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A matter of survival . . .

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Traveling With Shelly

(Arizona to South Dakota and Nebraska)


 

 

A Continuing Web Diary

 

We're building on a legacy of memories with your help. High School friends and the Class of 1959 are encouraged to contribute your own memories to the South Dakota portion of this page to build a monument to growing up in Brookings. Click the link below any diary entry to send a detailed email. We promise to post the message promptly.

 


 
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Sent: Friday, July 16, 2004 10:44 PM
Subject: Columbus to Hanston

Hey! I'm in Hanston, staying at the Uncle Lo-- Hotel. The trip from Columbus to Hanston was uneventful except for a very enjoyable brief stop in Salina to see Aunt M-- and Uncle F--. I headed straight south from Columbus on Highway 81, jogged over through Shelby, Osceola and down through Stromsburg, Benedict, and York.

Now, Highway 81 goes straight through York and continues south, but today I couldn't get here from there. The highway interchanges with I-80 just south of town, and the overpass was blocked. They were directing all southbound highway traffic onto the westbound interstate. So I had to go five miles west to an interchange and then five miles back on I-80 to the York interchange. That was a waste, but I didn't know how much of one until I reached York again. Both exit ramps were blocked, so I had to go straight on east seven miles to the next interchange. Once I got turned around and back seven miles to the York interchange again I found that the northbound exit ramp back into York was open, so I took it. I was going to turn north, stop in York and ask someone what was going on, but as I approached the intersection I realized that the overpass was open. There was no sign of a roadblock or any police cars or anything this time, so I turned south and resumed my trip. So I went 24 miles out of the way -- for what? And it wasted about half an hour. It would have been a long way around to turn south at either of the I-80 interchanges where I turned around, but the first one would probably have been worth it; after going the initial five miles west I should have turned south. Almost to Lushton there is a road back to Highway 81. It would have been only ten miles out of the way plus the time wasted on a slower highway. I wonder if they drink alcohol in Lushton?

So I continued down 81 through McCool Junction, Fairmont, Geneva, Strang (that's a strange name), Bruning, Belvidere, Hebron, Chester (Whew!), and into Kansas.

More in a few minutes.
-L

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Sent: Friday, July 16, 2004 8:02 PM
Subject: See You Tomorrow

Yes Jo-- lives in Hanston, and by now you are their I thouht you got my message last night but I guess I mispelled a word hope to see you tomorrow -Sh

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Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2004 10:53 PM
Subject: Still Raining

Thank you for the attached message; it was nice. My email is fixed and I just got it tonight. It's still raining cats and dogs outside. Still in Columbus, Nebraska. Leaving for Kansas in the morning.

Mom, your FAVORITE AUNT, says Jo-- lives in Hanston now. Is this correct? I thought she lived in Burdett.

Hope you had a nice evening.
-L

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Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2004 10:48 PM
Subject: Old School Norwegian

Sh--, thank you for this information. It all depends on price, but I'm going to stop and see what it looks like; I'd like to stay there. I can't remember Jo--'s last name -- ohyeah, it's H--, isn't it?

I ate at my high school friend's place tonight, C.H--. He's really getting serious about his girlfriend, E--, the first in his life, and they seem made for each other -- old school Norwegian, both of them. A perfect match! She cooked up a delicious farm meal like I haven't had since I was a kid.

It was raining cats and dogs on the way back into town and I could hardly see the road, but I made it. I just have to finish uploading the rest of my pictures to my server for safekeeping, and I'm off to bed.

-L

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Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2004 8:16 PM
Subject: Bed and Breakfast

I called Jo-- by payphone to let her know you are comming nd she ask me tell you that there is nice bed and breakfast place in Burdett just thought I would le you know. See you soon Love -Sh

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Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2004 7:25 PM
Subject: Hanston Visit

Yes, it is tomorrow evening that I arrive. I'll leave Columbus, Nebraska in the morning. It's about 300 miles I think. I hope to be there early enough to stop and see your dad briefly and then stop and see Uncle Lo-- briefly. I'll get a motel in Jetmore because I have some things I want to do there. Saturday I'll come back over to Hanston, then, for the party. I also want to see Jo-- while I'm there, if possible. I'll probably try to work that into Saturday, also. Then I also want to walk some creek beds and pastures that I used to go to when I visited there in the summers as a kid. And if we both have more time I can do some additional visiting. I don't have it all figured out yet.

-L

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Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2004 7:12 PM
Subject: Tornado Warnings

Ok, great! I don't know what time I'll get there, but it will be on Friday. The weather here in Columbus is clear, but there are tornado warnings out for a county about 75 miles from here.

