May 25–The Start of the Alumni Celebration

    

Today is the day many of the events start for the Alumni celebration for Ritzville High School graduates.  There are separate parties for each group of attendees representing a specific graduation year.  In Georgie’s case it is the 60th year reunion.  Later this evening there will be a banquet dinner for all returning graduates.

But we started the morning off by having coffee with my sister and brother-in-law who are camping in their RV right next door to us.  We decided to meet at their place at 7am for Espresso.

First though I had my cup of coffee in our RV.  We then went to see Vicki and Steve.  Steve prepared a very delicious espresso for us.  We then visited with them for about 2 hours, telling lots of stories about the family, school and living in Ritzville.  My sister-in-law, Vicki, was very expressive in her story telling.  Vicki had always been somewhat shy in talking mainly because she was the 4th child.  But I was pleased to see her open up and truly get excited about things.  It was a pleasant time for all of us.

We then headed back to our RV to get ready for the day’s events.  The next thing on the schedule was lunch.  Finally we had the left-overs from the other night which resulted in making some room in our crowded refrigerator.

At about 2pm we drove a short distance to the local park where “Art in the Park” was under way.  There were about 10 tents set up with some uniques artwork.  After walking around for awhile, I passed this tent with unique iron works.  These were words made into iron signs.  There was one in particular that caught my eye.  It said:

SISTERS ARE LIKE FAT THIGHS

THEY STICK TOGETHER

So I bought it and took it over to Vicky and Georgie who were standing nearby.  They immediately thought is was a perfect fit for the sister group meeting.  I took a few pictures of course and it really looked cool.

After that  we headed for the group gatherings at the hotel.  At Georgie’s meeting there were about 50 people including some spouses.  There was a lot of hugging and greeting and a LOT OF CHATTER.  People kept moving around the room to talk to someone else that they recognized.  Georgie introduced me to some of her friends and then I sat down at a table with one of her classmates.  It was difficult to be in such a large group of people and not know anyone.  Eventually I went out in the lobby and sat with my nephew and his wife and my other sister-in-law.

About two hours later we left and headed back to the RV.  We had about two hours to wait before the official dinner party was to start. I’ll write about that tomorrow if I get a good nights sleep.

See pictures above.  Vicky and Georgie with Sister sign.  Georgie with some classmates.

 

 

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May 24–Continuing with my relaxing day.

Hopefully this will make it easier to remember the town we are currently in.  The name of the town is RITZVILLE.  Georgie and her sisters grew up in this town and went to high school here a few dozen years ago.  And that is why we are here today,  to celebrate with other graduates and reconnect with her past friends and her sisters.

So after my bike ride yesterday, we had lunch with some of her family at one of the local eateries.  After that Georgie and I decided to drive out to the local cemetery to see her parents graves.  We looked around the cemetery for some time since we didn’t exactly know where their plots were.  Georgie finally called her sister Nina who gave us the correct direction to the plots.

Georgie’s parents were amazing people.  They were both deaf and yet they very successfully raised 5 children while managing a wheat farm.  After spending some time in the cemetery, we drove the 7 miles out of town to see where the family farm had been.  Many of the homes and farms that I remember being there had been leveled and had become producing wheat fields.  The family farm was now a producing wheat field.

Later in the day we again joined the family for dinner at another local restaurant.  This time it was Mexican food.  Cool.  We easily spent two hours talking family stuff and telling many many stories.  Finally our plates were cleared and the bills paid, so we headed for the door.  And as families are like to do, the “goodbye” lasted almost a half hour.

It was a good day.  Hope we continue to enjoy more time with this beautiful family.

 

 

 

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May 24th–A Relaxing Day–In Theory

Yes, the day started with not much on the calendar.  About 8:30am I decided I needed to get in a bike ride before things got busy.  I released my bike from the carrier, got dressed in warm bike clothes, found a route to ride and said goodbye to Georgie.  I also asked her to stay close to the phone in case I needed help.  I was somewhat concerned that I might get rained out as the sky was not looking good.  So off I went about 10am.  Headed out of town on a road that lead to no where.  (See Photo 2).  It felt good to be on the bike.  I was moving quite well given the fact that I had not exercised in a week and a half.

The road I was on (Route 10) lead out of Ritzville into the country to an area void of housed or businesses.  It was very relaxing.   In addition, unlike North Carolina, there were no hills on this road, only a few inclines that were easy to handle.

After riding for about 7.5 miles and stopped for a break.  When I looked at the street sign where I had stopped, I was somewhat amazed.  The street name was “Rehn Rd.”   Victor Rehn was Georgie’s dad.  Imagine my suprise. (See Photo 3).  Anyway I decided this was a good turnaround point as I had ridden 7.5 miles and it was starting to drizzle more than when I had started.  In addition, I knew going back the wind would be coming straight at me.

