I went on another traveling adventure these past four days. I had not seen my Uncle Larry or Cousin Eddie (yes his name is really Eddie) since Emily and I went to visit in January of 2016. I was shocked when Eddie pointed it out.
I cannot go anywhere without looking on my Roadside America app and seeing what bizarre things I can find along the way. When I saw the drugstore where Pepsi was created was still in business I had to go to New Bern North Carolina to see it. The store was cute with all Pepsi stuff and my sister and I enjoyed looking at it.
We ended up staying to find more roadside America stuff
As the sun dropped all the Christmas lights came on and a band was playing Christmas music. It was seventy degrees outside and I thought to myself this is how warm Christmas should be. Forget snow. Hahaha. So we walked around looking in all the little shops. It was a quaint little town that I’d recommend visiting if you are ever in the area.
Mole Moral ~ Diet Dr. Pepper is actually the best soda. Hmm sounds like it’s time to plan another trip.
About a month ago I was talking about this trip at work during a case. The CRNA student is from Utah and said if you go to Zion you must do Angel’s landing. He told me that towards the end there are chains to hold onto so you don’t crash one thousand feet down. My high fall risk self vetoed that immediately. And then we arrived at Zion.
First of all, I was not impressed with Zion. It is way too crowded and parking is ridiculous. Our first day we wandered in at ten and there were zero parking places. So we went out of the park to Springdale where they charge forty bucks a spot. Every spot was taken so we parked in the lot for the hotel and risked being towed. The next day we arrived at seven-thirty and the parking lot was two-thirds full. So if you are going to go to Zion get there early.
On our second day I was peer pressured by Brian to do angels landing. When we reached this sign he said I could wait for him.
There was no way he was calling me a chicken for life so we trudged along. The climb up to the point of the chains was intense to say the least but we made it and I didn’t die.
Brian tried to tell me this was wider than five feet. I said sure crackhead and looked straight ahead and at my feet. No way was I looking down.
We made it to the top. The scenery was breathtaking but it was so crowded we didn’t stay long. We feared we’d get shoved off the edge so we headed back down. Going down all that was way scarier than up.
This last photo is the switchbacks. Going down was easy, coming up was a workout.
So the question I know everyone is asking, did she fall? And the answer is of course I did. It was at the very end of coming down the chain section. I was literally ten feet from a no fall climb and thinking about the text I was going to send to Dr. Heavey about not falling (he loves to keep track of how many times a trip over stuff )when I hit sand and went sliding lost my balance and fell backwards landing hard on the left side of my butt. My poor left side looks like Brian beat me when in fact I’m just a clumsy bull in a China cabinet.
The reason this hike is so risky is because of the massive amount of people going up and down at the same time. Many get impatient and rock jump and shove around slow people. The crna student told me the park is going to make it a permit only hike which I think is a great idea for safety. They were all set to do it and then guess what? Covid of course.
Mole Moral ~ Amazing things happen when you step out of your comfort zone as the next two blogs will show.
It was thirty-nine years ago this week that I first met Gary Lindsay. You see I was a sophomore in high school and our band director Mr. Butler sent a note home stating Fox High School would be hosting an all boy marching band from Johannesburg South Africa and he was looking for host families. Of course I immediately asked my mother if we could host one and she said yes. I knew this would be one of those once in a life time moments but I had no idea at the time how much this one moment would change the course of my life.
I remember telling my mother I hope we get a drummer. The boys either played trumpet or drums. I’m not sure why I wanted a drummer but we got a trumpet player named Gary. If I remember correctly their flight was late getting in so by the time they arrived at the school it was ten at night. Gary was assigned to the Carty girls and I swear we didn’t even make it home before we started fighting like brother and sister.
They were with us for two weeks and it really was an incredible time. Their band was amazing and for the longest time we had a recording of them and also of our band on a vcr tape. Someone broke into our house and stole it with some other stuff. I’m sure they thought it was a sex tape and attempted to watch it and were sorely disappointed. By the time they had left some of the American parents had gotten together and wanted the Fox marching band to go to South Africa. So plans were made and fundraising began and I went to South Africa the following August. I spent the first half of that trip with Gary and his family and the second half with Anton and his family.
