Visiting Family in Connecticut

Little Free Library
Little Free Library

We have arrived at our next significant stop on this Great American Road Trip … North Branford, Connecticut, home of Nina’s cousins Linda and Chris. Our motor home is parked in their driveway and we’re sleeping indoors in one of the bedrooms affectionately named “The Honeymoon Suite”. It’s a nice, warm queen-sized bed and we’re sleeping very well.

Both Linda and Chris work the afternoon shift. However, Linda has had yesterday and today off from work and Chris will have tomorrow and Sunday off from work so we’ll get a lot of time with each of them during our visit. Yesterday we did some shopping and local sightseeing. Today we drove down the coast towards New York followed by a brief visit to Chris at her work.

In addition to visiting and sightseeing, Nina is also copying a whole bunch of family history information. She’s set up in the dining area with the scanner and her computer scanning in pictures and lots of other information. There is quite a treasure trove of information here!

Tomorrow we’ll make our way over to visit with Peter and Maureen. On Monday we hope to get into New York to see Sister Kendra Baker, our granddaughter missionary. Nina visited with her mission president today who gave us permission to spend some time with her on Monday. That should be a fun visit!

Along to way today, I saw a box on a fence at a larger intersection. We stopped to see that it was a “Little Free Library” (see It was worthy of a picture! Quite a few books in the box.

Chris, Nina, and Linda
Chris, Nina, and Linda
Chris works at a call center which does solicitations for various organizations. We stopped in at her work area just before her shift started to say hello and see where she works. She’s a supervisor at the company and was surprised to see us. We had a short but delightful visit.

It is definitely Very Chilly here in Connecticut. However, life is very good!

Sightseeing In and Around Albany … and Ice Cream!

IMG_0002.JPGThis is our last day visiting with Nina’s cousin Priscilla. We’ll leave tomorrow morning to move a little bit further east from the winter storm going on to the west of us. The weather turns back warm this coming weekend. It can’t happen soon enough for me!

We had another laid-back day. A leisurely breakfast, showers, and such. We left about 11:30 am and headed north to meet Priscilla’s daughter for lunch. Then we took a short tour of the Capitol area in Albany then headed way south to an octagonal barn that Nina had seen the last time (a 13-sided barn) when she and her sister Pam were here. Then back near our starting point for ice cream. Nina had a bowl of strawberry ice cream topped with chocolate chips and I had a bowl vanilla ice cream with hot fudge. Very nice. The ice cream shop was definitely “old school” and the picture above is the inside of the shop.

Now we’re watching some TV and relaxing. Later we’ll be getting the motor home ready to roll.

Life continues to be great!

Sightseeing in Albany

IMG_0001.JPGWe’ve had a very laid-back, pleasant day. The weather has been pretty lousy today … lots of rain, windy, very chilly (high of 36 degrees). We had a late breakfast and about noon left the house and did some sightseeing. We visited a museum in Schenectady featuring a lot of General Electric history along with a reasonable planatorium.

After the museum we had lunch / dinner at a deli that Priscilla has eaten at a number of times. The picture with this post is from inside the deli. Chili and cornbread was the special and my choice. We’re back home chatting and paying minimal attention to the TV.

We’re hanging around here one more day. It’s supposed to be cold tomorrow, but no rain or snow in the forecast. Wednesday is forecast to be mostly sunny, a much better day for traveling. Here in Albany it’ll be in the 50’s next Monday. By the way, I’ve been schooled on how to pronounce Albany … It’s kind of like “owl-bany” or “ahhh – l – bany”, close to how we pronounce Albania. I’m still working on that. Haven’t mastered it, yet.

Life is great!

Glenmont, New York! We’ve Arrived at the Next Big Stop

Getting the motor home ready to leave Chardon was a bit of a chore … we had more than nine inches of snow! I had to climb up on the roof to move the snow off so we could close the slideout. The valve for the grey water tank was frozen, so I wasn’t able to dump the tanks before we left. The GPS said 8 hours from Chardon to Nina’s cousin Priscilla in Glenmont, New York. I was hoping to be gone by 10, but it was much closer to 11 before we actually drove away.

The drive was completely uneventful. We drove through a few snow squalls but the roads were for the most part dry and occasionally wet. However, at least half of the drive was in the dark. We decided that we won’t do any more driving at night. We don’t have a hard schedule, so we don’t need to do night-time driving.

We’re parked in Priscilla’s driveway. We’ll be here a couple of days before heading eastward to Connecticut. The weather forecast is for rain / snow / ice over the next couple of days. That’s not particularly exciting….

We went to the Albany First Ward for Sacrament Meeting this morning. A high councilor spoke and the bishop spoke. It was an excellent meeting and both Nina and I were very impressed.

The high councilor spoke about temporal and spiritual self reliance. In the talked he related an experience he had as a Branch President in a meeting with Elder Scott, an apostle. He had asked how he, as a Branch President, can help his branch come closer to the Savior. The answer was very interesting to me: You must know the Savior!

The bishop spoke about gifts of love quoting from a talk given by President Henry Eyring when he was Director of Church Education in a speech given at BYU in 1980. The bishop elaborated President Eyring’s “Theory of Gift Giving and Receiving”. The theory had three key elements: (1) The giver feels what you feel and is touched, (2) the gift is free with no strings, and (3) the giver feels the sacrifice is a bargain. The bishop then challenged the ward to give a gift of love sometime during the coming holiday season.

We’ve spent the rest of the day just visiting. It’s been a nice Sunday.

Life is great!

Becoming Re-Acquainted With Lake Effect Snow!

