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Here are some pictures of our "We don't have to be anywhere, so we will go wherever" retirement roadtrip.

First we thought we would go by ship, but then we couldn't get to Arkansas. 

Then we considered biking across the USA, but Sara said the wind mussed her hair.

So we decided to go by automobile. We'll be back when the gas money runs out.

In Georgia, we got to visit with Dad on Father's Day. My brother Kirk is on the left. My sister Raymoth was too busy being the gracious hostess to get in the picture.

We also got to see our new (really) great nephew,

two (really) great nieces,

more (really) great nieces,

and odd bits and pieces of family.

We went through Alabama,

and only stopped long enough to show Sara my home town.

In Mississippi we really did receive the "South's Warmest Welcome"      

Kinda blew through the state, but we did go through Tupelo -- birthplace of the King.

More Elvis! ... got to Tennessee and spent the night in Memphis. We stayed just down the street from Graceland, so we had to visit the shrine.

Arkansas was a really big day -- starting with a visit to Mary Margaret Wilson's home town of Carlisle

In Little Rock, Sara visited another shrine,

while I found an oxymoronic sign.

While in Arkansas, we especially enjoyed visiting the Ozarks. We learned vital folk arts:

We spent a lot of time selfishly looking at really great art and crafts without buying anything...

...until Sara recognized our obligation to support the local economy.

Next stop was Oklahoma

Oklahoma is Indian country.                              Sara found an air-conditioned tepee.

We especially wanted to see the botanical gardens in Oklahoma city.

Most of the gardens are contained within the Crystal Bridge

Turns out their current theme is Hawaii. We took more pictures of exotic blossoms than we can share here. Let us know if you want to see them.

Well, here's one anyway.

Now we need to get throughTexas. We chose to go across the panhandle because that resulted in the least amount of Texas.To be fair, most people think all of the state looks like this:

When in fact, large parts of Texas look like this:

Even the yellow rose of Texas has thorns.

Of course, every state has some unique natural asset which it must use to its best advantage. If it is hot air -- well, this is one of the many wind farms in Texas.

We were glad to see the "You have just left Texas" sign as we travelled to Albuquerque.

The first stop was Sandia Mountain where we took the world's longest and highest cable tram car ride to the top. At one point, the operator told us we were 1000 feet or 7.4 seconds (freefall) from the canyon floor.

This is Sandia Mountain at 10,500 feet -- about 4,000 feet above the valley below.  Whenever I am in the mountains, I am struck by the majesty of God's creation,

but even more, I see so many so many indications that He imbued all life with a determined survival instinct and a will to live despite all obstacles.

Still in NM, we enjoyed Angel Peak National Park pretty much alone. On  at least a hundred square miles, it has dirt roads, a few outhouses, breathtaking scenery, and apparently very few visitors.

New Mexico is full of huge rocks sitting in places and at angles they can't possibly maintain. I know they will topple to the bottom of the mountain tomorrow, but Park Rangers and helpful bystanders keep telling me that they have been there for thousands of years.

On to Colorado. We stayed two nights in Cortez in order to see Mesa Verde we have heard so much about.

Mesa Verde -- WOW.

The good thing about Mesa Verde is that if you are willing to take some difficult hikes (Sara didn't die) , you can see all sorts of things with no rules and no Rangers to say don't touch. We saw pueblo ruins, petroglyphs, and amazing scenery on our own.

The world-famous traveler, Sara Loyless, makes an appearance in four states simultaneously. She was a hit in every one -- Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico.


We are finally getting to revisit the Grand Canyon; this time with enough time to really look around. We stayed at the south rim in Arizona.Sara walked enough for us to see the vista from every point of the rim.

The views were breathtaking.

I hiked into the canyon beginning at dawn to see a different perspective:

Some features that were awesome from the rim,

were even more inspiring closer up and at eye level.

I got to see the sunrise from below the rim and some other great views.

Left Arid-zona for Utah where it is still hot and dry, but with at least some green. To get beautiful Utah mountain scenery, simply take Arizona and add water.

Here's Sara at a south Utah oasis. We ate our lunch here in high 90's temperature. But a little shade and wind blowing a water spray from the fountain worked like A/C, and it was pleasantly cool.

Our first day in Utah was at Bryce Canyon, where a short hike can reveal some amazing views:

We saw a white speck of rock on the Bryce Canyon floor. 10X zoom revealed this. Angels are where you find them.