After that trip we kept in touch with letters that would take close to three weeks to arrive once sent. Oh the horrors as I can post this blog and within seconds everyone in South Africa could read it. Gary graduated from hotel school having studied hotel management but then joined Covenant Players which is a missionary based theater company that has troops in thirty countries. I believe this is where he met Heidi who eventually became his wife. They then came to America with Covenant Players where they worked on the east coast. However headquarters was located on the West Coast so every summer they had to drive across the entire United States and back. They spent their first Christmas in America with my family. Gary and Heidi were also in town when I gave birth to Kayla. It was always such an exciting time when Gary and Heidi were coming.
They eventually settled down out on the east coast and Gary started working in children’s ministry. They had a couple of kids and have lived in Texas, California and Washington. When Emily took her first travel job as a brand new physical therapist she was close to where Gary and Heidi were living and spent her first Christmas away from home with them. So Christmas came full circle.
Gary and Heidi are two of the most amazing, fun, and free spirited people I’m close with. Brian and I wanted them to raise our kids if we both should die. I can’t tell you how many times they asked if we would just die so they could live with Gary and Heidi. With Allyson being twenty now they escaped the nightmare of life with moles except on vacation.
Im pretty sure I started calling Gary a dork that first night we met. I spent the past four days with him and forgot to say it so I decided a special blog was in order. What a wonderful friend. I’m so thankful the school that was suppose to host them all those years ago backed out and that the band teacher and my mom said yes. Such a life long blessing.
After we came down from the Space Needle I spotted this little gem.
I was instantly transported back to my childhood. I remember these little machines from the St. Louis Zoo and they would make animals. I vaguely remember an orange giraffe. So I texted the girls and told them where I was at as they had to see this. Masks were required inside the space needle so it’s hard to see how thrilled they were at my insanity.
So I put in my five dollars and fired up the machine while reading this was available at the Worlds Fair in 1962. The machine did its magic.
The girls were amazed how hot the plastic was when it came out. It took about five minutes to cool down. Emily immediately claimed it to sit on her desk. Her dad tells her that he had a lot of these as a kid and they break easy. He followed that statement up with well I use to throw them and hit stuff with them.
Mole moral ~ Never doubt your mother when she says she has something cool to show you.
My obsession with Roadside America continues. As soon as I read about Waldo park, I knew we had to stop and see it. Fortunately Emily had already planned to take us to Silver State Park to do a ten waterfall hike so it was nearby.
Waldo Park is one of the smallest parks in America measuring 12×20 feet. It consists of one giant sequoia tree planted on his property by Marion Waldo in 1872. It was a sapling when he planted it. When he sold his land to the city of Salem a condition was that the tree must be preserved. The tree became a city park in 1936. The tree is currently 85 feet tall.
After our anniversary trip in 2015 to Sequoia National Park Brian brought home sequoia cones determined to grow his own tree and plant it on our property. So old Mr. Waldo fulfilled Brian’s dream but he used a sapling. Brian did in fact get one to grow to about two inches high and he named it the Great Mobowsky (the biggest tree in Sequoia National Park is named General Sherman). Sadly, Brian’s tree got too hot and died. Yes, he was spying cones at this site to try again but none were closed. So no Mobowsky at the property any time soon.
Mole Moral ~ If at first you don’t succeed move to a cooler zone and try try again.
Voodoo doughnuts started in Portland Oregon. Two friends got together and realized there wasn’t a single doughnut shop in Portland so in 2003 they rented a hole-in-the-wall storefront scrunched between two Old Town nightclubs, joked to friends and family about being bent on “world doughnut domination,” and opened Voodoo Doughnut. Their initial pastry offerings were a mix of the classic and the unconventional. (This is from their website). They opened a second location in 2008 and to date have twenty stores in five states.
It was Emily’s idea to go there and since they have a huge wait all day long every day we were smart and ordered for pick up. Or so we thought. First I conned Kayla in to posing for this picture.
Then Emily and I proceed in the door while some kid yells at us and says end of line back there. Emily informs him we ordered online. So we walk in and promptly get yelled at for being inside. This girl asks our name and tells us we are at the wrong store. She even looked at the address and said nope wrong place. So this runs off the rest of our group while Emily calls the number. Are you ready for it….
We were indeed at the correct store. Emily tells the guy on the phone the girl was very rude. He says come back and I’ll bring donuts out. As soon as we walk by another guy in line said they called your name as soon as you left. So the guy comes out super nice. He said they have had a mass exodus so short staffed and everyone tense. I said I totally understand I’m a nurse. Anyway he said no excuse to snap at paying costumers so he’d chat with her.
