This weeks travel takes us from New York & Pennsylvania through six states in the Mid West - WEST VIRGINIA, OHIO, KENTUCKY, briefly thru INDIANA and ILLINOIS on our way to visit nephew Tony in MISSOURI.
Wednesday Sept 14
We head for Goshen Ohio to visit Collin's cousin Jon and wife Julie who moved back to her home area after years of living in the San Fernando Valley of California. They have found and created a beautiful home in a park-like setting with a swimming pool. Foodies and world travelers, we have tons to talk about, not to mention Jon's fascinating tales as a turbo-charger consultant
Thursday Sept 15
Julie is a nurse and we are fortunate she has the day off. She takes me to a darling town near by, Milford, whose historic downtown is now full of shops, an art gallery and a stained glass workshop. The art gallery is top notch and the gallery owner talks art with us for a long while. Collin is home with Jon who is entertaining him with stories of his fascinating life as a consultant of turbo-chargers on automobiles and airplanes. In the evening we head to a favorite restaurant - Copper Blue -where Jon & Julie are greeted by the owner who shares their love for the food network shows. The food is mouthwatering!
Friday Sept 16
Today's destination is a fairly short drive through Ohio to Louisville KY where we stop at a Mercedes dealership and are helped through the 19 steps to turn off the service alert bleeping beeping message! We have been invited to stay at 'Grandma's house. They have kept the 1920s bungalow in which my Aunt Mildred (Grandma) and Uncle Percy raised their family.
As we come into Glendale I feel like I am returning to my roots. Even tho I have never lived in Kentucky, this is where my mom and dad are from. As an Air Force 'Brat' all my life, I moved every three years of my life until I reached Sacramento Ca in '78 at age 30, never having known a place to be 'home'. It is a unique sense of belonging I feel here as I get reacquainted with these roots. Bob and Susie Walker are both gone now and I miss them sorely. Thankfully, their 3 children - Bobbi (in Denver where we will visit her), Jerry (& Amanda) who lives next to Grandmas on the right, and Cathy (& Mark plus 3) who lives on the left having renovated her parent's-Bob & Susie's-house, have kept the Walker properties and farm, for now at least. The barn where we used to play brings waves of nostalgia to me. Jerry has three beloved Passofino horses.
I long to paint the barn and horses but visiting is much more important. Cathy & Jerry come over after work, both their mates having other obligations. We eat at Grandmas table, then sit on the back porch in rocking chairs, jawing till midnight.
Saturday Sept 17 Glendale KY
It's pouring! Cathy invites us down the road to see their fabulous remodel of Susie and Bob's old house that she and her family are living in. The brick home looks modern and stylish and still retains its family feeling.
We head into Glendale to go by my grandparent's, Edgar & Mamie's, home
and visit the excruciatingly cute village of Glendale, formerly Walker's Station - founded by our great great grandfather, Lewis B. Walker, and now on the National Historic Registry.
I visit my parents grave
and Susie and Bob's, then knock on former preacher Mike Bell's door where we spend an hour chatting with him. He lost his beloved wife Sharon just two years ago and the great love and great loss for him fills and breaks my heart at the same time.
Jerry calls and invites us to a special treat. He is a member of a Barbershop Quartet - he's the bass. There is a fundraiser at the State Theater in E-Town featuring the Kentucky Vocal Union who placed 3rd in the most prestigious International Barbershop Championship. The singing is wonderful - even more so as Jerry explains the vocal ranges and all to us. We love it!
We head back to Grandma's house where we again sit on the porch and tell each other stories til past 11.
Sunday Sept 18
Jerry comes to have a last chat with us before he goes to church
and we head out to Mammoth Cave where we take an hour fifteen minute tour. No stalagmites or tites but lots of history told by a ranger whose looks, accent and story-telling ways remind me of my dad. I'm convinced that Kentuckians (and Walkers in particular) are descended from a long line of marvelous story- tellers! The intonations, the dramatic pauses, all of it - flows thru my veins and to my husbands bane - out my mouth!
Kentucky is so beautiful to drive through I don't want to leave! But we have to cross a couple of states to continue on our way to our next stop to visit my nephew Tony Tappan and his household of beauties - wife Laura, daughters Allison, Sarah and Tess - in Kansas City Missouri. We cross the Ohio River as we enter Indiana at Evansville. Next up is southern Illinois where we overnight at Carlyle Lake, the largest campground in Illinois at the largest man-made lake. It is darn near deserted and we find a great site overlooking the vast lake. We dub the site The Pecan and Blue Heron Site as we listen to the baseball sized pecans drop on our roof during the night. The moon, just one night past full, casts a beautiful reflection in the lake.
Monday Sept 19 - Missouri bound
Collin tells me we have a max of 20 more days in the road as that is when his inhaler runs out. Goody, I think, hoping we can spend some extra time in Colorado.
We hit 10,000 miles on our trip today, 224 hrs of driving (all Collin except for 2 hrs he let me drive!), averaging 20.9 miles to the gallon!!
We head to St Louis and decide to take in the Missouri Botanical Gardens, considered to be one of the top three in the WORLD! It is an outstanding Botanical garden. Mature 100' trees abound and lots of shade which we sorely need as Missouri is having a hot spell with soaring humidity! Chihuly glass works are everywhere blending with the botanicals.
Onward to Kansas City Missouri where my nephew Tony Tappan and his family live in a classic 1920s era Tudor home. They underwent a massive remodel just two years ago that required their family of five to move out for seven months! The result is perfection in a traditional updated home - right out of an architectural magazine. The kitchen is fabulous and the two new baths perfect.
Tuesday Sept 20
We spend two nights here. Family time is the best! Allie, their eldest at 18, is super busy, holding down a job and in her Senior year of high school. She has applied for and been accepted at multiple colleges. We get the news while we are there that she has take her ACT scores up by a significant amount by studying for and retaking them a third time! This will result in a significant increase in available scholarship funds - an initiative she took totally on her own! She a gorgeous blonde now and looks like a young Norma Jean! Sarah (16) is a Sophomore and already being sought after by colleges. She is also gorgeous with waist length hair and a smile that lights up any room! Tess is now 12 - beautiful, bright, talented! She studies singing and dancing. All three girls seem totally unaware of how beautiful they are, concentrating on developing their inner beauties, skills, arts and studies.
Sarah and Tess at dinner
Mom Laura is... well, yea, I'm prejudiced but she really is the loveliest of human beings I know. With beauty in her soul, her even-tempered bright spirit is shared by every family member. The newest member, gangly puppy Zack, is her latest raising project - along with her full time IT profession of course!
Tony is the luckiest of men and happily realizes it daily. He is successful in all ways, especially the ones that matter most - home and hearth, family and friends. I feel blessed to be related to this family of five extraordinary people!
Wednesday Sept 21
Collin and I depart in the morning heading across Kansas for our next and last segment of our trip - the West. Today we will book some miles (8 hrs worth) to get into Colorado tonight.