10310 Thwing Road
10310 Thwing Road

The forecast called for snow on Thursday. The TV said it would snow. And guess what? It definitely snowed!! Between six and ten inches of snow came down in various places on the eastern side of Cleveland. Here in Chardon the snow held off until about 4pm and then it really let loose! Within an hour we had three inches of snow on the ground, traffic was at a standstill, and at least a dozen accidents in and around town. Lake effect snow is forecast on and off tonight and all day tomorrow. We’ll have a break in the weather on Saturday with significant snow forecast on Sunday. We definitely plan to be gone Saturday morning!!

Tuesday was a beautiful day! Nina, her sister Pam, and I took a drive through Ashtabula County and took a tour of covered bridges. There are nineteen of them in the county and we were able to visit eleven of them. We also saw a number of amazing churches, buildings, houses, and visited with a couple of very interesting people. We had a great day!

Our Old House
Our Old House

Along the way we stopped by the house we bought when we moved from Germany to Chardon back in 1976. At that time is was a brand new house built by Jim Kitchen. He put this house up for sale as well as the house he was living in. We bought this one. For our older children, this was where they grew up, went to school, and where Jim left to go on a mission. We moved away and sold the house in 1989. Not much has changed with the house, but the trees have certainly grown! When we lived there the house number was 10330 Thwing Road. Something changed! The house is now numbered 10310 Thwing Road.

Life is great. We’re warm. It’s still snowing.

We’ve Made It to Chardon, Ohio!

Octagon House
Octagon House

We’re at our second major stop on the Roland and Nina Great American Road Trip! We arrived in Chardon late Saturday afternoon, November 8th. We’re in a senior citizen mobile home park that has a few overnight spots for transient vehicles. At the moment we have electricity, water, and sewer. The weather has been very good for this time of the year but around Wednesday or Thursday the weather really takes a turn towards winter. The fellow who runs this mobile home park says that he’ll be shutting off the water sometime on Wednesday afternoon. We’ll tank up in our fresh water tank before he turns it off, dump the grey and black water tanks, and go down to just electricity. That will work just fine for us.

We plan to stay here until Saturday morning when we’ll head eastward towards Albany, New York for the next planned stop with Nina’s cousin. It looks like we’ll park in her driveway for a couple of days! It’ll be another opportunity to fill up with fresh water. Many Interstate rest stops have sewer dump stations so we can empty our tanks there.

We had a nice drive through Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana on our way here. We spent one night in a KOA campground in Rock Island, Illinois, another night in a Jellystone Family Campground near Peoria, Illinois, and a third night in a campground along the Wabash River in Logansport, Indiana.

Along the way we stopped at Carl Sandburg’s birthplace and had a nice couple of hours there. We then went south to Peoria, Illinois and stopped at the Caterpillar Visitors Center. As we were leaving, the right rear tires didn’t sound right and we had a funny noise in the right front so we stopped at a tire store. They were able to fix us up and verify that everything else was working as expected. The Caterpillar stop was fascinating. They make some Very Big Machinery!

We stopped for a bit in Otterbein, Indiana where we had bought our first house way back in 1970 while I was going to Purdue University. The house is still standing and looks a whole lot better than it did when we owned it! They’ve put nice aluminum siding on the house which helped dress it up nicely. We then wandered around West Lafayette and Lafayette for a bit looking for the cemetery where Nina’s father is interred … with no luck. After getting here, Nina’s sister Pam had done some further research in found the right place. Maybe sometime we’ll be back and can go by his grave site.

Yesterday we went to Church in the Chardon Branch for Sacrament Meeting and Sunday School, then drove over to Kirtland to go to Relief Society and Priesthood meeting in Pam’s ward. We saw and visited with a number of people we had known when we lived here some 25 years ago. It doesn’t seem that long ago, but somehow everyone has aged a lot since we saw them last! I’m sure we look exactly the same….

Today we poked around in Amish country, had a great lunch in Middlefield, Indiana, and took a few pictures. The one at the top is among the pictures we took today. The weather was delightful … middle 60’s with a light wind. Tomorrow will be even better, so we’ll do some more sightseeing. Then the weather changes. It’ll be time for indoor stuff on Thursday and Friday for sure. Snow is even in the forecast!

Live is good and we’re having fun!

A Bluebird Day in Nebraska!

Double Nickel Campground
Double Nickel Campground

We drove out of the campground at Pine Bluffs just before 8 am, stopped at City Hall to pay the bill, got on the interstate, and headed into Nebraska. Unlike the day before, today’s weather included crystal clear, blue skies, light winds, and warming temperatures. It was a perfect day for driving across the State of Nebraska.

We stopped in Sidney, Nebraska, the home of Caballa’s , for breakfast and a quick shopping trip to Walmart. One more stop in Lexington, Nebraska for fuel, and the last stop was here at the Double Nickel Campground in Waco, Nebraska located conveniently at exit 360. This is a nice campground under new ownership, and they’re busy remodeling the place. Lots of campsites, all pull-through. The campground closes for the season on November 10th, so there aren’t many people here. I’d definitely stay here again!

We’ll continue treking east tomorrow. Life continues to be very good!

Still in Wyoming … Barely

It sure gets dark early now that daylight saving time has ended. By 5:15 it was pitch black. We stopped at a campground that I called earlier to verify that it was open. Even though it was 5:30, the office was closed. We found a spot and tried the hookups. Electricity works great. Can’t turn on the water, tho. So we’re kind of “dry camping” in Pine Bluffs, Wyoming.

Tomorrow: Iowa. Life is good.