Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Long (3,069 miles) Trip Home
We departed Broomall, Pa on Saturday, February 28, 2015.  Since about the middle of January I had been experiencing what I thought was problems related to having my neck severely kinked.  I had numbness in the hands and pains in the backs of my upper arms.  The end result was that sometimes I was very arthritic-like.  In the mornings I would have trouble moving my fingers and found getting dress and grooming very hard.  Corry had to help me dress.  By mid morning I would loosen up and frankly thought not too much about it.  There were a few times, however, when I was unable to sleep because of the pain and found it almost too hard to get out of bed or a chair.  Corry was concerned and had Jennifer make an appointment with her doctor to take a look at me.  I was blessed the last two days that I had not too much pain and my hands worked and I was able to pack and clean and go.  But when we got headed to Vienna, VA, I began to feel the pain and by that night I was pretty stoved up.  We had a good trip to Jen's and were so happy to see the remodel on her kitchen.  It is beautiful.  They were hosting a party that night for a friend's birthday and had lots of guests and we enjoyed our evening, seeing the kids, and being with them.  Sunday I basically just stayed at Jen's and rested.  Monday the doctor saw me.  He was a very nice man and did a broad series of bloodwork and gave me water pills and prednisone.  I quickly took a prednisone and even by that night felt somewhat better and by the time we left Jen's I felt like myself.  The swelling in my joints had subsided and I could even remove my ring...I enjoyed recuperating at Jens.  Some highlights of the time we spent there included watching Scotty play a basketball game, watching Dana play a YW basketball game and score 4 points and win, Corry taking Hannah out for a talk, playing games with the family, having Hannah tutor me on Family Search and having her discover a branch of my father's family tree and connect it and find names that needed temple work, going to lunch with Jen, watching Jen play tennis, Grandpa getting to watch college basketball and throw passes to Mikey and Scotty, and being snowed in 3 days that week so that we got to spend quality time with the kids.The best highlight, however was going to the Washington DC temple with 26 names that Jen and Hannah had found for baptisms.  It was a sweet spiritual experience that we thoroughly enjoyed.  We had been scheduled to go on Thursday but got snowed in so we rescheduled for Saturday and Brant was home and able to attend as well.  Both the couples that assisted us in the Baptistry had Blanding connections, one being a Jens Nielson descendant.  He had also lived in Minnesota and so my father's family names were familiar to him.  It was a very lovely way to end our stay in Vienna.
 Jen coming up the driveway towards the front porch with the snowblower.  About 8" of snow.
 Hannah shoveling out her truck.
 Grandpa wanted to use the snowblower too!
We awoke early Sunday, March 8 and headed west.  Our destination that day:  Knoxville, TN.  We traveled just about 500 miles each day and that was plenty.  It got us to our destination about 3-5 pm, depending on if we went through a time change and we could rest then go to dinner and settle down for the night.  We stayed each night at a Holiday Inn Express and I would book it the night before.  That made check-in quite simple and we had good experiences each time.  We made it an adventure by choosing a different kind of food each evening to enjoy.  Traveling through Virginia was mostly green with not too much visibility, then Tennessee was a bit more open and we enjoyed the green pastures and horses--especially Corry.  In Knoxville we found a really good Mexican Restaurant and enjoyed an early 47th Anniversary dinner with the best guacamole ever.
 Nashville, Tennessee.  Most of my pictures are taken from inside the car on the highway that we traveled on, as we really did not take any side trips to see sights, etc.  We just wanted to get to our destination.
 Memphis, Tennessee
 Crossing the Mississippi at Memphis
On our anniversary day we traveled to Little Rock, Arkansas.  We have never been to Tennessee nor Arkansas, so this was interesting to us.  In Arkansas we saw evidence of poverty.  Lots of trailers, old trailers, and abandoned trailers.  We wanted to get some BBQ for dinner and asked the front desk and ended up in a dive they recommended.  Their BBQ was a vinegar based sauce and it was quite good on the ribs, but the chicken tasted rather weird and not in a good way.  
 The next day:  Little Rock Arkansas to Abilene, Texas.  There was road construction and look at all of the Semis on the road.  This day it was much fewer trees and more cattle.
Dallas, TX
Ft. Worth, TX in the distance.
We found an interesting restaurant called the Beehive Restaurant in an old building downtown Abilene and it had the best food ever!  I had tilapia and Corry had shrimp and then we Corry was really hungry for a peach cobbler so we went to Cracker Barrell and enjoyed a yummy dessert.  The next day we traveled from Abilene, Texas to Las Cruces, New Mexico.  By then we were ready for Chinese food and we found a little mom and pop place with not much decor but really good Chinese food.  We quite liked Las Cruces.  The next day we traveled from Las Cruces to Yuma, AZ.  That was a long day with very little of anything that was green.  We did see some yucca and some flowering ocotillo and some jojoba plants growing and then some lettuce as we neared Yuma.  We arrived in Yuma on Thursday night and went straightaway to Riley's school where she had her Science Fair.  She had been chosen to represent her class and when she got there she was quite happy that she had been chosen to go to the next level.  
Riley with her medal on.
Tom and Heidi had recently purchased a home in Yuma and they are not quite totally moved in.  They had just begun to sleep there and most things were still in boxes and no pictures were hung.  It got me prepared for when we arrived home.  Our highlights:  Seeing the kids and playing games with them, helping them fix up their own rooms, helping Heidi clear away a few boxes so she could get to needed clothes, going to church with them, and going to dinner (pictured above).  One item of interest:  we left Vienna VA with temps of 30 degrees and arrived in Yuma to 90 degree weather and all of our summer clothes packed away.  We
Julene Kerbs was the secretary at the Idaho Youth Ranch when we first came to Idaho.  She worked downtown and then in the Thrift Store.  She has spent winters in Yuma for quite some time and Corry wanted to look her up.  Tom was able to locate her for us and we enjoyed lunch.  We are pictured above at her Park Model in Yuma.
We were very pleased to enjoy for dinner one night the famous Brady Jones Chili Balls!  Now we know what this is all about.  They are actually very good and Brady fancies himself quite the chef.
Monday morning March 16, 2015 we loaded up the car and headed for St. George.  The drive along Lake Havasu was very pretty at this time of year.  We arrived home at about 5:45 pm and this is what we saw:
Home at last and our family welcoming us!  They were very thoughtful and provided us with dinner that night and groceries for breakfast the next day.  We reported to the Stake President and got released and were able to have the kids unload the car for us and then we collapsed into our very own bed!

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