My internet service is back up and my server is back up, so I have email coverage through the regular address again. It took a telephone company guy to go out and find some obscure problem with the phone line that only affected internet communications. Then he came to the house, and Yv-- showed him the setup and it began working again without even rebooting the server.

I'm off to C.H--'s for supper.

Love,
-L

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Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2004 5:16 PM
Subject: Fast Answer

Hi That was afast answer. you are making good time. What time Fri. It is this Fri. right that you will b here right I look forward in seeing you Sat if not before.Jo-- would love to see you. I,ll try to let her know. Have a safe trip.-Sh

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Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2004 3:46 PM
Subject: Power Outages

Great! Still trying to make it by Saturday. I'm still in Columbus, Nebraska. Tomorrow (Friday) I should be moseying on down toward the Hanston area. My first stop will probably be at your dad's place, tomorrow night if I stay on schedule. If he's not already scheduled to come to your birthday party for S--, I'll try to drag him along; but I assume he's already coming.

Outside of Columbus, NE - July, 2004

We had horrible storms in Phoenix, and some power outages. This after a major power station caught fire and burned up several giant transformers, so Phoenix has been running at less than capacity as is. Due to the power outages, my server is down and so the only email address that currently works is this one I'm sending from now, f--@---.com (please take note).

I hung around the hotel till after noon working with my internet service provider to get my server back online; then we did a late breakfast and more touring, then spent some time looking at C.H--'s house, which he is getting ready to sell.

So now I'm back in my hotel room negotiating some more with my service provider to figure out what's wrong with my service.

What time on Saturday does your party start?

-L

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Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2004 2:01 PM
Subject: Wherever You Are

Hi ,thought I would write . Where are you at now. Just wondering about you. I know you are busy. But I thiught I would write. Be carefu where ever you are.

sorry you are getting severe stroms in Phynix. The party for S-- is at my dads. So you will make it then by Sat. we well be there hope to see you soon. Drive careful love ya -Sh

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Sent: Wednesday, July 14, 2004 10:01 PM
Subject: Brookings to Columbus

As usual, I got away later this morning than I had intended. I ran back up Main Avenue and got a couple more last minute pictures, stopped for road ice (for my ice chest), and got away about noon. Still, there wasn't that far to go today.

I went back out 77 past the "S" curve and turned toward I-29 on 324, then went south, through Sioux Falls and the roadwork to Exit 38, the last possible turnoff to reach Yankton before going too far south or too far east. I went through Hub City, passed near Westerville and Wakonda to Volin, then turned south through (yes) Gayville to State Route 50 and back into Yankton, re-crossed the Missouri and headed down highway 81 and my previous path through Norfolk to Columbus.

I bypassed Vermillion this time because we did the famous musical instrument collection five years ago. It's on display in its own building, the Shrine to Music, on the campus of the University of South Dakota, Vermillion. Most of the instruments were collected over a lifetime by my high school band instructor and music teacher there in Brookings, Arne B. Larson. When I was a kid he had them stacked to the ceiling in every room of his house and would go all over the world to buy them. He eventually made a deal with USD to build the museum, and moved to Vermillion. He died a few years ago and since then they've added a vast number of additional instrument collections; but last I heard his son, Andre, was still the museum curator. I went to school with Andre.

The highway through Gayville was still typical of the way highways went through small towns in the 50’s -- it turned left and jogged east about three blocks just before entering town from the north, then turned back south, went two blocks, turned west, went two blocks, back south for a block, east for two, south for two, then jogged back west two blocks before turning south the last half mile to interstate 50. What it probably amounted to is the only paved pathway through town. Still, it only took about two minutes and I was on my way. And I have to say that Gayville seemed to be a nice clean, cute town. Year 2000 population, 418; land area .2 (yes, two tenths) square mile. Given a chance, I'd move there in a microsecond. Check out Gayville.  City-Data is my bible; just go to Google, search for any small town by name, and look for the "http://www.city-data.com/..." link.

At that site you'll quickly notice some other interesting facts: Links to the websites of several other towns I've passed through or near in this area; nearest town over 1,000,000 -- Chicago, a mere 656 miles away. Median house value $52,100, recent new house build permits in the range of $42-50,000. Paradise, that's what it is. Look up the other towns I've been through and you'll discover how rural this area is; yet, there is a town every six or seven miles and a farm every quarter mile. The largest town in South Dakota, Sioux Falls, is only about 130,500; the sixth largest, Brookings, is 18,000. South Dakota's entire population is about 755,000. In 1960 South Dakota had more people than Arizona even though their largest town was 60,000 and Arizona's largest was 375,000. You get the idea - a true paradise.

So I wound up in Columbus late in the day and went to supper (Mexican Food, of course) with C.H-- E--, got a tour of the countryside, visited awhile and called it a night, went back to my hotel, the Victorian Inn -- a DELUXE hotel featuring two king beds, a refrigerator, table and microwave oven in every room in addition to a high speed internet connection. The cost? $33.95, tax included. Bedtime...