Michael does research and apparentlya bunch left with the heatwave. They do not have AC out here because it normally doesn’t run in the hundreds. The staff wanted the doughnut shop to close during heat wave and they were told no. I get working in heat. Our one GI doc is from Puerto Rico and always has the room at 76. He normally has two shirts and PPE and will still say he’s cold. Sometimes he has long Johns on as well. The dude is crazy.
Mole Moral ~ Never doubt your location when you checked it three times before ordering. Doubt the employees who do not know the address of where they work!!
Way back when I was a kid, probably around the age of twelve or thirteen because we lived on Glen Haven in the “black shack” (another story for another time) I made a batch of peanut butter cookies. Those who have seen me cook or bake know I am horribly messy. As we are eating the cookies some flour had spilled on the table. My mother looks at it and it is moving. She announces we have boll weevils in the flour but the ones in the cookies are dead so we eat them anyway. This was way before computers or the internet so I couldn’t look them up. It’s a good thing because they are pretty gross. Imagine my excitement when I’m looking for places on Roadside America close to Troy and there is a boll weevil monument thirty minutes away. Emily says we must go because my mother has told her the peanut butter cookie story more than once.
Upon reading up I discover boll weevils eat cotton and destroyed the cotton crop in the early nineteen hundreds. This caused the town of Enterprise to plant peanuts instead and saved the town. The monument should have been to George Washington Carver but would never have happened in the south at this time period due to segregation. So a man named Roscoe Fleming set about to construct a monument to the boll weevil.
The history was crazy. First of all it was a statue of a Greek woman wearing a Peplos holding an oil lamp over her head. It was in the middle of a giant bowl and water shot out the end of the lamp. However it was too powerful and the fountain was only used once. Before the streets were paved mules would drink from the bowl. There was no boll weevil on the statue until 1949 and the first was the size of a fist. The bug was stolen in 1953, 1974, 1981, and 1985. Each time the weevil was made larger. Then on July 11, 1998 not only was the weevil stolen but the lady’s arms were ripped off. Fear not, a mold of the entire monument had been made in 1996 and exact replica was cast out of unbreakable polymer resin. They say the new weevil is the size of a basset hound. I got super close to it and it did not look as big as a basset hound.
The monument sits in the middle of the intersection but since it was a Sunday there was no traffic.
The town was super cute and since Emily is a foodie she found a couple restaurants that they want to come back and check out. I also enjoyed the murals. Sadly it was Sunday so the Boo weevil museum was closed.
However, boo weevils are not found in flour. Boo weevils eat cotton. Flour weevils live in flour and eat the dust. I was going to go into more detail but after reading up on them, I really just want to vomit so if you are interested just google.
Mole moral ~ A fun story about me will forever live in Emily’s memories when she thinks about the three months she worked in Alabama. Also I have thrown out all the flour! Hahaha
I think I discovered Roadside America looking for the biggest ball of twine. I’m blaming this on my father-in-law Larry. I believe it was our South Dakota trip that the girls and I took with him and my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law and her son. When we were planning it, I wanted to stop at Laura Ingall’s Wilders house and he was teasing me about the biggest ball of twine. This was long before I had an iPhone or new what an app was.
I was looking at places to see since rain was predicted all weekend in Destin. I discovered Cross Garden, Hell’s warning label. Reading up on it, it reminded me of Salvation Mountain. I had drug Emily and Micheal there last summer so they were down for going. Just as we arrived it started raining.
Salvation Mountain is out in California and looking at it gave a sense of peace and love on an acid trip. Driving up to the crosses was scary. Granted the man had passed away in 2004 and it has not been kept up. I felt like I was back in the Baptist church I attended from the age of five to twelve. I could almost hear Reverend Starke yelling during the alter call, “if Jesus is calling you to be saved and you don’t come to the alter and die this week you will go to Hell”. I also thought this represents the south and the Baptist church. I’ll include a few pictures and then copy and paste some information from Roadside America. I found the story fascinating.
Rice started putting up the crosses in 1976 after his mother died. Actually his parents grave markers are in the front yard of his house. We decided it must be abandoned but paid for because even his red truck with the crosses on it sits under the carport. We didn’t walk on the property but viewed from the street. It was a little too frightening. He felt he was like Noah and called by God to make these crosses. Sadly he only believed two percent of the population would go to Heaven and the rest would burn in hell where it is hot, hot, hot.
I found pictures on the internet of what he looked like and what it looked like when it was kept up. It was much better but still as scary as the thought of hell. I’m glad we went to view it. Tomorrow we will going back to Montgomery to see another attraction that triggered a childhood memory that my mother will enjoy and will live forever thanks to the Internet and this blog.
