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Location: Wake Forest, North Carolina, United States

Thursday, November 29, 2007

On the Road in California #8

On the Road in California # 8
November 8, 2007
Still on I-40, we crossed the Colorado River at Needles. The Colorado River is the boundary between CA and AZ.

We were reminded that in WWII General George Patton trained his desert tank corps in this desert because it was very much like the Sahara Desert in North Africa. Brookman was a pilot friend of mine. His dad was an adjutant for General Patton and he talked many times about the pistols that Patton wore on each hip and of Patton’s bravery.

Scott and his dad built a Folboat kayak from a kit which was purchased from Columbia, SC. We used it on the Colorado River and the Russian River in Northern California and other camping trips. What a marvelous project for a father and son.

We arrived in Placentia (a Spanish word for a pleasant place) to stay with Fred, Carol and Christina Massari. Carol is our daughter.

When we were in San Antonio, Texas, we told you about the Edwards Aquifer. Under Orange County California there is a huge aquifer which supplies much of the water for the county. The water comes from the San Ana River and rainfall. There are layers of huge boulders, smaller rocks and gravel which makes for a natural filter system. Along the coast there is a natural barrier of clay so that the salt water of the ocean does not mix with the fresh water in the aquifer. This Aquifer supplies half the water for the county and the rest comes from the Colorado River and Northern California.
Question…Where does Raleigh get its water? We don’t know. Tell us when we get back.

Placentia is right next to Fullerton where we lived for 38 years so we are very familiar with the area. This is a great area to live because one can be playing in the snow in the mountains only an hour away and/or in the desert in about 45 minutes, and/or playing in the Pacific Ocean only 30 minutes away. We loved doing all of these things. The bustling city is all around with Disney Land, Knott’s Berry Farm, Griffith Observatory and California State Fullerton where Scott got a degree in History.

Our son-in-law, Fred is an electrician for the County of Orange. One of his many jobs is seeing that the communication system for the county is in properly maintained. During the fires about a month ago, he was called to the Loma Ridge Communication Command Center. When he arrived, firemen had encircled the building and were on top of the building to see that the flames, which were licking at it, could not advance. Fred was really in the safest place in Southern California. He did get ash in one eye and had to wear a patch for several days.

Scott was a passionate surfer and we might add a very good surfer. One of his favorite surfing beaches was called Church. He was often in attendance.

Newport Beach was our favorite beach to play.

Find the famous Island off the coast out from Long Beach. There is a camp there called Campus by the Sea sponsored by Intervarsity Christian Fellowship where we all participated for several years. Scott taught the Junior High group one year and Deborah was one of the campers. Bill and I taught the 5th and 6th graders and did crafts. The city on the Island is named Avalon.

More to come……

Love, Gan and GranMary

Friday, November 09, 2007

On the road from NC to CA

Here is a journal of our trip chronicled for the children in NC and any others who may read it.

If you wish to plot our journey, these are the roads we traveled. We left Raleigh on 540 W,,,to 70 W I-40. We stayed on I-40 for two days then at Little Rock AR we took I-30 through Texarkanna. When we got near Dallas we decided to take a back road,,34-S through some small towns. We missed all the heavy traffic in Dallas. This took us to I-35-E going south to Hillsboro

Our first day out was uneventful except for driving in heavy rain which we wish we could have blown on to NC

Day 1 You Dohms probably crossed the western Continental Divide many times while you were in Colorado. But how many of you can locate the eastern Continental Divide? We crossed it the first day.

Each turn through the mountains revealed a more spectacular display of color in the trees even in the rain.

Nashville brought back many memories. We left Alaska so that Bill could get his Masters in School Administration at Peabody which is now Vanderbilt. Scott was just beginning to talk. His first sentence was, Pitch the ball, because of two eight year old Little Leaguers who played with him all the time. Their fathers were students, also.
.A single Mom who lived next door with her son, stole the final exam out of the school office.and was trying to get everyone to come to her house to study the test. Bill refused to go. Praise the Lord. Those who studied the test all made A's. Bill made a B but with a clear conscience. But he does know where the eastern Continental Divide is.
Nashville wanted to be know as the Athens of the Western World so they built an exact replica of the Parthenon which stood in Athens, Greece. Many a day, we took Scott to feed the ducks in the little lake beside the Parthenon. It is a very large marble structure.

Andrew Jackson's home which is called The Hermitage is in Nashville. When was he elected President? He was,also,called Old Hickory. One of his friends was Davy Crockett.