-L

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Sent: Tuesday, July 13, 2004 9:27 PM
Subject: Brookings

Well, I've been in Brookings for five days. I've been everywhere, done everything, and taken hundreds of pictures and some video footage; and I'm getting antsy again. I'm taking off for Columbus in the morning to see my high school buddy, C.H--; then the next stop is Kansas.

The first two or three days it was mostly foggy every morning until about noon, and the whole time here the dew has been so thick at night that the car gets a free wash if you just dry it with a chamois about noon each day. The last two evenings we've had heavy storm action including clouds and lightning like nothing I've seen in 45 years in Arizona (but I wouldn't compare it with western Kansas thunderstorms when I was a kid), and last night we had a really good rain during the night - a full inch.

I attended my high school class reunion, which consisted of a cocktail hour (evening) on Friday at the Staurolite Inn and a banquet on Saturday at the Brookings Country Club at lake Campbell. Among all of the other people there, I got to visit some with D-- N--, who still lives in Brookings but doesn't get around much. Then on Sunday morning the A--'s had a brunch at their house for everyone who was still in town, and I got a chance to catch up on 45 years with a couple of people who have been in my thoughts regularly all of these years, especially P-- F--.

The Campanile, SDSU Campus, Brookings - July, 2004 / Click for another view

I did a lot of visiting with S-- R--, who I hadn't been in touch with since seventh grade until he located me about ten years ago (we've been corresponding via email since), went up in South Dakota State University's Campanile, the tallest building in South Dakota, with S-- R-- and other friends, and took a lot of pictures both of and from the Campanile.

Tetonkaha, Sylvan Theater, S.D.S.U - July, 2004 / Click to read plaque

I also took lots of pictures of the SDSU campus (it was S.D.S.C. -- State College -- back in the day), the old heat tunnel entrance which is still alive and well, pictures of many Brookings Landmarks and businesses which haven't changed in 45 years (that's most of them, despite the 100% growth from somewhere around 7K-9K to 18K over the same period), and of many large old houses there. I took more pictures of 5th Street, where I used to live, the house I grew up in, and the houses of my friends -- none of which have changed one iota in 45 years. The only difference was that the trees in my neighborhood on 5th Street are mature now and provide an unbelievable amount of shade.

I also drove out to Johnsonville 20 miles north, where we used to go dancing as teen-agers. It's no longer used, and although still there, the building has fallen in and is overgrown by foliage.

I took a picture of the old Brookings Register / Police building, but didn't walk into the alley to take one of the infamous front door that we had stolen from the police station as a lark back in high school and were required to replace after telling our parents. There are a multitude of episodes that could be related from those days -- all relating to our growing up in Brookings, and many of our forays into the S.D.S.C. heat tunnels and other teenage exploits -- but I'll settle for an un-narrated picture of Sexauer Park, where many an adolescent couple came together in late evenings for mutual exploration and discovery.

As to food, I had Nick's Hamburgers three or four times (gorged once) and SDSU ice cream directly from the SDSU dairy once -- $2.50 for about a quart of ice cream on a giant waffle cone -- worth every penny if it had cost twice as much. I went out to Mexican food with the A--'s and found it to be quite a bit better than any we found in Memphis, TN. And I'm ending up with a couple of beers at Ray's Corner, formally known as Logue's Corner, as soon as I send this note.

There are lots of things I didn't get done, but they'll have to wait for another trip, particularly looking up J.Gi--, A.Gi--, and B.Le--. I didn't get out to Oakwood Lakes, but I did that five years ago.

So, I'm ready to leave in the morning.

-L

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Sent: Monday, July 12, 2004 7:41 PM
Subject: Grand Island to Brookings

Ok, so the next morning (July 8) I left Grand Island on highway 30, headed northeast. Highway 30 follows the Platte River all the way to Columbus. Then I turned north on highway 81 through Norfolk to Yankton, SD. I left the mighty Platte River behind at Columbus then crossed the Missouri River as I went through Yankton. The Missouri is the largest river I'll see on this trip, but the Mississippi is larger. The Colorado comes in third, followed by the Platte.

I had forgotten how flat the mid-west could be. This area seemed flat as a pancake -- until I started north from Yankton; eastern South Dakota makes the Columbus - Norfolk stretch seem like the Rockies in comparison. Anyway, eastern South Dakota gives new meaning to the word "flat"; roads there are straight for a hundred miles, in some cases, without so much as a jog.