Mole Moral ~ Don’t let it rain on your plans, find something just as fun to do!!
Sometime back in April my good friend Laura told me about a job website called indeed. So I downloaded it to my phone and starting looking at what types of jobs were available in the area. I hadn’t looked anywhere outside of the hospital I worked at in almost thirty years. This is foreshadowing so pay attention. Within the first week a job popped up with Washington University looking for a volunteer camp nurse in August. The camp was called Camp Kesem and it is for kids whose parents have or had cancer. It would be held in Burbon Missouri.
After doing a little internet research, I felt called to apply for the position. However the last time I did a resume was in 1998 when I applied for the school nurse position at Abiding Savior Lutheran School. That was before I even owned a computer so it would have been typed on my electric typewriter. So I called upon my friend Liz to help me out. I filled in the blanks on this resume template and Liz worked her magic. After I finished reading it, I said to myself even I would hire me.
After submitting my resume, I heard back within an hour or two and as long as I passed the background check, camp was game on. It gave me something new to look forward to over the summer.
Camp is run by volunteer college students. The camp also only uses Nicknames. I got to pick mine so being the original weirdo I am, I came up with nurse Red. (At least it wasn’t rachrn34, my other go to name.) This makes being able to blog even better because my readers will not know anyone’s real names. So Beaker is the kid in charge. I haven’t asked him where he got his name from. I assumed it was from the Muppets but after our conversation yesterday, I probably just dated myself again.
It took me two days to finally figure out who beaker reminds me of. Brad from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. He’s the one who worked at the burger joint. Now that movie is a cult classic in my house. Do you think Beaker had even heard of it? Heck no. He had to google it. I told him he should watch it at some point in his life. Beaker is an awesome young man and it’s been a great week and he’s doing an amazing job.
Mole moral ~ There comes a point in ones life when you might feel irrelevant or out of date. I’m fighting this until the day I go and meet Jesus.
Due to the unplanned flat tire adventure the night before, I discovered we were only thirty minutes away from Joshua Tree National Park. Now I had wanted to visit it four years ago on our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary but it wasn’t anywhere near Death Valley or the Grand Canyon. So I talked the other three into taking a side trip. Little did I know that it was thirty minutes the wrong direction and then forty-five minutes across the park and then another forty-five back and then back thirty minutes. I guess I really shouldn’t plan vacations. But I was very excited to see it.
We stopped in and talked to the park ranger. He told us to see the cactus area but if there were bees swarming to jump out and take a couple of pictures and leave. Luckily, they were not, so we were able to walk around. They had just finished blooming. They were kind of sad looking though.
Somehow we managed to end up on the other side of the park and totally missed the biggest tree in the park. When we asked the ranger at the other end she acted like we were insane and had never heard of such a thing. Apparently it is not marked or anything. The prettiest part of the park had this
Of course the day I show up the bees decide to move to a new hive. This is the story of my life. However this is where most of the trees were located so we took a few pictures and then we headed to Salvation Mountain.
It was then time for the six hour detour to see the four corners. Now Emily seems to have forgotten she ever said she wanted to see it but she did. I did some reading about the four corners before we arrived including yelp reviews. The biggest thing that stuck out was the lack of bathrooms. So I made sure we stopped at the gas station before it. When we arrived they did have the type of bathrooms that national parks have. So then Brian was like see they have bathrooms. Someone opened a door and the wind blew the smell our way and it was a hundred times worse than the nastiest nursing home. A short while later I watched a mom and daughter open the doors to all four of them and then head out behind a tent.
I also knew from reading this was nothing but a tourist trap but I didn’t mind. There were native american’s selling hand made crafts. I wish I would have bought the one painting I just loved. If it was flat and would have fit in this one frame, I would have. You have to stand in line to take your picture standing on the four corners. There is a sign that says “limit three pictures per family”. Apparently, no one knows how to read anymore. One family took about twenty while we stood in the blazing sun in 100 degree weather just so mama mole could say she saw it and have our picture taken. I stood in New Mexico because of Shiprock New Mexico. When Brian saw the sign for it, he said “Shelprock New Mexico, home of the Big Red.”
The rest of the trip was spent driving. We made it into Texas before calling it a night. There was a really bad thunderstorm and Micheal was getting nervous about a tornado. Emily texted me and asked if we would have one. I said no and she relayed it to Micheal and he said very quietly “Schleprock”.
Mole Moral ~ Embrace your nickname if you have one. It makes life so much more fun.