When Rich and I left Rod and Trish, we headed east out of Missouri towards St. Louis. Rich wanted us to see the “Archway to the West” and as we rode I-64 I was able to get some decent shots of the archway and the St. Louis skyline. Then we crossed the state border into Illinois going almost halfway across to spend the night in Mount Vernon. We attended Mass in the lovely church of St. Mary’s on Saturday 27 August which left us free to have a small lie-in on the Sunday before making tracks for Louisville, KY and Richard’s family.
Like most of the days on this trip, God blessed us with perfect weather for riding as we finished crossing the state of Illinois, clipped the bottom of Indiana, and rode into the blue grass state of Kentucky. I could feel Richard’s excitement mounting as we rode closer to “home”. The plan was to head to his sister Rose’s home, unpack the bike, then head over to the Kentucky State Fair with Rose, her husband Ronnie, and their kids, Megan and Kalin, to meet up with another sister, Robin, and her daughter, Brittany, and his brother, Robert and his wife, Sylvie, and their son, Patrick. Wow, what a reunion!! I had not seen some of these folks since Thanksgiving 2004!
We spent several fun hours at the fair. I found some great HOT dip mixes and some wonderfully decadent fudge, while Richard ate a Krispy Kreme hamburger?????? (yes, that was a hamburger between two doughnuts!!), and later he could not resist trying some “fried Koolaid”. While some of the others went to a concert they had booked to see, Rich and I strolled around the rides for a while. We had fun tempting the “guess your age” guy who made my day and gave me a “prize” after guessing me to be 15 years younger than I am. Whether he was being truthful or gallant in his guessing I’m not sure, but I was happy. Then the tiredness of the ride hit in and we headed home to get a good night’s rest. We needed to get our beauty sleep because the next day we were putting on a Bar-b-q for the family and even more people were coming.
So on Monday we went shopping then got busy cooking and preparing food. By 4pm yet another sister, Rhonda, arrived with her daughter, Ginny, followed shortly afterward by Rich’s step-Mom Ruth, his step-brother Ryan and his step-sister Rachel and her husband Michael with his son in tow. The crowd was rounded out when Robin got there with her son Dustin, and finally we were able to tuck into all that good food. A little later, as we rested full tummies, Kalin took Dustin and they went to pick up Brittany and her girlfriend who had been attending a school sport meet-up. By that time we were ready for some dessert and enjoyed some wonderful concoction that Sylvie had made.
Our final day in Louisville, Rich went to get his (final?? who knows) tattoo in honor of his retirement. Of his eight tattoos, Lucky in Louisville has created 5 of them. This one he actually created around a small existing one of a dolphin that Rich had done in Washington, DC some years ago. Lucky extended the water/wave line under the dolphin , then added the letters USN over the top of everything with a sunrise and the year Rich entered the Navy at one end, and a sunset with his retirement year at the other. It’s really beautiful.
That evening we hooked up with Rose and Ronnie and the kids, Robin, and Richard’s old school friend and partner-in-crime, Fonda with his wife Sherry. We had a great meal and wonderful socializing at a very good Mexican restaurant, where we all ate a bit too much because the food was great!.
Next day, Wednesday 31 August, it was time to load up our faithful Harley, say our farewells, and hit the road again as we headed towards North Carolina. It had been a good visit with family and hopefully it won’t be so long before we see each other again.
In April of this year, Rich and I travelled to Las Vegas and Sedona. We spent 3 days in Las Vegas after a frustratingly long and delayed trip. We should have arrived in our hotel by 7pm on Tuesday but didn’t get there until 2am. At first I was somewhat annoyed that we had “lost” Tuesday evening and then Wednesday morning due to catching up on sleep. In the long run I am glad (God always knows best!).
Las Vegas is, in my opinion, a sorry, sad, jaded place. I could have gotten drunk on fumes alone as we walked the streets!!!! So much alcohol, so many drunks and people out of control, so much smoking – ugh!! All the casinos allow smoking, not even one small smoke free area that we could find!. Not that we’re gamblers, but if you go to Vegas you have to put down at least one bet right? And to get anywhere in any of the hotels you HAD to go through the casino. Not going back, not recommending it to anyone. We did see The Lion King which was wonderful, but then you can see a good show almost anywhere, and we did visit the incredible botanical show at the Bellagio which is stunning (they change it for each season) and I am grateful for these two lovely moments.
The drive from Vegas to Sedona was easy and uneventful – if you can call a stop at Hoover Dam uneventful!!
What an amazing piece of human work. Some of the landscape along the way was very bleak and unforgiving. I tried to imagine what it was like for the first pioneers in this part of the country. We also passed through some of the flat "pampas" type country of Arizona and I could imagine the cowboys herding thousands of steers across them. Then, of course, as we continued the drive we elevated to over 7,000 feet and we encountered sleet and followed by snow flurries!
By the time we approached Sedona, however, the sky was clear and the view was spectacular!! The red rock formations and canyons are something out of this world and they are all around this lovey city. What an amazing piece of God’s creation. Our condo was delightful, almost luxurious, and we were very happy and comfortable during our stay. However, nothing prepared us for our wake up the first morning: a silent winter wonderland with about 5” of snow – and it continued to snow for the rest of the day! It’s a good job we had decided to take it easy that day and we just explored the town center. By the following day the snow had stopped and all but melted away, and the rest of our stay was filled with clear skies and sunshine with fairly warm temperatures.
The rock formations surrounding the town all had very specific names that alluded to their shape. The most important were Cathedral Rock, Snoopy Rock, Camel Rock, Coffee Pot Rock, Praying Hands Rock, Two Sisters Rock, and Bell Rock. This last one was my personal favorite and, because it was the site of one of the many energy vortexes in and around Sedona, we actually climbed a little over half way up it. We also visited the old tin-mining town of Jerome where we explored an amazing kaleidoscope shop and found the most glorious, decadent fudge imaginable!
There were two more notable events during our stay in Sedona: Rich took a helicopter ride around the the town and the surrounding area, and while he did that I received a massage from an intuitive massage therapist who gave me some incredible feedback, including the phrase “you are being called to more” (remember my posting Spiritual Growth- Being Called To More?). I will make that story a separate posting. And then we spent a day at the Grand Canyon. What can I say about that? So much, that again I will make that a separate posting.
Here are a few photos from Sedona.