Without any interstates, these small paved highways seemed like they were going to be terrible to drive, but the truth is that with all of the interstate traffic on the interstate highways there is no traffic to speak of at all on these roads, so you can make excellent time. The main difference is that instead of cruising at 75 MPH non-stop you drive the speed limit, 65 or 70 (or a little over) between towns, and then slow down to whatever the speed limit is going through each town, then return to highway speed. And you don't mess around with the speed limits in those small towns, because they really keep an eye on through traffic. There just isn't that much of it. It seems like these highways would be a lot slower, but it only takes two minutes or less to go through most towns, so it really doesn't affect your overall velocity appreciably.

In Yankton I picked up an official South Dakota highway map, then followed 81 north to State Highway 46. I took 46 east to I-29, going through Mayfield, Irene, and passing near Centerville and Beresford. I-29 was a breeze into Sioux Falls and north, except for a few miles of roadwork in Sioux Falls. But I didn't take it all the way into Brookings, because I wanted to drive old highway 77 into Brookings. I couldn't find where old highway 77 left Sioux Falls, so I settled for getting off the interstate at the Wentworth exit, known locally as Lone Tree1 (highway 34), and picking up old highway 77 near Coleman. Old highway 77 goes by a number of different names nowadays, but near Brookings it is called County 77. (It has other designations between there and Sioux Falls.) It still goes right through a shallow lake, jogs at the old "S" curve, and comes into Brookings as Main Street, passing right by the Pheasant Cafe, the original railroad station and the Sexauer grain elevators. The only difference now is, you enter Brookings when you clear the "S" curve instead of when you pass the Pheasant Cafe.

I hit town about 3:30 pm, washed the car and ate some famous Nick's Hamburgers, and pulled up to the A--'s place about 7:00 pm with over two full hours of daylight remaining. S-- and D--, both high school buddies, had graciously offered to keep me while I'm here.

That was about it for my third day on the road.

-L

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Sent: Monday, July 12, 2004 9:56 AM
Subject: As the Week Progresses

I'm not sure, but I'll try to make it for S--'s birthday party. I'll let you know how things go in my schedule as the week progresses. By the way, did you give me your address?

-L

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Sent: Monday, July 12, 2004 8:32 AM
Subject: And a Cream Colored PU

Hi,glad to hearmfrom you again. My address is ---, Kinsley I hope you can make it for S--s birthday. Hope to see you soon. I have the only home ont he east side of the road. you turn at a convince store called E-Z stop and you turn north and my home is white with blue trim cant miss it. And a cream colored pu with brownish top .our name is on the mail box. Hop to see you soon . Love -Sh

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Sent: Monday, July 12, 2004 1:33 AM
Subject: Humuggity

Dear Sh--:

Well, all my class reunion festivities are finally over, and I'm sitting here in a small pizza place inhaling a medium pizza on Sunday night.

It's been foggy here every day and very high humuggity. A thunderstorm blew through here last night in the wee hours of the morning, but not much rain. The dew has been so thick every night that you have to have a snorkel to breathe.

Unbelievably, I got no rain during my three days on the road. I'll be here a couple more days, and then head south toward Hanston and Kinsley. I don't know how it's going to go down yet, but I hope to get a chance to say hello to You, Uncle Doc, Uncle Lo--, and Jo--.

Love,
-L

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Highway 128, a Quiet Colorado River - July, 2004

Sent: Friday, July 11, 2004 11:54 PM
Subject: Coming Across Colorado

On Wednesday, July 7 I turned east on highway 128 from Moab, joined the Colorado River and followed it for miles up the bottom of a canyon and then finally jumped a short distance over flatter land to I-70. That took about two hours although it was only 43 miles; and the river was fairly good-sized yet, but a pussycat compared with the way it is in the Grand Canyon and south -- slow moving and relatively shallow. Then I headed east on I-70, and shortly I was in Colorado.

From there on, I-70 follows the Colorado River well into the Rocky Mountains, about 2/3 of the way to Denver. And amazingly, it never gains much in altitude all the way through the mountains. When it finally runs out of canyon to follow it goes straight through the mountain. There are four or five tunnels, and two of them are at almost two miles long each. So crossing the entire Rockies the highway never increases much in altitude, it just stays in the bottom of canyons and jumps between them through tunnels.

The other thing that amazed me was that some of those canyons were so narrow that the Interstate had to be built on two levels -- the lower level goes east and the upper level goes west, the west-bound lanes stand on pillars and overlap the east-bound lanes by at least 50%.

