Saturday, July 29, 2006

Farm Life

We arrived in IL today. We went through a town called Cairo, that looked like everyone packed up and left. The buildings were mostly standing, but there were few people -- like a ghost town.

On the farm we got a tour, the went to one of the fields to let the boys pick some sweet corn. After picking they shucked it and then dug some potatoes.

Dinner was all farm fresh. While we were eating the family began to call. There are 76 within 8 miles. Only a portion came by, more will be by to view us on Saturday for dinner.

After dinner the boys tried to put fireflys into a jar, not much luck, but a fun time.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Not Greece

Nashville TN has a full-size scale replica of the Parthenon. We stopped for a look, then went on to the state capitol. We went through security, then while we were looking around a man came up and offered the boys some state pins. Then began to tell us all about the building and state history. I asked him what he did for the state, he said that he was the Secretary of State. Wow. He then took us to his office where he signed some books for the boys, and let them sit in his chair. We took several pictures (with the real camera, so they will be posted later) with the boys in his chair and him standing next to them.

We spent more time with us telling us inside info on the state, and its favorite son: 'Without Tennessee there would be no Texas.'

Paducah KY

We arrived in Paducah, to visit with Kerry's great aunt. We sat visiting for a bit, then she suggested that she take us on a tour of her town. She knows everyone and everything. It was a wonderful tour. She took us down to the riverfront to see the river and the paintings on the levys. When we arrived at the river front there was a festival celebrating the town.

One of the contests was for Oreo stacking. Campbell entered and won 1st place in his age group! Dispite the wind he managed to stack 20 high, even the 14+ group only got 26 (the oldest in that group was a man about my age).

You never know what you you'll find on a road trip.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A rose by any other name

We spent 2 days in Atlanta visiting friends. There are several families from GCC that have recently moved into the area. We visited the Aquarium with the Kahls, we also spent 2 nights at their house. We had a great visit, and were encouraged to see how their children have grown. We also got gas in the worst area in Atlanta - right next to the Projects, lots of fun.

We also visited with the Neals, they have returned home from GCC and seem to be well settled in Georgia.

Then off to the North side of Atlanta to see the Geoffs. The boys loved seeing them again.

Three families, each with their own take of Georgia living, each a blessing to be with.

At one of the houses (I won't say which) Kerry learned to make TP welcome roses - Southern Hospitality.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

What are you looking at?

No Smoking?

A very particular law - no TOBACCO smoking. I'd expect this kind of law in CA or WA, but not here in the South. Hip-Hop friendly. Who would have known?

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Friday, July 21, 2006

A time to play

The boys take some time to play in the rain. They ran around, reclined in the puddles, and had a great time.

Earlier today Campbell caught several different kinds of lizards, and one wet toad.

Campbell even got one a dollar from Pop by catching a blue racer - a very fast variety.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Heretic Tour Part 2

On our way to visit Kerry's aunt we drove past the Jimmy Swaggart World Ministry facility. Kerry and I visited here about 16 years ago shortly after his fall. The facilities are now discolored and not in good repair. What was once a huge campus, is now a few dozen buildings. How he still gets people to send him money is beyond me. He recently purchased a radio station kicked off David Jeremiah and others and replaced it with himself, his son, and others of that ilk.

People in this area still call the campus 'Swaggartyville'.

Our Trip

We've been doing puzzles after dinner. This partial puzzle shows all the states we will visit on this trip. It's much bigger than the boys thought.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Unleash the Champion

On our way out of Houston we stopped at Lakewood Community Church to see what it is they do. Everything is large, lots of free parking, shuttles, and enough bathrooms for a stadium - well it was a stadium in 2002.

Today was communion - Mrs Osteen led that portion of the service. Joel prayed that we all would become the champions that God wants us to be.

The music was so loud Campbell had to put his fingers in his ears. We stood for all the opening music (30 mins). They had a time where you could come forward for prayer - complete with Kleenex. Then then communion. The best part was that in this huge crowd not one person broke their cup! Also not one cell phone rang.

The message was 20 mins and vapid.

The bookstore was the best they had everything: holy hardware, trinkets, books,DVDs, and more. They had 5 titles of John MacArthur books, several copies of each. The most ironic was _Hard to Believe_ I found it hard to believe that they would have any MacArthur books, let alone that one. Maybe someone will read it.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Ready for flight

Copper is getting ready for his flight in a T-38. Not really. But we got to see the aircraft that Barry flies, along with about 12 others all parked in a hanger for the weekend. Saturday we are taking the regular NASA tour. The boys are looking forward to seeing it all.

