Sunday, January 20, 2008

We Are Home

We stay up until 4 a.m. winterizing Otto, packing up the clothes,
cleaning out the kitchen.

This adventure has ended. We are home.

Bye. Until we travel again.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Thank God, for Jesus

We stop at a truck stop near Kings Dominion in Virginia for a bite to
eat and discover a tiny truckers chapel welcoming all to "Enter to
Worship, Depart to Serve." I snoop inside and find four pews facing a
single altar adormed by a simple cross made of two sticks held
together by twine.

"Leave your prayer concerns on the altar," reads a sign near the door.
I walk forward, again to snoop, and read the first concern. It's from
O.C. and my heart breaks: "My dear Rose and sweet Kevin, I can finally
let you go."

Loss is so painful. So permanent. God can and does heal. Especially

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Where Civil War History Began

We drive up Route 17, the coastal route, swimming through Georgia into South Carolina and stay for the night on James Island.

Before retiring, I google this place and discover it's where, on April 12, 1861, the Civil War began.  It's where, on the same island, in fact on the same northern side of the island, Confederate forces from one fort (Fort Johnson) fired upon Union forces occupying another fort (the famed Fort Sumter.)

Instead of nosing out more history, we high tail it for the nearest doggie park, which turns out to be an island (see the picture) in the middle of this island.  Jake has a blast chasing ducks out into the water and running circles around the other dogs. A sign says there are alligators in the water.

They must be sleeping.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Artery Clogging Delight

We make it back to our old haunt on Saint Simons: Frankie G's Island
. The big draw for us are the homemade potato chips, dripping in
bleu cheese, cheddar cheese and white gravy.

A single serving overwhelms a large dinner plate. And us. We can't eat
it all. Still, we manage to pack away enough to make the evening jaunt
with the dogs less of a workout and more of a waddle and roll.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Our Day of Rest

Today is our 59th day on the road and, for the first time, we choose to stay off the road and do nothing more than walk the dogs.

On that walk, we encounter a fellow and his greyhound, another man
(alone with his iPod) and a bunch of school girls riding bicycles at a
historical site marking the 1736 homestead of William Horton, a
military guy made famous because someone decided to preserve what's
left of his house.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Life's a beach

Don't Allen and the boys look marvelous?

We meet a man today strolling the hard-packed beaches of Jekyll Island
(off the coast of southern Georgia) doing what we dream of doing one
day: living on St. Simons Island (next door) and playing on Jekyll.


We're there in spirit, at least. After piling more than 11,000 miles
on Otto during this criss-cross country journey, we're still more than
1,000 miles away from home, but we feel "home," hanging out on "our"
islands: St. Simon and Jekyll. So we will stay a few days. And soak in
some new memories.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Waylaid by Tummy Trouble

It's 80 degrees (ahhhh) and we're so close to Gulf Shores, AL, we can
almost feel the salty breeze when our youngest and biggest Standard
Poodle gets sick. Really sick.

Jacob's problem involves lots and lots of blood in his very watery
stool. OH MY! And he's crying and crying. OH NO! Now Josh has runny
stool, too!

We stop into a Gulf Shores Welcome Center and are directed to a vet
just up the byway.

A few tests and $98 later, we find out it must have been something
they ate. Perhaps the Chinese Allen laced their food with the night

The sun is setting. The beach will have to wait.

The picture above is from before the tummy troubles. That's Jacob
going head to head with Allen.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Farm Routes in Texas

We agree to skip the loudness of Houston and escape from Interstate-10
to explore some Texas Farm Routes. We travel down Farm-to-Market
Road, Route 2436 and 3174. We see road name such as Black Jack's Lane.
Slo John's Road. Watch the slide show to catch a glimpse of the
cattle, horses, barns, windmills and junk we encountered.

Where's JACOB!!!

We stop for lunch/dinner in Flatonia (for real), Texas. While I
prepare (mircowave) our vittles, I notice one not two dogs. I look
left, right, check the bed. JACOB IS GONE!

How can that be? I aim to race out the door and find it locked. Fumbling with the deadbolt I holler out "JACOB!"

He ambles out of the bathroom. WHAT?

How did he fit in there?