Just east of the Eisenhower Tunnel I-70 crosses the continental divide, not far from 11,990-foot Loveland Pass on old highway 6, and eventually it is heading out of the Rockies through a series of canyons that end about twenty miles before Denver. I was somewhat disappointed in that I expected to go over white-capped mountains with an endless vista of snow and whitecaps all around. As I recall, the old highway (before the Interstate) wound through many, many miles of hairpin curves and grades that dragged your speed down to 10 MPH. The best highways through the Rockies were magnificently beautiful, but took hoards of extra time. All in all, what I saw of I-70 is in much better shape for cross-country driving than I-40 was on all six cross-country trips from Phoenix to Memphis that we made in 2002-2003. The road is in much better repair, and there is much less construction going on.

Anyway, I cruised through Denver in the middle of the afternoon and took I-76 northeast into Nebraska and I-80. From the Mile-High City on, of course, the terrain is almost completely flat. About 80 miles out of Denver, I-76 begins following the South Platte River. The South Platte meets up with the North Platte, coming down from Scottsbluff, in North Platte, Nebraska. From there on east it's called the Platte River. Meanwhile, I-80 goes on through North Platte, picks up the Platte River and follows it on into Grand Island.

So I stayed in Grand Island, Nebraska for the night. The first motel I stopped at, more in the middle of town, had their Vacancy light on, but the door to the office was locked and the lights turned out. I banged on the door for a while, but nobody came; then I realized there was a sign that said, "See gas station attendant for room", so I walked over to the adjoining gas station. But their door was locked and their lights were out, and it was obvious there was no one inside. I banged on it a couple of times anyway then started back toward the car. About that time a guy came around the corner from behind the station and asked me what I wanted. "A room", I said. He told me that they didn't take anyone after 11:00 pm. When I pressed him as to why, he explained that they had a lot of trouble with robbery after 11:00 pm. I suggested they turn out their "Vacancy" light, but he didn't respond to the idea.

So I went on down the road to the Lazy V Motel on the other end of town and got a room. I told the clerk the story, and he asked, "Did the guy look like a foreigner?" I said no, and didn't mention that he looked Hispanic to me. "Well," he said, "We have a lot of foreigners here now. Would you believe that when I first came here in the sixties Grand Island was almost 100% Bulgarian White?" I didn't comment on the obvious, that Bulgarian Whites were foreigners once, too; I figured it would be a good idea for the conversation to stop there.

So I got some sleep. Hope you're not getting a lot more rain. More on the rest of the trip later.

-L

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Sent: Sunday, July 11, 2004 9:26 PM
Subject: Birthday Party

got your email, was glad to hear from you. Oh I hope you will have time to see all of us. We are having a birthday party sat. for S-- she will be one year old hope you can make it.

I note from Yv-- Fri . was nice hearing from her ,she said that thet got alittle bit of rain, which I was glad to hear. Hope you are having good traveling weather. Drive careful Love ya -Sh

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Sent: Friday, July 09, 2004 12:39 PM
Subject: Long Hair and Short Grass

Glad to hear from you. By now you have gone quite aways. I hpoe the driving is good and you are not running into storms. I was though Utha 30 years ago I thought it was an awsome trip then nd Arizna been to the grandcanyon. So you re in Sd now. have a safe trip. Your Mom road and said you got off. So was wondering about you . when I lea\rn how to put picture on I will send. So your hair is still long.I saved the picture to show dd when he comes over. Cas-- and his girlfreind installed the cam; C-- is married. So have a safe trip. I will see Yv-- will writ to me if not that is fine. it is wet here but able to mow. The sun is out. Will let you go Love -Sh

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Sent: Friday, July 09, 2004 12:27 PM
Subject: Everything Soggy

By now you should have received my message of two days ago (It just got sent). Yv-- gets online, but she doesn't use email much. You can try to reach her at df@--.com.

I just checked my mail for the first time since leaving Phoenix, so it's backed up on me a little. I'm in Brookings, South Dakota now. More adventures coming across Colorado, which I'll try to relate later. Unbelievably, I did not get rained on once during the whole 1566-mile trip. Everything in S.D. is soggy wet, but so far only dew at night, although it was completely cloudy yesterday. Everything is very green here.

Love,
-L

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Sent: Friday, July 09, 2004 12:15 PM
Subject: Made It to Moab

Approaching Tuba City, Arizona - July, 2003

I made Moab, Utah today (July 6), about 445 miles from Phoenix and about 48 miles from Interstate 70, which is going to take me across Colorado and up into Nebraska tomorrow (God willing, and the creek don't rise).

I took I-17 to Flagstaff, 89 and 160 across the Navajo Indian Reservation to Kayenta, and up 163 through Monument Valley into Utah then turned north on 191 to Moab. I hadn't been that far north of Phoenix for several years, and as usual, the scenery blew me away. Phoenix, being hotter 'n Hades, is about 1000 feet above sea level. By the time you get to Flagstaff you're at 7200 feet. Along the way the temperature drops about as much as you can imagine it would; maybe more. Most of the climb is all in one long hill about 40 miles north of Phoenix, but you do go up and down several times. And of course you leave the desert behind and wind up in the pine trees. But Arizona is still dry even in the pines. Once you leave Flagstaff you leave the pines behind and drop to about 4000 feet, and stay there, mas o meños, all the way into Utah. About 50 miles out of Flag you turn northeast and go through a small town on the reservation named Tuba City. I always wonder how it got its name.