Utah is pretty barren, but if you look closely at the top of this rock formation, you can see that ubiquitous sign of US culture, the TV antenna.

The second biggest deal at Bryce Canyon is sunset over the canyon. We got off schedule and observed sunset over our cheapest (but not least expensive) hotel.

The biggest deal at Bryce Canyon is sunrise over the canyon, but we were already on our way to Zion National Park. On the way, we saw that the southern influence extends at least as far as Utah.

Zion National Park has some amazing rock formations. The state was right to adopt the motto "Utah Rocks".

This isn't Florida where the ground stays horizontal. It's hard to keep your eyes on the road.

Here's Sara roughing it on a Zion National Park backcountry hike.

Water seepage between rock layers produces hanging gardens. We were told that the water had been dated from 600 to several thousand years old.

We were so excited to see actual running water after so many days that we took a picture.

On our way now to Jackson, Wyoming. We drove through Salt Lake City in mid-afternoon with 102 temperature. We still stopped long enough to photograph the two major power centers in the sate. They are right across the street from each other:

the Utah State Capitol and ...

... the Salt Lake City Temple of the Morman Church.

We were in three states today:

Utah apparently doesn't welcome anyone.

While driving through Idaho, we ran across the beautiful Minnetonka cave.

There were many awesome formations to see in many different chambers, but I haven't learned to photograph in caves.

From our base in Jackson, Wyoming, we spent about 2 1/2 days in Teton and Yellowstone National Parks:

The Tetons are dominated by these three peaks, whose names I learned and forgot.

Except this one, the biggest, called Grand Teton.

Some of us used the Tetons as a fashion accessory.

While some of us climbed (partway) up for a closer view.

The view up from Inspiration Point. This point was supposed to be high enough and cold enough for there to be snow patches, but I never saw any.

The view down from Inspiration Point was worth the climb.

Sara and I crossed Jenny Lake (pictured above) and took a short hike to Hidden Falls. The falls are extremely well hidden except for the roar.

We found a secluded spot to eat lunch and rest our feet. We got shade from the rocks and ambiance from the babbling brook. Maybe best meal of the trip.

I spent a long time watching this pool of hot water I saw while wandering around Yellowstone. It erupted as a minor geyser about five minutes after I got out of photo range.

But this one, of course, didn't let us down. Old Faithful erupted within one minute of schedule, despite the Park's only guaranteeing +/- five minutes.

We're back in Idaho -- a unique state. We had the (justly) famous atomic burger at Pickle's Place -- apparently the only restaurant serving four or five small towns. When I asked about the huge chair outside, they said they could have had a normal chair, but they wanted a green one.

Hundreds of square miles of Idaho are covered by lava beds -- basalt deposited from fissures created by long ago volcanic eruptions. It creates a landscape remarkably like Texas. The National Park Service insists that the butte in the background is all but invisible due to air pollution. This may be somewhat exaggerated.

The basalt forms a strange and inhospitable landscape at Craters of the Moon National Monument.

A cold day in hell at Craters of the Moon.                                                   With high 90's temperature and a hot, stinging wind at the surface, there is still snow from last winter at the bottom of this hole. The hole is an old volcanic vent only about twenty feet deep. You can see a ghost of the photographer at the top.

We escaped Idaho one more time, and arrived at our destination state -- Oregon.

Oregon is a state of majestic scenery and beautiful waterfalls:

                                                 We got to walk behind this one.

But mostly Oregon is the home of our "oldest" friends, Dick and Brenda Cameron, along with their beautiful and fun family which are too numerous to show here.

The Camerons, currently in exile from Tampa, Florida, have brought the southern Christian spirit to Oregon,

and even created Bucs fans among the natives.

Of course, we packed plenty of warm clothes for cold, wet Oregon. Here we are facing the bitter cold for a chance to be outside on the Fourth of July.

On to Washington. This is the view from our balcony at Port Angeles in Northwest Washington -- pretty much as far from Florida as you can get. The empty space in the water is where the ferry to Victoria in Vancouver, B.C. had just left. There was not another that fit well with our schedule.That's the bad news.

The good news is that it allowed us two days to spend in Olympic National Park -- probably our best chance to see the wonder and variety of God's creation. All in one huge park, there were

grand mountains,


(these pictures were too easy to get. I believe someone has been feeding the animals.)


a rain forrest with really big trees,

opportunities to hike to prominent peaks (that's really me on top),

opportunities to direct hikes to prominent peaks,

snow at which to marvel,

snow with which to play,

snow with which to send a message,

clear mountain lakes,

clear mountain streams (this is a coin in about six feet of water),

a special viewing trail where visitors could be amazed by the huge amounts of moss (apparently they had not been to Florida or Georgia),

and even what Northwesterners believe is a beach.

