Christmas 2006

We left our house December 22 at 7:51 PM.  We made a few initial stops to get out of town, such as buying beer, buying Kitty and Mari some dinner, and gassing up the car.  Finally on the road with the purpose of heading east about 8:40.  We're pretty much on schedule as we're getting on the road within twelve hours of our initial planned departure time.  I just want it known up front, that neither wife or daughter were dressed when I got home from the office!  

It's a nice night for driving.  The weather is clear and dry.  The road has been recently repaved, and we're not fighting over what to listen to on the radio.  Perhaps that's because Mari is wearing headphones, and Kitty is asleep.  We stopped as we usually do in Columbia, MO to let Ann and Jim know where we'd made it.  They were just north of Branson.  The road to Branson is almost all four lane now, which makes for a quick trip.

The Arch was pretty as it was somewhat shrouded when we went by.  Mari was awake enough to remember the City Museum in St. Louis, and how much she enjoyed going there.  She'd like to stop there on the way back.

So we arrived in Evansville about 3 AM, and are staying in a Comfort Inn north of I64.

December 23, 2006

The new day has dawned bright and clear, thank goodness for heavy drapes over the windows.  Just to spice things up, here's a picture of Kitty taking a shower.

Kitty showering.

And here's one of the kid.  We'll be able to embarrass her with this for years to come.

Mari sleeping

The hotel had the usual assortment of tourist brochures, though there wasn't one for the LST 325, which I'm sure was an oversight.  The LST is mentioned in other brochures.  One brochure, "The Evansville Regional ECO Guide" is pretty nice.  Perhaps we can visit the Angel Mounds State Historic site on our return trip.  http://www.AngelMounds.org.  I suspect this would be a good time of year to view the mounds, as the vegetation wouldn't be obscuring much.  It's kind of funny, but once Mari woke up, Kitty and she used the high speed Internet access in the room to watch a Naruto episode.

We passed into Kentucky at 1:20, and spent a couple of hours at the mall in Louisville.  Eventually we made our way to Lexington, and hooked up with Karen, Beth, and Chris.  The weather continues to be pleasant and clear.

Arrived Beckley, West Virginia about 11:40 PM.  Staying at a Best Western.  We've got 250 miles to drive tomorrow.  And so to bed.

December 24, 2006

Awake, showered, and out about 10.  We drove 412 miles to get to Beckley, WV, which is almost the same amount we drove the day before.  Mari and I checked the oil, radiator fluid, and tire pressures.  Breakfast was provided by McDonalds.  The day is clear and it was a wonderful drive through the mountains.  How settlers made it through these parts is pretty much beyond me.  Because it's winter, the vegetation is minimal, and you can see the geology.  Saw some pretty interesting examples of uplift.  I wanted to stop and dig up a rhododendrum, but didn't - perhaps on the return.  We made it to North Carolina, and a pretty nice rest stop.  So far we've driven in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina.  There was a sign that identified the area as part of the Blue Mountain plauteau, which isn't really a word I normally associate with this kind of terrain.  I guess I'll have to check out what it means.

Arrived at Bob and Connie's a bit after 2.  They were at church with Bill, Helen, and Karl.  

Now we've wrapped presents, eaten, and drunk.  Must be time for a traditional Christmas movie, like Pirates of the Caribbean II.

The morning will come, and we'll unwrap the presents and eat and drink even more.  The verbal commitments to avoid discussions of politics and religion are holding.  Perhaps Bob has missed his true calling of being in the diplomatic service.  The stockings have been hung with care.

Stockings hung with care
  

And so to bed.

December 25, 2006, Christmas Day

The weather has changed - overcast and rainy.  Bob and Connie's kids were up first, these two took a bit more persuasion to greet the day.  No sign of Helen, Bill, and Karl.  At about the same time we discussed their whereabouts, the radio broadcast "Grandma got run over by a reindeer."  Maybe it's a sign.

BethMari

Jake collectsMari collects

Alexis collectsAbigail chews

Marisomething

Jake and AlexisMore to come

December 26, 2006

Attended the hockey game between the Hurricanes and Pathers this evening.  Ate dinner before hand at Moe's Mexican.  It was pretty good.  The owner is friends with Bob and Connie.  The 'canes won 4 -2.  Alexis and Mari had their pictures projected onto the scoreboard a couple of times during the game.  Bill and Helen had a fight occur right in front of them during the game!

December 27, 2006

Left Cary, North Carolina about 10:30 AM after having said our goodbyes to Bob, Alexis, Helen, and Bill.  Didn't drive far before we stopped for gas, airing up the tires and breakfast.  Karen, Chris, and Beth left a bit before us.  It's a beautiful day for travelling.

Stopped in Lexington, Kentucky for a bit.  Took a look at Karen's home PC.  At a rest stop in Kentucky we saw a family of mice living under a light pole near the door to the rest rooms.  They were pretty cute dragging french fries back to their home.

December 28, 2006

Evansville, Indiana at last, about 2 AM.  We've stopped at a hotel south of I64.  The Indiana tourism guide had an ad for it - a room for $35.  Includes a pool, sauna, and high speed Internet.  The tourism guide shows that Angel Mounds is closed at this time of year.   Time now to shower and head out for the day.