Day 2 We arrived early afternoon at the home of GranMary's cousin, Jan and did a lot of visiting.
Memphis has built a 1 mile long model of the Mississippi River. As you walk along, from the source to the mouth, you see every turn, every city and town, every event in history and every rivulet which flows into it. Can you name two rivers which flow into the Mississippi?

Memphis, Tennessee and Memphis in Egypt are sister cities. Hence, the Egyptian influence on Memphis TN. These Cities are alike in that they both are located on important rivers. Memphis, TN is on the Mississippi, Memphis, Egypt is on what river?

Elvis Presley lived here and Gan and he share the same birthday...January 8. Beyond that there is no resemblance

Crossing the big Mississippi River is always exciting.

The next 100 miles is fertile, Mississippi bottom land filled with huge rice fields, cotton fields and hay fields. There were many cattle to be seen, also.
Bill says that there is a right place to grow rice, to grow cotton, to grow hay and to raise cattle and there is a right place to raise children,,,,,,the Home

Now we are in Texas and this night we are in Hillsboro just north of Waco.

Tomorrow we will be in San Antonio for the Christian Film Festival.and this saga will continue.

We miss all of you very much.
Love, Gan and GranMary

On the Road in Texas # 2

The San Antonio Christian Film Festival was a whirlwind of learning and fun. The most fun was being able to see Peter and Kelly and Triumph, however fleeting the encounters. We said our good-bys and continued our journey on Monday October 29..

The Edwards Aquifer is a natural underground reservoir of water about 650 feet down which supplies San Antonio and Austin and parts of the Hill Country with water. There are huge boulders that have trapped ancient waters. There is an aquifer in Southern California similar to this one. we will tell more about it when we get there.
The Hill Country of Texas is covered with big sheet of Lime Stone. Many of the buildings are made of this lime stone. There is not much farming in this area because the soil is shallow. However, peach trees love it and produce an abundance of several varieties of peaches every year.
Just out side Fredericksburg there is an out-cropping of granite called Enchanted Rock. It is a favorite place to climb, camp and picnic. The Indians believed that this rock had mystical powers, hence the name Enchanted Rock. It covers many acres of land. This same granite hills surface again in Arkansas and is called the Ouachita ( pronounced wa-shi-taw) Mountain Range.
When Bill was in the service in 1943, he had to stand at attention in front of the Alamo for two hours, after which, the order was given for Parade Rest. Do you know what that is? If not ask David Brown to demonstrate. The Alamo is made of lime stone and the ground has been covered with lime stone paving..
From San Antonio we drove north on I-35 to Plano, Texas. We drove past Ft Hood, then Waco. Waco is the home of Dr. Pepper. There is a museum there somewhat like the Coca Cola museum in Atlanta. Waco is the home of Baylor University, a Baptist University.
Just west and little south of Waco, is the ranch of President Bush and Laura Bush in Crawford, TX.
We drove right through Dallas. There are about 10,000,000 people in the Metroplex. Bill lived there when he was 13, the year of the Texas Centennial, 1936. From 1836 to 1846 Texas was a separate country and had her own President.. One of the largest Texas cities is named after him. .His first name is Sam _____________. Sam __________ was 6’ 6”.
The Texas state flag is the only state flag that can fly at the same height as the United States flag. Do you know why?
West of Plano, which is just north of Dallas, the largest field of oil and natural gas was been discovered just recently. It is between Denton and Decatur...Can you name three uses of natural gas?
We had lunch with some very special friends from Mary’s past then spent the night with Bill’s nephew, Jim Peavey and his wife Sandy.
Tuesday we drove to Tulsa.
To be continued by the sojourners in Christ.

