Category Archives: Summer 2013 – Pacific NW

Homeward bound

And here it is: the end of another Odyssey. Memories for life. Isn’t that why we do this? I think so.

View from my mom-in-law's back yard.

View from my mom-in-law’s back yard.

Last night, we enjoyed an evening with the Thriller’s mom and large extended family. It was a crazy night of activity, laughter and beautiful scenery as the sun set over Lake Winnebago.

In a circle of lawn chairs by the big shade tree, the Thriller and his brother and sister told funny stories about teenage practical jokes, boat adventures on the lake, and who got picked on the most. It was great fun to sit and listen in.

We invited Mom and Dad to visit us in the coming year. My family will like them, and we’ll throw a feast in their honor. They’ll especially like Dad Leo, who has dozens of funny fishing stories.

So with this, we head for home. It’s a 10-hour drive, which, with the extra hour for Eastern Time, will put us home around 11 p.m. The Thriller’s not sure he wants to haul luggage and reposition air conditioning units that late at night, so for the first time ever, we are going to just take off, and see where we end up.

If we’re achy and tired after 6 hours on the road, we’ll find a place to hole up, then start fresh in the morning, so we’ll have plenty of daylight once we reach home to get the house back up and running.

Wow…the Fink without hotel reservations. Takin’ a walk on the wild side, my friend.

Vamos! :-)

Off the grid

Hey all!

We’re headed for Lake Winnebago this morning, where connectivity will be an issue. I’ll post tomorrow if I can.

The drive across South Dakota into southern Minnesota, and down into Iowa was largely uneventful — and long. Don’t forget long. One more stop before home!

Check ya tomorrow with some pretty lake pictures, if possible. Happy weekend!

Back to SD

Good morning! Long drive yesterday, but we did revisit the Black Hills, which was nostalgic. After dinner at the Powder House in Keystone, we gave Deadwood another chance.

It’s still dead.

rapidWe didn’t go back to Mount Rushmore; the July 4th fireworks display was still on schedule, and we didn’t want to fight the crowds. Our very small room at the Big Sky Lodge was cozy, with a great view of Rapid City below.

I tried to get some photos of the several fireworks displays going on last night, but they didn’t come out. Too far away. But how impressive — we’d never seen anything like it. There must have been five different fireworks shows going on at once, down in Rapid City. Nice to be in a lodge on a hill.

Today is another grueling drive, all the way to Iowa. Hopefully we’ll be able to have some relaxation time. This is Day 25 of our Odyssey, and the travelers are starting to show juuuuust a bit of wear and tear, haha. Still, we’re delighted and blessed to have the chance to do this. Not complaining.

OK, 7 a.m. and time to get this carnival packed up and on the road. If nothing else, we’re getting really good at it, and by the time we get back home, we’ll have it totally down to a science. ;-)



Happy America Day, fiends! And, as was pointed out on Facebook by someone this morning — Happy Egypt Day, as their “independence day” is today as well.

The sun peeking through a stand of redwoods (northern California)

The sun peeking through a stand of redwoods (northern California)

As I’ve been up since 4 (darn time change again), I took the opportunity to go through my phone to find some photos I may not have shown you yet. So I will yammer on relentlessly while throwing in a picture now and then, OK? OK.

We’re in Rock Springs, out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere-Wyoming right now. The town is just beginning to wake up. I’ve had some time to reflect on the last three weeks, and boy has it been wonderful. I’ve said before that this is probably the last Odyssey of this length, as our lives will change now that seminary is done and the job search will commence in six days.

View from the pier on Clear Lake, outside our room at the Featherbed Railroad B & B (Nice, California)

View from the pier on Clear Lake, outside the Featherbed Railroad B & B (Nice, California)

Although he officially “retires” at the end of this month (his 62nd birthday), the Thriller is still on the market for his counseling gig. For that (and other) reasons, our summer getaways will be shorter from now on, which is fine. We’ll still make the best of them, and yes — Odyssey 2014 is already in the works. :-)

This voyage has been about wide-open spaces, yes? We’ve seen a bunch of them, from the cattle ranches of the Dakotas to the endless expanses of Utah. What a thrill to see our country in this way. In fact, I highly recommend it, and will write about it, courtesy of several of you who have expressed your own interest in taking a Great American Road Trip. Stay tuned!

Find the Fink.

Speaking of Utah, I had a ball on the Bonneville Salt Flats yesterday morning. I ran out a couple hundred feet onto the hard, dry salt pan, turned and waved at the Thriller, and just about got blown over several times by huge gusts of wind. Talk about wide-open expanses of a totally different kind, wow.

Today, we revisit — if only briefly — some sights from the Western US Odyssey of 2011. As we head towards Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin to spend some time with the Thriller’s mom, we will cross paths with Keystone, South Dakota: home to Mt. Rushmore. It’ll be nice to see the old boys’ craggy faces again. We also plan to visit our favorite Black Hills restaurant, the Powder House Lodge, if we can. Best filet mignon I’ve ever had.

Until tomorrow then — off we go, off the interstate and into the hills. Yay! Have a relaxing and enjoyable holiday.

Nevada II

And it’s Wednesday already — six days till we see home! I’m excited.

What looks like a lake on the horizon is actually just salt pan: the remains of ancient Lake Bonneville.

OK, yesterday. Umm. Haha. West Wendover is a small (population 4500) town near the Utah border, which pretty much explains why it’s little more than a conglomeration of casinos. (Gambling is illegal in UT.)

Outside of fast food, gasoline and gambling, there’s not much there. The Bonneville Salt Flats are 5 miles to the east, so we’re hitting that this morning. I will try to keep the Thriller from racing across them to speed-test the Finkmobile.

So, with absolutely nothing else to see, we did a casino hop. It was surreal…the Thriller put it best:

It was like a scene out of Vegas Vacation, where Clark Griswold and his brother end up in a casino that had games no one ever heard of, and were impossible to win.

“Pick a number between one and ten.”


“Oops, wrong, it was two.”

Ha. You get the idea.

So I can’t say we’re sad to see West Wendover in the rear view. And we’re getting a bit antsy to get home, too. We have long drives ahead of us from here on out (6+ hours each). At least they’re long for us. Still, we hope to see some interesting things along the way.

As long as it’s not this. :shock:

TTFN! Ta ta for now!