Houston -- The Ficketts have landed

After a nice drive through the Texas hill country, we arrived in Houston. After checking into our hotel we met up with GTY friend Barry, an astronaut. He took us on a behind the scenes tour of NASA. We visited the original Mission Countrol, in active use from the beginning space program through the start of the Shuttle missions. Then we went to the Control Center for the ISS. We got to walk on the floor (where this photo was taken), it was amazing to see all the technology and people necessary to support the manned space program.

From here we went to see Barry's office where we got to see where he works from time-to-time, and meet some other astronauts from his class.

Remember the Alamo?

People here remember the Alamo, the guard when you enter whacked a man and made him remove his hat - no pictures, no cell phones, only quiet, as you remember the sacrifice for freedom that was made here.

Ironically most of the guards are of Mexican descent; what would Crockett, Bowie, Travis, and Bonham think?

First Cracker Barrel

They loved the games you can play while you wait for your food. A great breakfast after the luxury of last night.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Not Salisbury

This is just what you should expect if you travel with the Ficketts - the odd roadside attraction. This version of Stonehenge is ar 2/3 scale and is in a field in Hunt TX. Besides the Stonehenge, there are also 2 Easter Island statues.

We walked around them like Druids, while avoiding the Texas-sized fire ants.

Tomorrow - the Alamo.

Caution Slow Children

We found a park in Kerrville for the boys to play at. Like many parks in California this one has 2 play areas - one for younger children, the other for older. This one has suggested ages for each area. The play equipment in this picture says it is designed for children ages 5 to 12. In California no child over 8 would play on this baby equipment. Perhaps in Texas the children grow slow, or they are slow.

Guadalupe River

After checking into our luxury motel we went down to the river. Nice cool breeze. The boys tossed sticks into the river and watched them float away. Today's car time was long with few breaks - & west Texas does not have the best views for most of the way. I set a new speed record for the Odyssey today in the downhill I-10: 101 MPH. I did not think I was going that fast when I glanced down and was shocked. I slowed down. BTW on this road the limit is 80.

Luxury for less

The motto for tonight's motel is 'Luxury for Less'. This must be some aspect of luxury that I'm not familiar with. All the m/hotels we've stayed at (till tonight) have been very nice and clean. This one is clean, but nothing more. The included breakfast will be served in a room with 1 table 4 chairs, a broken toaster, and zero charm. For what we are paying I was not expecting charm, but since it was billed as luxury I was expecting something. I think what they wanted as a motto the printers all got wrong 'Less Luxury' or 'Less Than Luxury'. With this hotel, we could not even say, "But the view... look at the view."

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

New Mexico

Today we spent 5 hours underground in a cave. No we did not get stuck, we just had a great time. We hike, ate, and enjoyed. After our underground time we had a picnic with a great view, then went to watch the bats leave the cave. Wow. The boys both loved this part.

Campbell also found a huge (by California standards) millipede, about 5 inches long. The treo camera could not take decent pix in the caves, so I'll post those later.

Monday's dinner

Slightly out of order - last night we had dinner at Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa AZ. Where else can you sit inside the world'd largest Wurlitzer organ and eat pizza? It was great - the boys loved the Star Wars theme with trumpets. All the music was fun and enjoyable, except for 'Titanic' it's always bad. Thanks to Sean for pointing us there.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


We drove 45 miles out of our way to visit Saguaro National Park - only to find that it's main loop was closed. They directed us to a trail head for a hike 2 miles further away. We had a nice short hike in the blazing 94f sun. BTW it's only 10am, can't wait till the heat of the day.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Ahh the view

It's 3pm and we are at our hotel. C1 looked out the window and informed us 'we have a pool view'. Note that there is no one in the pool - at 110 it is too hot to be outside.

We stopped at the Capitol building and had a nice walk around the building and gardens. The gardens had a nice rock and dirt motif, which was enjoyable in the dry heat of AZ. The van got 23.5 MPG on this uphill leg.

A journey of 1000 miles blah blah blah

Well we are off. We got up early, beat the traffic and made it to Banning for breakfast. At Cabazon it was hot and windy, with rampaging lizards stomping about. In AZ at the border rest stop it was 100 at 10:20. Should be a cool day.

We are staying Mesa tonight - we wanted our first day to be small so the boys could get used to the car trip. We will see how they do in 5000 miles.