On the road in Oklahoma #3
On October 30, we drove to Tulsa, Oklahoma to visit a dear friend, Mary Ann McEndarfer. She and Mary went to High School together and were roommates their first year in college.
The afternoon of Wednesday October 31, we spent with Geoff Botkin’s mother, Halcyon, his sister, Betsy and her two children Meghan and Matthew. What a delightful time we had learning about each other. Mary Ann’s daughter-in-law, Jody and her family go to the same church as the Botkin family. Today is Reformation Day on the hill and we really wished we could have been there. Someday we will hear all about it. We do miss all of you so much.
Now for Okalahoma, the Sooner State
The Red River is the boundary between Texas and Oklahoma. Oklahoma has a population of 3,450,654. That is not as many people as in the Dallas Metroplex.
Oklahoma is populated with many Indian Nations and as we drove north we drove through many of them; the Creek Nation, the Cherokee Nation, the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Kiowa, Pawnee, Osage, Gilcrease, Mohawk and on and on and on. You might be interested in finding out why we have so many Nations within the United States. There were 67 original Tribes and now there are 39 Council Houses. Name the largest Indian Reservation NW of Tulsa. It is more that fifty miles in length.
Oklahoma has 36,000 acres of tall grass and a lot of oil. Our friends have discovered oil 8,000 feet deep on their ranch and will soon begin drilling 14,000 feet where it is believed that there is a huge reservoir of oil.
The only capital if the United States that has an oil well underneath it, is in Oklahoma.
Bill’s favorite hero when he was kid, was Tom Mix an Oklahoma son. Will Rogers, the political satirist in the 1920’s and 1930’s is from Oklahoma, also.
The year that Scott was ten, Carol, 7, and JoAnn, 5, we camped across the US ending on Long Island, New York where Bill worked for the summer with his brother in law, Ken Biedermann. The night we camped in Red Rock Canyon in Oklahoma, a tornado was reported. All the adult campers stayed awake most of the night listening to the radio. Our children went to sleep. About four in the morning the tornado was heading right for us. We could hear the noise but when it got to the canyon it jumped across and did not dip down into the canyon. Every one was safe. Whew!

The Arkansas River from Oklahoma City has been dredged and has become a very busy shipping lane to Houston, Texas. It is similar to the shipping traffic on the Mississippi River. It passes through Pine Bluff, Arkansas where Bill lived once. Can you name three raw materials carried on these two great rivers.

Now we cross the border into Kansas.

On the road in Kansas #4
Wichita was our destination in Kansas. We spent the night with Bill’s nephew, Bob Peavey and his wife Dalene. When Bob and Scott were 12 and 13 they water-skied down the Ouachita (pronounced wa-shi-taw) River from the border of Arkansas and Louisiana for 35 miles to Monroe, Louisiana, where Bill’s brother livedthere at the time. The two fathers were at the helm. The river was full of water moccasins and snapping turtles. They had to pass through several locks on the way down.
We left Wichita going north on I 135 N to I 70 E
Kansas is very flat and windy. There were times when we thought we might be blown off the road. On US 70 we set the cruise control at 75 for miles and miles because there was so little traffic. As far as you can see the land is cultivated with wheat. There were many cattle ranches, also..
It is very fertile farming land and well suited to growing wheat.
This was our longest day. We drove nine hours to Colorado Springs, Colorado.

To be continued…………………………..

On the Road in Colorado. #5

I-24 took us all the way into Colorado Springs, CO to visit Mary’s sister, Frances and her husband , Charlie. ..

Colorado Springs is the home of the US Air Force Academy and Focus on the Family, both of which we visited when we were here in August.
As with all the states, there is a diverse landscape. In Colorado there is the Rocky Mountain Range with heights up to 14.440 feet and as low 3,315 feet. Denver is called the Mile High City. How high is that?

Bill first visited Colorado Springs in 1933 when his dad exchanged pulpits so that each family could have a vacation. Bill and his family lived in Dallas, TX at the time. It is easy to get to the top of Pikes Peak today on a cog railroad or and easy drive but then it was a difficult drive in the old cars. Catherine Lee Bates went up Pikes Peak in a wagon and was inspired to write America the Beautiful. That was in the late 1800’s.
There is a lot of agriculture in Colorado. One summer we bought a gunny sack full of delicious Cantaloupe for $1.00. Scott was about one year old then.

Garden of the God at Colorado Springs is a unique geologic formation. The rock formations are made of sand stone. The very red color is from the iron that is present but there are some formations that are white showing the absence of iron. Of course, at the visitor’s center they say that the area is many millions of years old. When will they ever learn? Mary’s sister, Frances and Charlie can see the Garden of the Gods from their balcony.
There is so much to say about Colorado. There is such a variety of outdoor life and activities. One summer, we went off-roading in the mountains near Telluride.and Ouray, with our daughter, Carol, her husband, Fred. They had motorcycles but we rented a jeep. Never have we seen such breathtaking meadows covered with spectacular wildflowers. We went to abandoned gold mines and road trails so narrow and steep that to turn a corner we had to go forward, then back up a little then go forward a little more and so on. One side of the road was straight down and the other was straight up. The most difficult pass was called Black Bear Pass. Well, so much for reminiscing.

Last night we were having dinner at a restored Train Depot down town Colorado Springs. Trains still pass by. There were at least four while we were eating. These trains carry coal from the strip mines in Wyoming to the electrical power plants in Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo and cities and towns on south into New Mexico. Some of the trains are a mile long and pulled by three or four engines.The coal is pulverized before burning and it creates very little if any pollution. What are other ways do we create electricity?