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As I got closer to town, the wind got stronger and the drizzle picked up as well.  Another 1 1/2 miles and I was back at the RV park.

Nice way to start the day.  (To be continued)

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Explanation of Photos I’m sending you

This is my first attempt at sending photos related to the blogs I have written.  As it turns out, I should have added the media when I composed the blog.  But I didn’t really know how to do that until tonight.  So in the meantime, bear with me.  You may have to refer to the past posted blogs to see how these photos are relevant to the story.  Thanks.

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Visit to Ft. Kearney–the fort, the cannon, and the arch

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Pictures from our RV trip across country

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May22—RV Cross Country trip–On to Missoula

Yes, the plan today is to make it to Missoula where our kids once lived in a house that we had bought there. It is really a nice town, but first a little story of our 240 mile drive to Missoula from Livingston. Again the terrain was very interesting. So many open fields but this time there were mountains as the background on either side. At one point we crossed the continental divide at 6,395 feet. After that we headed downhill for quite a while. At one point there were these mountains with very sharply rounded rocks that looked quite artistic. They were certainly unusual. Quite different from the flat rocks that usually grace the hill side. In fact, these look like a 10 year old kid was given a big supply of play dough and told to go place it where ever he wanted. Really a nice job. I would send pictures, but that will come later.

We made it to Missoula around 1:30 PM and boy was I hungry. Georgie suggested we stop at Wild Wings for chicken. And that is what we did and the meal was delicious. After that we drove to the South Gate mall where we took time to see the movie “POMS”. Quite a different movie. As you may know it was about senior citizen women who get together and compete in a cheerleading contest against teams of girls under 20. There were a lot of funny moments and it is worth seeing.

After that we walked through the mall and I bought some pants and a sweat jack. Since the weather we had been in for the last several days called for warmer clothing and I had only packed shorts and t-shirts, we thought it best to buy something more appropriate for the weather. While we were at this store, our sales clerk asked us where we were from and where we were headed. Georgie told her that she was on her way to her 60th high school reunion in Ritzville, Wash. The woman, Rebecca, acted astonished. She then told us that she had attended high school in Lind, a school that was Ritzville’s rival and later became consolidate into the Ritzville school system.

What a surprise, to find someone from Georgie’s local area, working in Missoula. In addition, Rebecca told us that she had lived across the street from Georgie’s cousins in Lind. Wow! Every day is an adventure. This was clearly a special moment and a rare one as well. Georgie will tell this story many times at her high school reunion this weekend.

We are now comfortably relaxing in our RV at the KOA in Missoula. It has been another eventful day for the Farmers.

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May 21st–The Adventure slowed down a little

This morning we woke up in Casper, Wyoming, amazed that the campsite was covered in snow. Nothing to do there so we loaded the RV and disconnected the utilities. Soon we were on the highway headed for Bozeman, Mt., at least that was the plan. The drive of over 450 miles would take up to 5 hours.

The good news was that the scenery we saw was quite beautiful. First of all, there were very few towns along the way and thus very few houses as well. But there were beautiful rolling hills and amazing green pastures. And occasionally, all along the way, there were cattle grazing. If this part of the country is any indication, we as Americans will never run out of beef.
By the way, we also saw several deer nibbling on the same grass that the cows were enjoying.

Now there were a few problems. Soon after leaving Casper, it started to snow and the further north we went the more snow there was on the ground. The highway was somewhat difficult in the areas they had not yet plowed. And in some areas the snow presented a rather slippery potential.

On the other hand, we had very little traffic. Several times I looked in the rear vision mirror and saw an empty highway for miles behind us and likewise for miles ahead of us. It could have been 3am in the morning based on the traffic.

This continued until after we passed into Montana. Then the traffic picked up a little more and there was certainly less snow on the ground. Finally we made it to Livingston, Mt. We decided to cut the drive to Bozeman short by about 30 miles because we were tired of driving. We found an RV park that had space available. Curiously it was about 9 miles off the main road (Highway 90) that we had been travelling on. As we drove toward the campground, the full view of the mountain range ahead of us became clearer. There were many tall, sharp and snow covered peaks. It was incredible to see. Finally we made it to the campground and it turned out the view from our campsite was one of the best we had all day of these mountains.

So that was the excitement for a less than exciting day. We needed an adventure to close the day out so we packed up all our dirty clothes and marched to the camp’s laundry mat. There we spent about an hour and a half and all the quarters we could find to wash and dry our clothes. Everything worked out and soon we returned to the RV for dinner and relaxation.

And that is why you are getting a post from me tonight because I have time to write it and something actually happened that was worth writting about. See you all tomorrow.

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May 20th–RV Cross Country Adventure

So yesterday we woke up in Lincoln, Nebraska, with our plan to drive to Lexington, Nebraska, and meet my cousin and her husband. And, of course, to make it more of an adventure, we had never met either Lori or Denny before this time. Georgie started communicating with Lori when they found out that my grandmother, Rose, was in both of our linages.