But things really start getting interesting just before Tuba City -- there's a place out there where you can see real dinosaur tracks in the rocks. It was a riverbed about six million years ago, and now it's just red sandstone -- but with dinosaur tracks in it. Those tracks are over two feet across, and you can see toe prints complete with sharp toenails at the tips. I don't know what kind of dinosaur it was. Then at a wide spot in the road a few miles further that makes Gray, Kansas look like a metropolis, you come around a corner and there are two giant rock formations that look like the legs and feet of a giant elephant standing there beside the road. But it's just a rock formation -- a giant one, though. It's called (you already guessed it) Elephant's Feet. It's even labeled that way on the roadmap.

Balanced Rock, Mexican Hat, Utah - July, 2004

I went mostly across the reservation and turned north. In monument valley it looks just like the giant rock towers they always show in old cowboy movies, only a lot more so. Some of those rock monuments are HUGE, and there are a lot of different shapes.

Just after crossing into Utah, I went through a town named Mexican Hat; and when I looked up above the town there was a giant rock pinnacle with a giant rock at least 150 feet across that's shaped like a Mexican Sombrero sitting upside-down on top that pinnacle. So Mexican Hat is named after the Mexican Hat rock that overlooks the town. Ha! I have no idea what keeps it balanced, but it's balanced perfectly on a tiny point that's so small you can hardly see where it touches.

But I had never been very far past Monument Valley before, and Utah was the BIG surprise for me today. Between Arizona and Moab is about every kind of rock monument and weird rock formation you can imagine. There's a place where the San Juan river zigzags so much that they call it Goosenecks National Park. The river has cut so deep into the earth there that if you fell off the edge I think you'd get pretty close to dying of old age before you hit the bottom. (But Grand Canyon in Arizona is deeper.) Anyway, right along the highway to Moab I saw several gigantic rock arches. And all of this part of Utah is made up of bright red sandstone -- HUGE things that stick way up and way down at the same time. Some of it's worn by water, and I think some of it might be worn by wind, too. It's all pretty old, so it's had plenty of time to do it. It's the beginning of an area called Canyonlands that attracts a lot of visitors.

Wilson Arch, - July, 2004

So that was my day. I got in here to a pretty nice motel, the Silver Sage Inn and called Yv-- to let her know that I hadn't fallen off anywhere, so it's time to go to bed and get some rest for tomorrow. I have to drive as close to 600 miles tomorrow as I can.

So you said C-- and his girlfriend put your web-cam together? I understand people really like web-cams, but I don't know a lot about them. Will it take pictures for you to send?

Sorry, I haven't cut my hair yet. Compared with now it was pretty short when that picture of Doc and me was taken!

Bye for now.
-L

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Sent: Tuesday, July 06, 2004 11:23 AM
Subject: A Safe Trip

We got anouther two inches of rain. But the sun is out had a busy fourth my youngest son, girlfriend was here along with her daughter who has down syndrome but cute as good be. Hope you had anic fourth we did. Heard from your Mom also on the fourth I havent heard from our C.J-- yet. I heard from Gl-- finally Have asave trip hope to see you does yv-- get on line. will close for now -Sh

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Sent: Tuesday, July 06, 2004 11:18 AM
Subject: Good 4th, But It Was On the 5th

We had a good 4th, but it was on the 5th. Yesterday we had a house-full with kids and grandkids from around town. I haven't heard from C.J-- for some time, although I did send her an email address update recently. If you get a chance, tell her to give me a shout via email. I'm leaving this morning for Brookings, S.D., and will be coming back through Kansas sometime after the 13th. If you have time I'll keep the dialog going as I proceed. No rain here; mucho sunshine as usual. But the monsoon is supposed to hit next week; then no more evenings down to 75 degrees, but probably no rain until August.

Gotta go and see how far I can get by tonight; it's 11:15 here and I should have left hours ago. Saying goodbye to Yv-- is hard; we haven't been apart longer than part of a day for over ten years and we're very compatible; soul mates.

