YOSEMITE!

The park icon, Half Dome!
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A stop for old times

We blew in to Yucaipa for two nites so we could catch sight of some friends from loooong ago who live nearby in the Loma Linda area.

It worked!

Sooooo nice to spend brief time with Bob & Lillian, Kathy, Jim, Candy…. and sooooo sad to miss connecting with Larry!

Some of these friendships go back to high school!

And on the way out of town, the rain parted, we stopped at an interchange and pulled into a Home Depot lot…so we could meet up with Marina for hugs & laughter!

No pictures from these fabulous private moments….

The Big Taxi headed north…for 10 days in Yosemite!

Ummm, pictures to follow….

Blowin through a dry land

The real point of our present loop to the West Coast….is the West Coast.

Not real shocking, but it does mean the 2400 miles between Dayton and Los Angeles gets the short shrift. At least on the way out…maybe on the way back we’ll stop a little more.

We drove the 1400 miles from Dallas to Loma Linda in three days, stopping one night in a rest area and the other night in the parking lot of a Pea Soup Andersen’s restaurant. The second stop was real convenient for supper and breakfast (who knew pea soup could be so good?), but dreadful for sleep….because it was next to a truck stop and across the street from another truck stop!

The photos below are in the sequence we encountered them, and I’d be hard-pressed to identify the state in which each was taken…what with Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California all looking so much alike from I-20 and I-10!

You will notice, however, that we began the run by encountering a massive wind generator farm, and we finished it in the same manner. Neither photo does justice to the incredible number of machines in that area.

Just an aside: we concentrated so much on keeping moving, that these photos were shot as we rolled, with the exception of the train and the photo after it.
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Ice in Texas

We left the blustery weather in Michigan just in time….snow arrived in just days, and BIG snow arrived in just weeks (14 inches on the streets that overlook the St Joe pier and light house!).

Our travels passed through Kokomo, IN to see Grandma Fell, then onward to Dayton for a fast round of routine doctor appointments and other necessary stops, then onward to Albemarle, NC for five days with the boys’ Mama Sharon.

Then we put the coach in gear and dropped the hammer. Three days of driving…interrupted by two nights parked in Home Depot lots…found us in Keene, TX, just south of Dallas/Fort Worth.

This was a special stop of just over a week: to connect with some dear friends from days of old, to allow Robyn’s sister, Marion, to catch up to us and accompany Robyn to hear an old friend, and to give us a chance to catch a very special production for the winter season.

We missed by days a special memorial service in Dallas to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F Kennedy in that city. It’s fair to say the citizens and leaders of Dallas are still horrified at their special place in history as a result of this event.

Marion drove in from visiting her daughter and grandchild in Indiana, so she could accompany Robyn to a Josh Groban concert in Dallas! It was an unusual “concert in the round” and the girls had a wonderful time!

Perhaps the highlight of our stop…mostly because it was so very unusual…was our visit to the Gaylord Texan hotel. Already a high-profile place with grand and dramatic architecture, it was time to begin their celebration of the holidays with lights, decorations, and events!

You can see from the following photos that the lobby was festooned with lights from the glass canopy ceiling down to the fountains and rivers below floor level!
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But wait, there’s more….

We really scheduled ourselves for this visit to Gaylord Texan because their holiday season celebration included a show simply called “ICE”.

There was nothing about the show that was simple….

A group of artists from China had been working for weeks to create figures and settings from “The Nutcracker” all in the form of ice: clear, frosted, and colored ice. We wore big parkas and walked around these works of ice inside a huge freezer building.

The photos below barely begin to capture the beauty and artistry of these works of ice. Click on each to see the detail.

The display concluded with a full nativity scene that included animals, magi, and shepherds. All figures were made of clear ice, with some subtle color provided by lights.

We were profoundly impressed by the big way in which Texans bring ice to their winter!
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Unfinished business

[So sorry for the silence. We have been traveling almost constantly, which leaves little time or energy for blogging…but we hope to bring you up to date in short order.]

On our last day in Michigan we ran across a couple scenes we had to share with you.

The pier and lighthouse at Saint Joseph have always occupied a special place in our hearts. Robyn and I often went there when we dated in the early 70s before either of us married others. So we drove out for a last look…on a blustery day…knowing wind would bring some drama…

We felt like we got our money’s worth!
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To cap it all, on our way back to the coach, on a chilly day in late October in Michigan, the state that grows so many crops…including flowers that are cut and sold to florists nationwide…we ran across this colorful field of gladiolus…
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