Saturday, February 25, 2006


A visit to the 'office'

I just spent a few days at the 'office'--which is in Mississippi. Since June 1, 2006, I've been working out of my home. However since the first of the year, I've traveled to Mississippi three times.

The first trip was Jan. 15-22. Bob and I went early and took a few days off to have a mini vacation. We flew in to Jackson and stayed with some friends on Sat. night. We went to a Southern Baptist Church on Sunday morning--Which was a little different for this Lutheran... But it was fun and the music was outstanding. It was televised and really a huge production. They started off with the minister and a little girl up in a pool of water that was shown in a window in the front of the church. Then the minister Baptised her (by dunking). When they were done, a huge screen came down. Most of the words for songs were on a powerpoint presentation. Even the sermon was a powerpoint.

Then we drove down to the coast--I've seen all the pictures on TV and in the newspaper on the damage from Katrina, but it really gives you a sick feeling to see the real thing.

As we went south, you could see more and more trees down and lots of blue tarps covering roofs. We got to Gulfport--and is it ever a mess--all the houses and businesses along the beach were gone or mostly gone. There was one huge church that had only two walls standing and all the inside stuff totally gone. A lot of the extra debris was cleaned away, although there was stuff hanging in trees and lots of tree branches out on the beaches. They have a board walk--and only the sections that were hooked on to the footing are still there. Hwy 90 is usually a four-lane road and most of the places it was two-lane and sections of the lane closest to the beach were gone. Some places you could see steps or some concrete and they had spray painted the address or what it was like "Ramada, McDonalds", etc--but there was nothing there.

One thing that really showed the force of the hurricane was one of the casinos in Biloxi. All these casinos were on barges in the Gulf. And most of them are huge. A lot of them had one whole side that was just gone--you could see the inside of the rooms. There was several cranes and they were working on a couple of them and one had reopened. One of the smaller ones was probably 6 or 8 stories and not as large, but on a barge. It should have been in the water on the south side of the Hwy, but it was sitting up on the land on the north side of the highway. I just can't imagine so much destruction. There were lots of little travel trailers that had people living in them where houses used to be.

We got back on the interstate 10 and went through Mobile, AL and then headed south to Orange Beach. We got there about 8 pm. We were both pretty tired, so watched some TV and went to sleep. In the morning, we discovered that you could see the beach from our balcony--if you looked off to the left. It was about 60 degrees outside and the sun was shining, so it was pretty nice.

We went walking for a couple hours and then following along the beach to see some islands. There wasn't too much damage in this area--although you can see some roofs with damage and some siding off. There was lots of sand all over the place.

Alabama was extremely windy and rainy one day (although still pretty warm). We went for a short walk along the beach—the waves were just crashing in. I love watching them and listening to them. It was misting a little bit, but we still braved it—then it started to rain really hard, we sprinted back to the hotel. On the loose sand that was quite a workout. That day, we went to Pensacola, FL and went through the Naval Aviation Museum. It was really interesting.

We walked along the beach for a couple hours every day while we were there. It's soooo easy to be motivated to go walking along the beach every day!

We went to several nice restaurants while we were in AL, so we decided to add more workout in addition walking along the beach every day. We decided that we would take the stairs to go up and down from our room (and we were on the 5th floor). It was 16 steps between floors, so gets the heart going pretty good. By the end of our stay, we could make it up without puffing too much.

As we headed back to Jackson on Thursay, we went out to Dauphine Island—it had a lot of sand dumped on it, but not too much damage that we noticed. Of course, just like Orange Beach--it was condos for as far as you could see all along the beach.

Saturday after the retreat, we went over to Natchez, MS. It’s really neat city—with lots of Antebellum homes. We did a tour through one—Longwood. It was octagonal with five floors. It was started 18 months before the Civil War and the entire structure was build, but all the workers were from Philadelphia, PA and when the war broke out—they all just dropped everything and left. So only the basement was finished—the rest was only the shell. I can’t imagine how beautiful it would have been if it had been finished.

I guess a few years ago, there was a push to finish Longwood, but the decision was to leave it unfinished as a reminder of what the civil war did to so many people.

When I learn how to put in photos, I'll add one for Longwood.

I was going to talk about my trip this time, but got started on the AL trip--and it got plenty long....maybe next time.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


I love to travel...

I have always loved to travel--to be able to see new areas, enjoy the scenery, visit the local sights, and, of course, enjoy the local foods (no McDonalds for us when we travel).

The first trips that I remember happened when I was 6 to 14 years old and were mainly between OR, MN, and Sask. to visit relatives. We would stop and visit some scenic places along the way, but our main purpose was to get to our relatives, where we would just hang out. I was even in Calgary during the Calgary Stampede and never went to any of the events.

Right after I graduated from High School, my sister and I took a road trip to Arizona to see the Grand Canyon (and Mexico, the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore along the way). From then on, I've been hooked on seeing as much of the United States (and other countries) as possible. I started marking off the states as I visited them--with the goal of getting to every state.

This past November, I was able to mark off Connecticut--which was the last state in the lower 48 that I had left to visit. (Gotta get to Alaska and Hawaii!)

So I was infected with the traveling bug a long time ago. I'm very fortunate to have married Bob (33 years ago), who loves to go as much as I do. He's the perfect traveling partner. And, of course we raised our two children to also love to visit new places--so even though they are grown up, they not only enjoy traveling, but they even like to go with Mom and Dad. More on that later.

This is where my love of traveling was started...and where did it go (and go, and go) from there...stay tuned...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Here we go

Since Bob and I have been traveling so much and describing where we've been to some people--and not to others, I have decided it's time to join the wonderful world of 'blogging'. So here goes.

I'll probably start slow and work my way up to serious blogging.

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