Love,
-L

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Sent: Saturday, July 03, 2004 7:58 PM
Subject: Thanks For the Sunshine

thankyou for the picture saved it to show dad I remember your long hair Ill have to send you one when I get my camera hooked up thankyou for the sunshine it hasnt rained in two days now did you get some rain

got your letter a few seconds ago got a not efrom Ca-- Fri well I tryed to seen you rain so I guess I will settle for the sunshine my sons new girlfriend and of course cas-- was here for the weekend they just left she in stalled my webcam and mic. along with dig so when I get more use to doing pictures I llseen yuou I remember your long hair I hope you have cut it since than will close for now -sh

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Photo Copyright Curtis M. Fox - March, 2000

Sent: Saturday, July 03, 2004 9:27 AM
Subject: Borrowed Hair

Hey, good. It takes a little practice to get the pictures from the camera and send them in email, but it's well worth it. I'm looking forward to any pictures you take with it.

Meanwhile, here's a picture of me with your dad in March 2000. He flipped my hair up on top of his head just as the picture was being snapped. He said I wouldn't miss it if he borrowed a little. I still haven't cut it.

Naw! I still didn't get any rain! It's like that here. Our rain always seems to come in August. We get the whole annual rainfall of 7" in August. If you go out of town that weekend you miss it. They call it the monsoon here. We have low humidity year-round except in July and August. The monsoon is when the humidity goes from 10% to 70%. It stays there for one to two months until the August rain, and then drops back to 10%. It's starting upward now, but hasn't gotten anywhere high enough for a rain. There'll be two to four weeks of dust storms first. They'll blow through in 15 minutes to an hour, coming from the south. When the August rains occur, the leading edge of it will be a dust storm. They're nothing like I hear Kansas was back in the thirties, though, they're just light things that stir up a lot of dust for a short time.

My brother-in-law once explained Arizona this way, "Arizona is the only place in the country you can be standing in mud up to your ass and have dust blow in your face."

But I'm glad you got some of my sunshine. I'll try to bring you some more when I come through there.

-L

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Sent: Friday, July 02, 2004 6:51 PM
Subject: Duncrossing

will at least you tryed with the sunshine it was out today but we are to get more rain tell your mom that Duncrossing is under water  I have a camera for it I just haven to hook it up so I will do that tonite -Sh

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Sent: Friday, July 02, 2004 8:19 AM
Subject: Bottled Sunshine

I tried to bottle some of our sunshine, but every time I do it I look in the bottle later, and it's dark in there. Can you get pictures in your email? If you can, here's some other sunshine. If the pictures don't show up in your email, try double-clicking on the little picture symbol if there is one. These pictures are Sha--, our next to youngest granddaughter; and she's quite a show-out.

Love,
-L

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Sent: Thursday, July 01, 2004 10:13 PM
Subject: Movie Theater

Oh I thouht he retired already yes we still have movie theater only open once month well Ill try to send you some her are some rain drops \\\\\;;;;;;'''''''' these are your rain drops it is trying to rain more I'll trade the rain for some sunshine -sh

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Sent: Thursday, July 01, 2004 9:37 PM
Subject: Sunshine For Rain

Woah! We don't get but about 7" in a whole year, and never over about 1/4" at a time, maximum.

I think he's just retiring now. I'm not sure, though, because I've heard that several times in the last couple of years. I do know that they're getting ready to move to a different house.

Do you still have a movie theater in Kinsley? Mom says they had one when she was a kid.

Wish we could trade -- some of my sunshine for some of your rain.

-L

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Sent: Thursday, July 01, 2004 12:29 AM
Subject: Unfixable

It is me again just a short note we got inch of rain again yesterday you can have some of ours got anouher inch during the noc and now it trying to fain again             yup the school is gone unfixable I hope to hear from C-- and your mom it is raining here.Cant do anything outside so will play on the com

is Ca-- retired it is almost mednoc and kinda pass bed time so will say good nocLove -Sh

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Sent: Wednesday, June 30, 2004 11:43 AM
Subject: Cats and Dogs

Ok, I've sent your email address on to Ca--; hopefully he'll hear from you soon. So the old school house is still standing. Wow!

I'm sending your messages on to my mom. You should be hearing from her soon.

Sorry to hear the crops weren't better this year. It's been raining cats and dogs in South Dakota off and on for months. There are new lakes there that weren't there when I was a kid. Is your husband a farmer?

-L

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Sent: Monday, June 28, 2004 4:51 PM
Subject: Hailed Out

Okay on the time part of the road is pavd then dirt he way is up through Rozel and I dont like it is fast to go acroos country up by St. Peter and Puals cat church and get on St Marys road than on to Grandpas side road up pass the old oilwell school house and Aunt Ir-- farm and the road is better when it hasnt rain much some of the farmers around here got haied out and some of the wheat didnt head out and I am glad it is not that hot hre all he time tell your mom I have the RR it came sat. and I will mail it Thurs or Fri. trying to read and re read the letters. and writing down e-mail adresses and phone num. hey what is Ca-- doing you can give him my email address -Sh

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Sent: Monday, June 28, 2004 4:36 PM
Subject: Smoke and Mirrors

It's about 4:35 pm. The time I send the message should be displayed in the message where it says "Sent", and it only takes a few seconds for a message to get there (believe it or not!).