Anyway, we started our 2 1/2 hour drive to Lexington with no intention of stopping along the way. Then as we approached Kearney, Nebraska, my mother’s home for her early childhood, we saw a sign advertising the historical Ft. Kearney. Intrigued, we decided to stop and see what we could learn about this Fort and my mom’s hometown. The Fort itself was merely a stockade of less than an acre. Nothing inside other than a layer of grass. Outside the stockade were tree stumps planted in the ground to display the actual layout of the buildings that one stood as support for the Fort’s activities. There was also a Civil War cannon believed to be one of only three remaining cannons from the Civil War that still worked. Ft. Kearney was a major stop-over for people going west on the Oregon Trail in hopes of reaching Oregon or California. The Fort was also an original site for the Pony Express route, where horses and riders going west and east could rest.

We also made a quick trip into town to see the Kearney arch that had been build as a freeway overpass for I-80. It was very ornate and unusual. After this we got back on the road and headed for Lexington.

When we got to Lexington, we decided to stop at the RV park first to insure that we had a site for the night. This park was located on Johnson Lake and our site was within viewing distance of the lake. Once we confirmed our site was reserved we headed to my cousin Lori’s home in Lexington. Again I had never met Lori and really knew nothing about her until Georgie made contact with her as a result of the DNA match for Lori and me on Ancestry.com. Turned out she was in the linage of my grandmother, Rose, who was the sister of Lori’s grandfather. Anyway, Lori and Georgie agree that we should meet in Lexington and compare genealogy notes and family trees.

Upon arriving at their house, we were instantly greeted by Lori and her husband, Denny. Little did we know after that first few moments that our friendship would deepen greatly. We talked, we laughed, we discussed our families and finally we went to dinner. But first we visited three cemeteries in town and checked out several gravesites belonging to Lori’s family, the Allens. These folks were in my linage as a result of my grandmother, Rose, being in the Allen family.

So not only did I get to meet my 2nd cousin for the 1st time, but we also made two new friends with whom we hope to share many more times of fun and laughter together.

Today, Monday, we are leaving Lexington and heading 450 miles north to Casper, Wy. After a night’s stay in Casper we will drive another 420 miles to Bozeman, Montana, for an overnight stay. Then finally we will make the drive to Spokane, Wa., which is our final destination for this trip. It has been an eventful day and we hope the adventures will continue into next week as well.

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May 17, 2019—Our RV trip across the country

Last night we stayed in a little town south of Peoria, Illinois. The name of the town was Carlock. Apparently, the person that named the town lost his keys and in frustration he named the town after his predicament. Anyway, the RV Park we stayed at was very nice with good facilities. The one minor problem was the traffic on the freeway was less than a quarter mile away and sounded at times like it was at our side door. Oh well.

We got up early on Friday the 17th to start our adventure. The first thing I did was a short bike ride on the road just outside the RV park. It was relatively flat and very little traffic so the ride was good. After a quick 7.5 miles I headed back to our RV, took a shower and disconnected all the utilities. We were then on our way to Peoria, IL, to have a restaurant style breakfast. You know, pancakes as big as an elephant’s ear, thick bacon and scrambled eggs. YUMMM!

Once we finished gorging on this wonderful breakfast, we drove due west to Fort Madison, Iowa. It was a pleasurable trip because most of the earth that we passed by was laden with cultivated fields and lined with green trees. Very relaxing.

After about an hour’s drive, we came upon the town of Galesburg, Ill. As we approached the town’s exit on the freeway, there was a sign that stated “Carl Sandburg’s Birth Home”. Seriously, how could we pass up this adventure? As many of you know we are blessed in Flat Rock to have Carl Sandburg’s adult residence right in our town. So naturally we had to see the birth home of this great man. Off the freeway we followed multiple town signs until we finally found the home of Carl Sandburg’s birth. It was a very simple white house with a white picket fence and a nicely kept yard. It wasn’t opened for viewing but we did get to walk the grounds. Here was placed a monument with a bust of Sandburg’s head. What a thrill this was to see one of our American heroes actual birth home. And later we toured past one of the homes he had grown up in. We also stopped at the local Visitor’s Center and introduced ourselves as Flat Rock residence with Carl Sandburg as our neighbor.

It turned out to be an adventurous trip and a great find. We then headed to Fort Madison, Iowa, to see if we could find the site of my great-great-great grandmother, Mary Dark Farmer. This woman must have been something because she to a ship from England to America with her 7 children. Her husband was already in America. See made it however without any problem.

From Ft. Madison we travelled north/west to Oskaloosa, Iowa. I found an RV Park there that had space for us but it only cost $15. Our site was located 10 yards from the Des Moines river that was flowing swiftly by the campground. We went to dinner in Oskaloosa and then returned to the campground and called it a night. All in all a very adventurous day.

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