Sunday, December 14, 2008

We're Back!

(Craig writes) Well after 60 days, 11, 562 miles, 16 states, 2 foreign countries and lots of fun we are home! Wow, the experiences and sights we enjoyed during our travels were truly fascinating. To top off our trip we were able to enjoy a great family time with all 13 of our children & grandchildren when we got back to Columbia, Becky's mom was even able to attend.

Would we do it again? Absolutely! Just not next month. Thanks for reading about our travels and sharing in our fun. More details about whats next for us will follow!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Almost Home

(Becky writes) Today we crossed the Mississippi!!! We are only 603 miles from home. I can not wait for hugs and kisses!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Cowtown USA!

(Craig writes) We went over to The Stockyards in Fort Worth today and watched an honest to goodness cattle drive complete with cowboys, cowgirls and Texas long horned cattle! Following the cattle drive action we went to the visitors center to see a video about the history of the cattle industry and how it worked. Interesting stuff! After the Civil War the demand for beef in the East, (due to immigration and rapid industrial growth), grew exponentially. Since there were vast open ranges with huge numbers of cattle available cattle ranchers in Texas and surrounding areas began herding cattle to the East. Half-wild range cattle that could be bought for 4 cents a head were worth $40.00 a head at the other end of the cattle drive! Cattle Barons made huge sums of money and cowboys had all the work they could do for many years. The job of a cattle drive cowboy was a rough one as most worked 18 hours a day 7 days a week!

After a delicious lunch at the 3H Restaurant in the historic section of Fort Worth we drove over to Dallas to sightsee a while. The Farmers Market was busy with all kinds of fruits, vegetables, nuts and flowers on display for sale. We were reminded of the exuberant shop owners back in Tijuana as many of the market people coaxed us to sample their produce. On one aisle I ended up tasting samples of watermelon, apple, pineapple and 3 different kinds of coffee!

Most people our age remember the sad day in November 1963 when President John Kennedy was assassinated while driving in a motorcade through Dallas. Being history buffs we decided to drive through some of the areas Kennedy rode through that day and ended up at the infamous "grassy knoll" near the Dallas Schoolbook Depository building. We talked about how sad we felt even as little kids when we heard the news. It was during that same era that the US was fully expecting to be bombed by nuclear weapons by "The Communists". Scary times to be sure that moved "the authorities" to have all school children practice bomb drills. That was when you were instructed to hide under your wooden school desk and put your hands over your face. Thinking back it seems almost laughable that anyone thought that would help if a bomb were to detonate nearby. I guess they figured that doing something would be better than doing nothing.

Our trip has been a wonderful experience with multitudes of great memories but now it is time to go home. The definition of home has taken on new meaning for us in the last several months. Instead of brick, mortar and wood with a mailing address it is now a place where our loved ones are wherever that may be located. Seems like a very fluid way to think, and we love it!

Friday, December 5, 2008


(Becky writes) Yesterday and today we have spent enjoyable days in San Antonio. We arrived here early yesterday afternoon and promptly headed to the El Marcado (the market). I'll have to admit it was a bit of a let down for me. We have heard and read that it is quite similar to the markets in Mexico so that is what we were expecting. It really is not. It is more like any indoor mall that we all have in our cities except that pretty much all the merchandise is of Mexican influence. While on this trip we have visited markets in several cities, Sante Fe, Seattle, and Los Angeles and I must say these markets were all more similar to our experience in Mexico than the one here in San Antonio.

However, from there we traveled to the Riverwalk and it was all I had anticipated and then some. It is beautiful, romantic and just a delightful place to spend time. We had dinner at a steak place last night, sitting outside on the veranda and then a boat ride around the San Antonio River. The boat drivers give a great history of the area and we both really loved it (and learned a lot).

Today we toured the Alamo after seeing the IMAX movie about the same. IMAX is amazing, talk about high def. Unfortunately the movie was so violent and graphic that I had to keep my eyes closed much of the time. After the movie we walked over to the site of the Alamo where they have preserved the longhouse building and much of the church that was actually there is 1836. There are many artifacts displayed and it was quite interesting. One interesting fact that I was reminded of is that the officer in charge of the Texans was from South Carolina. There were actually quite a few South and North Carolinians who fought in that battle.

We decided we had enjoyed the riverwalk so much yesterday that we would walk back over for our lupper (lunch/supper) today. We heard last night on the boat ride that Del Rio was the original business that opened on the riverwalk in 1946. For a while the only businesses on the river were Del Rio and the office of the architect who designed the riverwalk. Del Rio is tex mex at its very best. We had an incredibly yummy lunch - I had the best green tomatillo sauce I have ever tasted. I'm afraid Moe's will never have quite the same appeal.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Life in The Sonora Desert

(Craig writes) We had a ball today at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum near Tucson, Arizona. What a great way to learn about the desert, the flora & fauna and the critters that inhabit it. Becky and I kept commenting to each other what a wonderful field trip this would make for our grandchildren, (and our children)! The Docents were very helpful and willing to share insights and practical history information on everything about living in the desert from the cactus tour to the Harris hawk flight demonstration. One of our favorite things was learning about the Saguaro cactus, (pronounced "say-whar-o"). These are the giant ones you usually see on cowboy shows that can have "arms" on their sides, (see our pics). The museum has an interesting website with a digital picture library so if you get a chance check it out.
After spending most of our day at the museum we took a scenic ride up to Sabino Canyon to watch one last beautiful Arizona desert sunset. On the way back down from the canyon we successfully avoided hitting a family of 5 Javelina as they crossed the road, a mommy one, a daddy one and three little baby ones! Javelina, (pronounced "hav-a-lien-a"), or pecari, look like small pigs but are not pigs at all, (if you go to the desert museum website put "javelina" in the search box to see pics). Another great ending to another great day.

During our travels across the country we have been awed by the beauty of God's great creations. At one point, as we were looking at the Pacific Ocean from atop a high cliff, I commented to Becky that "God's creative power is evident on the East Coast but I think when He started work on the West Coast He decided to show off a little!" It is not that the places we have become accustomed to seeing in the East are any less beautiful or breathtaking but seeing what God has done with sand, rock, water and dirt in the Western U.S. has been a new and humbling experience for us. A comment used by one of the Apollo astronauts after landing on the moon is a good way to describe so much of what we see, "magnificient desolation".

On to Southern New Mexico tomorrow as we continue Eastward toward home!