Do you have pavement all the way from Kinsley to Hanston, or is it still a gravel road?

-L

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Sent: Monday, June 28, 2004 3:26 PM
Subject: All Gone

that was fast ya ya I dont think I want to be 8 again but then I wouldnt have to worry abouts and neither would and Grandpa would still be here and the farm there is nothing left out there it is all gone but you knew that we have had over 4" since week ago thurs. and I didnt go home because of it I dont like the long way what time is out there or are we the same time well I guess you might know my age you it right on the button but I dont act it at times         -Sh

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Sent: Monday, June 28, 2004 2:55 PM
Subject: Cute as a Bug in a Sow's Ear

That's neat that C-- and his wife can take care of your dad. When he was down here about 8 years ago he was as sprite as ever! I'll bet that baby is cute. Our 4 month old is, too. Her name is Destiny. She has a 3 year-old sister that's cute as a bug in a sow's ear! Yv-- works for hospitals and medical insurance companies. Sometimes filing insurance claims, and sometimes billing or collecting -- stuff like that.

As usual, we have sunny weather here, but always dry and always over 100 degrees this time of year. Still, it's usually more comfortable than Kansas because of the low humidity. I hear it's been raining quite a lot there, and in South Dakota, too.

The last time I saw you (not including Aunt Cl--'s funeral) you must have been about 8. I was hoping you were still around that age!     :-)

Email is a heck of a lot easier to deal with than writing and mailing letters, and you get almost instant gratification!

I'm going on 63 (August), and not doing much of anything except working on my web site.

Let me see, I'm guessing you're the grand old age of 54. How close did I get?

Love,
-L

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Sent: Monday, June 28, 2004 2:43 PM
Subject: MY DARLING AUNT

Hi again hey you are right this is better than writing a letter and mailing than wait for an aswer and it has been a long time since I talked to you or seen you hope you can come this way love to see What is Yv-- doing I hope she isnt working to hard tell her I said hi the weather cant make up its mind here it was trying to rain but decided not the sun is out but this Kan.

It is nice that MY DARLING AUNT is doing great for being 90 yrs young my dad is 81 now Yes I talk to C-- alot or rather is wonderful new wife he remarried almost two yrs ago and they are ones with the 11 month old her name is S-- incase noone told you and they live with my dad and she keeps him going. will I am going to for now Dont you work to hard         Love -Sh

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Sent: Monday, June 28, 2004 11:45 AM
Subject: Grandkids

It's great hearing from you! We must keep in touch. I'm hoping to come through Kansas on my way back from South Dakota in about the middle of July. If I make it I won't have long to spend, but I want to see as many people as I can and maybe walk some of the pastureland and creeks that used to be on Grandpa's farm. If I can make it I'll let you know, if you'd like to take a minute and visit when I come through.

It looks like you're doing great with the email. So with Yahoo Messenger you get to talk back and forth in real-time with C-- I'll bet; that's great!

Yes, the grandkids do grow fast - like weeds! Mom is doing well for a 90-year-old. She gets around pretty well, and even drives a few blocks sometimes, but she doesn't have so good balance; sometimes she falls down. But she's never hurt herself. I guess she's going to visit Aunt R-- with my sister K--'s daughter, Le--, early in July.

Gotta go. Respond when you have time.

Love,
-L

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Sent: Monday, June 28, 2004 11:20 AM
Subject: Hey!

It's your cousin, Hey it is nice to have e-mail I just have to know how to use mail part of it my son C-- who leaves my dad has yahoo messenger msn I was real glad to hear from so you have a lot of grandkis I have seven ranging from 5 to 11 months they grow so fast yes my youngest son lives in Salina and loves it. He has agirlfreind who has a com. How is my darling aunt your mom It is quiet here just got a message from Aunt R-- so well sign off now Love -Sh

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Sent: Monday, June 28, 2004 8:38 AM
Subject: Hey Shelly!

It's your cousin, L--!

So you're on the Internet. Great! It's a lotta fun, but don't fall for any scams! Let's see, you have kids in Salina?

Two of mine are here in Phoenix and one is in San Francisco. With my wife's kids, we have eight in all, plus spouses and significant others, and 12 grandchildren from the ages of 17 all the way down to 4 months.

You live in Kinsley, right? What's going on in Kinsley nowadays?

-L

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1Lone Tree is reported to have been the first tree in eastern South Dakota, before the state was planted by settlers. Although the name survives, the tree disappeared sometime in the late 1800's.

 
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