers displayed their labor-saving products like this cream separator and carpet sweeper. 

Above the display was this image of the Bissell company store.

This stunning cut glass punch bowl was made especially for the fair.  It must be very heavy to pick up.

Apparently the Israel display was the most visited of those highlighting areas outside the US.  The Philippine Islands display was also very popular. People who represented those areas and other participants, like those from Alaska, were required to remain in their native dress any time they were on the fair grounds.  That was very tough during the summer months for the Eskimos in the fur-lined clothing.

This photo is a view through a window showing how the land had been cleared to prepare for the fair.  They obviously cut down a lot of trees and even put a section of either a river or canal underground to make space for the fair.

Another gallery in the museum addressed Route 66 through Missouri.  Cars and trucks and trailers traveled along the Mother Road.

This is an interior shot of a very early Airstream trailer.  I'm glad ours is larger and more modern.

I am standing outside that Airstream.

Those travelers needed convenient places to get a meal along the route, leading to fast food restaurants like McDonald's and White Castle.

Travelers who didn't have a trailer needed a place to sleep, bringing about the development of motels--motor hotels.

If you click on the photo below you can get a good view of how prices have increased from 1930 to 2015. It looks like homes have gotten more expensive in comparison to other items.  However, they have also gotten larger.  The price of a gallon of gas has also changed significantly.

We explored one other gallery in the museum, the Civil Rights display on the African American Freedom Struggle in St. Louis. It was very interesting--and very crowded and noisy. Somehow neither of us took any pictures there. It was definitely worth our time to see it.