Sunday, August 31, 2008

August 31st - My Aunt Eloise and the Cemeteries


We traveled west across Minnesota to Benson, where my Aunt Eloise lives. At 93, she's the last of my father's sisters, and has helped guide my search for information about my Norwegian ancestors. She was eagerly awaiting our visit, and brought out all of her family photos for us to see. She even gave me a few key photos for use in the online family tree. After answering many of my questions (and agreeing to try to remember the answers to the rest), she made sure we took some of her excess corn and tomatoes for our dinner tonight.

We explored the area around Benson, and found two key cemeteries (Wang and Maynard) where relatives are buried. The photos today include the grave markers I could find.

Tomorrow, we'll be connecting up with my cousin Norm Miller, and heading back to the area to continue the exploration of cemeteries and farms.

To view all of the photographs for the day, click on: August31-My Aunt Eloise And The Cemeteries

Saturday, August 30, 2008

August 27-30th, Denver to St Cloud, Minnesota


We're in an RV Park outside of St. Cloud, Minnesota. Wednesday and Thursday were all-day sprints across Wyoming and Nebraska to Lincoln. On Friday, we started out our drive north, planning on another sprint to Minneapolis. That morning, I had emailed several of my cousins in Minnesota to alert them to my location and plans. Trudy Wasson, and her husband Boyd, responded with a suggestion that we stop by Decator to visit the Vesterheim Norwegian Museum, and indicated that they were currently there in their RV. We picked up the email at a rest stop, and made the detour a few miles up the road. While we arrived too late to see the Museum, we found the RV Park.

Boyd found us before we had even finished settling into our space. We talked for a few minutes, and then agreed to meet in their trailer after dinner to watch the Barak Obama's acceptance speech together. We enjoyed a wonderful evening of viewing and political discussion.

The next day, we visited the Museum. It's main building consists of several floors of Norwegian historical artifacts, and excellent displays describing life in the area in the 1800's. Behind the building are many structures which represent houses, a church, school, and mill which have been carefully transported and assembled for display.

Upon our return to the park, Boyd and Pat talked while Trudy and I worked to synchronize our computer ancestral records to link ourselves genealogically. That evening, after a great dinner which they prepared for us, we viewed hundreds of photos Trudy took over several visits to our home village of Vang, Norway.

Today, we drove north into Minnesota. After phoning several RV parks in the central Minnesota area, we found one with a space for us. Lots of campers are out for Labor Day Weekend, and we were lucky to find one here in St. Cloud.

Each day, we seem to make at least one new discovery, or overcome one new problem, about Matilda or the Toureg. This week, we learned more about filling and draining the auxilliary water system, opening and securing the awning, cable programming the television, and responding to inclined campsites and the Toureg's variable height reactions.

We'll be staying at this campsite for five days, using it as a basecamp for day trips to visit cousins. Tomorrow, we'll be stopping by several cemetaries, before we meet after lunch with my Aunt Eloise. She is 95, and her correspondence many years ago helped provide vital information on her parents. Next week, we'll be visiting her children, and the grandchildren of her aunts and uncles.

To view all of the photographs for the day, click on: August27-30th, Denver to St. Cloud, Minnesota

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tuesday August 26th, Denver


On Tuesday, Pat and I left our RV Park on the Denver Municipal Bus System (seven routes) to visit the Denver Botanical Gardens and the streets of downtown Denver. While a bit too hot at times, the buses were an energy-efficient means of travel. Their passengers were thoroughly entertaining, and the drivers were helpful and talented. We'll remember the rides.

The Gardens were also being used by the Maryland Democratic Party to host a convention luncheon, so we were joined on our walks with many who were there to select a candidate. The pathway designs, and the layout of the botanical venues, made it easy for us to get lost in the beauty and fragrance.

It was late in the afternoon when we finally got to walk the pedestrain 16th Street, and settle onto a bench in Capitol Park. The energy of the demonstrators, and the enthusiasm of those displaying their campaign materials, was impressive. The city is excited to host the DNC, and seems to have done well so far.

Today, we drove north up into Nebraska, and pulled into Lincoln about 6pm. Tomorrow's drive (Thursday) will take us into South Dakota and Minnesota, arriving finally in the vicinity of St Paul, Minnesota.

Our plan is to find a central place to park Matilda, and then use some day trips for the next week to visit my cousins, and the locations of my family. If any are reading this, know that I'm low on the email, phone, and address info - having left key document at home. Some info is on my laptop emails, so I'll be working with what I have. But feel free to comment to this post, and help us stop by while we're here if you're so inclined.

To view all of the photographs for the day, click on: Tuesday, August 26th, Denver Botantical Gardens & Downtown Convention Activities

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Monday August 25th Red Rocks Colorado


We made it to an RV park just west of Denver, Colorado. After disconnecting Matilda, we drove a scenic route through Red Rocks and Golden, where we had a great light (scallops and risotto appetizer, potato and leek soup, and spinach salad) dinner sitting alongside the river.

Tomorrow, we're planning on spending some time in downtown Denver. We'll probably take the bus in from our RV park, as the city expects major transit route to be chaotic, and parking to be next-to-impossible. We're thinking of staying an extra day here, but it will depend on how much fun we have in the crowds.

To view all of the photographs for the day, click on: Monday, August 25th, Red Rocks, Colorado

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Gregory, Pat, and Matilda Go East


I'm typing this while sitting at the dinner table in Matilda, our Airstream RV, in the Angels Lake RV Park in Wells, Nevada. Pat is making pasta with pesto, and salad, at the sink and stove next to me. We're watching the final minutes of the Men's Marathon at the Olympics on the flat screen TV swiveled around from the entrance to the bedroom.

Yesterday, we had a wonderful afternoon and evening visiting my father and his second wife, and my brother and his wife, in Pollock Pines, California. Sharing some family genealogy information I had recently come upon, as well as returning to my father a drawing he made of Gregory Peck when I was born, were especially rewarding to me. Getting a commitment out of my brother and his wife to come over to our house soon was a close second in satisfaction.

This morning, we got up early and headed here. Nevada is never as flat as I think it is when I'm driving across it. Craggy mountains and steep grades surrounded us through most of the way, and our gas mileage barely crept above 11 miles per gallon.

Tomorrow, we're going to sprint to Rawlins, Wyoming. Utah is even flatter in my memory than Nevada, and we'll see if I'm wrong again. I did note that Rawlings altitude is 6,750 feet, so some part of the trip will be going up.