Find a Colorado quarter to find out when Colorado became a state.

It is getting cold here. This morning it was 29 degrees so it is time to head south and west to California. The next letter will be from New Mexico.
Love, Gan and GranMary

On the road in New Mexico and Arizona #6

We left Colorado Springs November 6 and drove south on I 25.

Raton brought back memories of the summer that I spent with my uncle on a ranch there. Some friends drove me and my cousin, Betsy, to Raton from El Paso. Our uncle and his wife took us to the Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming. After the adventure on the ranch we two twelve year olds were put on the Greyhound bus back home. The bus driver let us off in front of my cousin’s house, which was in the country just north of El Paso. Couldn’t do that now.

The road took us past Glorieta where the Family Camp was held in August and then past Santa Fe, and on to Albuquerque where we caught I-40. The landscape levels out and you can begin to see for miles. This is where I take a deep breath and enjoy the vistas. Trees are beautiful but there is nothing like the desert and big sky and being able to see for ever. The rolling hills are covered with Juniper and Pine and Cottonwood. The Cottonwood are changing color to a bright and beautiful yellow. The landscape glows like yellow sunshine.

Like Oklahoma, there is a huge population of Indians. There are tribes of Pueblo, Hopi, Zuni, and Acoma. and the Navajo Nation.
The Navajo Code Talkers were crucial in WWII as code breakers. The Navajo language is very difficult and very few outside the Navajo Nation could speak the language.. The Navajo Marines could send messages in real time.. This gave the commanders immediate information and could then give immediate orders. Breaking codes took hours and sometime days to break The Japanese never broke the code. I believe that the Code Breakers have all passed away.
Make up your own code and write a message to a friend. See if he/she can break your code.

Our church in CA had a relationship with the Navajo Christians on Black Mesa in the northern part of the Navajo Nation. We, Scott and JoAnn were part of the team that would spend a week at a time having Bible Studies, crafts and games. Those Navajos could all be on the Olympic volley ball team. Our Pastor and his wife would teach and encourage the families, fathers and the Pastor. Most could speak English but a translator was needed for the older ones. We played a lot, sang a lot, and listened to stories. Some deep friendships were made. The Turquoise jewelry that I wear was given to me by a special friend, Bessie Luna. Where does Turquoise come from?

The Peabody Coal Company strip-mines on the mesa. The coal is carried by an eight mile conveyer belt down the mountain to an electric train which takes it to a generating plant. The Navajos make a lot of money working there and the Coal Company agrees to pay the expenses for any Navajo who wants to go to college. The University of Arizona refurbishes the land after it has been stripped of all vegetation. This group of Navajos prospers but there are others in deep poverty and alcohol is a debilitating problem.
We hear a Navajo radio station as we travel.
Spent the night in Gallup NM.

Love, Gan and GranMary

On the road in Arizona #7


Woke up in Gallup and decided on the spur of the moment to go to the Grand Canyon We had not been there in 30 years. We went right on by the Petrified Forest, Meteor Crater and the Painted Desert all of which we had seen in years past. They are still teaching that all this happened millions and millions of years ago even with the evidence at Mt.St. Helens. Have you been to any of these places? Astronauts train in Meteor Crater. It is about a mile across. Find three more interesting things about each of these places in Arizona.

At the motel we met a couple who had been to the Canyon and when we told them that we did not have reservations they said that they would NEVER go without reservations. They said that we were braver than they.

At Flagstaff we headed north on Hwy 89 to 64 which is the eastern entry to the Canyon. The drive was so peaceful and hardly any traffic. We climbed higher and higher into the Pine tree covered mountain. We thought we had it made. After all school is in session and it is beginning to get cold. We showed our Golden Passport at the entrance and stopped several times to view the canyon. How do you describe such color and grandeur?

As we got closer to the hotels and Market Square more and more cars and people were around us. Then…oh my goodness….there must have been 100 tour busses and when I checked to see if there were any rooms, we were told that the whole park was filled to capacity. There were Japanese and Europeans and who knows what other peoples.. We hardly heard a word of English. So………………we drove around to see more of the canyon and went south to Williams for the night. The motels there were full, also.
If any of you plan to stay at the Grand Canyon, prepare to plan a year in advance.
We finally found a room in Kingman about a three hours drive but it was still daylight.

After a good night’s sleep we began our trek to CA still on I-40.

Love, Gan and GranMary