San Antonio experience

After dropping our search for the Rio Grande, we aim our divining
rods toward the San Antonio River, where the River Walk beckons as
one of the most delightful tourist attractions in the country.

We arrive in town on Saturday night to a gazillion roadblocks and cops
flagging us AWAY from the intersections we need to use to arrive at
our Wal-Mart. We stop in a shopping center, fire up the computer and
find a new Wal-Mart location away from the congestion.

We are unaffected, because we look forward to the River Walk, the
Alamo and a new dog park for Josh and Jacob to enjoy.

The dog park, while hard to find, is one of the best we've been to: It
has plenty of space to keep the doggies from congregating in a pack.

Live lectures by volunteers perfect our Alamo experience (and I find a John McGregor, a possible ancestor, died during the seige).

Finally, we aim for the River Walk and an early dinner in this
unequaled tourist attraction.

As we arrive, we notice there is no river. There is mud. The water was
was drained Jan. 2 for annual repairs. It returns Jan. 9. We leave
Jan. 7.

Think of it this way: How many tourists get to see THE BOTTOM of the
River Walk?

Friday, January 4, 2008

Fasoldts Acting Suspiciously?

We go in search of the Rio Grande. We know it is between us and the
mountains. So we exit Interstate 10 southeast of El Paso, Texas, onto
a washboard dirt road that kicks up dust and gravel and rattles the
contents of us and Otto.

We head toward the Rio Grande. We know it is there. We want to sit on
the banks, dip our toes in the water. Say we've been there.

Silly us. After fording a dry landscape of cotton fields, ghost towns
and abject poverty, we find a border crossing with high wires and lots
of signs blocking our view and access to what must be the Rio Grande.
We stop. Turn around and pull off to the side. We take pictures. The
guards are watching.

Several hours later, we come to a multitude of flashing lights forcing
us and all traffic into a border patrol inspection station on I-10. Is
it possible they are looking for us? Could they possibly have decided
that our behavior at the border crossing was suspicious?


Thursday, January 3, 2008

What a Wind!

After a few hours at a dog-and-sawdust-filled dog park in Scottsdale,
we head on our way only to stop 20 minutes later because a huge wind
darn near knocks us off our tires. We'd survived the Santa Ana winds a
few days earlier, so we knew how horribly fierce the situation could
be. See the news account here.

So we spend a few hours at a rest stop, shower, read, eat. Peaceful
time. Then we head on our way and eventually stay the night at a Wal-
Mart Neighborhood Market on an Indian Reservation (or near one) in
Tucson, AZ. We stay up after 2 a.m. watching TV. How fun.

A Hidden Treasure in Phoenix

Delightedly, I share with Allen a living museum experience I've
enjoyed twice before: The Desert Botanical Garden, tucked away in a
corner of Phoenix tourists often miss.

Paved and hard-packed trails lead us past cactus and other plants from
deserts throughout the world. There's life from the Sahara, the
Kalahari, the Mojave, the Sonora. The varieties are boundless.

Enormous saguaros reach to the sky while octopus cacti squirrel around
the pebbles and sand. Quail bob around the ground in family units.
Cactus wren tease each other. It's 71 degrees. On Jan. 2.

A Dusty Place To Do Business

We spend the night in Quartzite, AZ, a town made famous by the
thousands and thousands of RVs that converge there in January and
February for the flea markets and rock and mineral shows. We hear
there are a gazillion places to boon doock,but arrive so late at night
we can see only one: a very, very busy truck stop.

In the morning, as we drive around, we find the others: acres and
acres of sturdy, flat desert speckled with motor homes dry camping for
the events.

We also find Quartzite is an oddity. We've never seen so many motor
homes in one place. And more, we hear, are coming. So we are leaving.

We stop for lunch at Tonopah Family restaurant and dine on real
hash browns and funny-tasting sausage (which the dogs enjoy because we
don't). Like Quartzite, it's dusty here. So dusty.

On the way down side: The roadside desert is incredibly trashy.
Sure, there's dust everywhere and lots of tumbleweed ... that's not
what I am talking about. It's the broken glass, plastic bottles and
paper wrappers that soil the experience. What a shame.