The Sara and Elliott travel team unequivocally recommend Olympic National Park!

                                                                                                                            Today, on our way to Montana, we went through Oregon for the second time and Idaho for the third. It's a long story.

In Oregon, we followed the huge transmission lines until we got to see the Bonneville Dam

along with its fish ladder which allows Salmon to go around the dam when they swim upstream to spawn.

The third time is a charm. We finally found the beautiful (Northern) part of Idaho. This is the lake at Coeur d'Alene.

Traveling by car is now getting routine.

This is one of our nicer living room/ bedroom/office combinations,

and this is our closet and attic.

Finally, we get to Montana. Montana is called the Big Sky State, but everything is big here:

BIG vistas

 BIG mountains

BIG space to live - 8 square miles per person

 Even this weed (flower to some) is about 5 times bigger than I have seen anywhere else.

and of course that BIG sky.  If Texans could visit Montana, they would be afraid to ever use the word big again.

We spent a night in Cut Bank, Montana, the coldest spot in the nation. It was in the 90's while we were there.

Our destination in Montana was Glacier National Park. It is a huge place, and another one of those parks that has some of just about everything:

There were big glaciers,

small glaciers,

glaciers that weren't so pretty,

climbing challenges that I resisted,

bighorn sheep,

mountain goats,

cold, clear mountain lakes,


hidden waterfalls,

even colorful brooks,

and everywhere there were wildflowers thriving near the snow and ice.

Before leaving Montana, we spent a refreshing afternoon and evening in Helena. No pictures, but ask me about downtown.

On to North Dakota to find the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

The park features a large badlands area -- looks a lot like Texas.

and a painted canyon, but it just looks like more badlands.

But what makes Theodore Roosevelt National Park unique and great is that it is the only national park which allows visitors a free run of the park. You can climb anything and go anywhere. There are some marked trails, but you don't have to stay on them. Its your own responsibility, though, to avoid stepping on rattlesnakes or buffalo pies. This especially allowed us to see a lot of wildlife:

from the smallest

to the largest.

We also got to see lots of rabbit,


wild horses,

more buffalo (she is leading her calf away from us),

and several hundred prairie dogs.

This is what passes for a raging river in the badlands. The small specks in the middle are wild horses.

All this freedom let us visit some lofty places

and wander some wilderness trails where we met yet more buffalo. This one wouldn't get out of the way, so we scared the snakes out of about 1/2 mile of high grass and brambles to detour around him.

We went to South Dakota primarily to see Mt. Rushmore. SD is a state of great places and five great faces.

You can see the Rushmore National Monument from many miles away.

You can see it from the viewing area at the monument.

If you climb hundreds of steps, you cansee it up close.

If you climb some more, you can just about scratch the father of our country's ear.

There was a patriotic illumination ceremony after nightfall. The illuminated monument is beautiful, but your photographer was too moved to get a decent picture.

While we were in South Dakota, we took a two hour scenic ride on an authentic 1880 train

We then took our own scenic tour through the Blackhills National Forest. By now, we were used to twisty mountain roads, but these had a lot of one lane bridges and tunnels.

We never tired of the awesome and ever changing scenery.

There were unusual rock formations

and lots of game, including these twin fawns

and the by now familiar buffalo.

Still in SD, we visited Badlands National Park. These are some BAD lands. The greenery in the foreground is rare. This almost makes North Texas look good.

Last stop in SD was the Corn Palace in Mitchell. The entire exterior, plus some huge murals inside, are made of corn and some native grasses all in their natural colors. The whole thing is redone every year with a big celebration on completion.

Apparently, this has gone on for a long time. This is a photo of a photo of the original corn palace built in 1890.

Speaking of corn, we were in four states today - Eastern South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska.

We needed the signs to tell the difference because they all looked like this.

We were in Nebraska to visit niece Deborah and family. By the time we got over our excitement enough to take a picture, the family had scattered. This is Deborah and her daughter Lilli. Daughter Alexis has just gone to babysit, husband Wes has gone to make the world safe for democracy, and brother-in-law Randy is checking the Braves score.

We slipped through several more states...

...only slowing down enough to see St. Louis' Gateway Arch from the car...

...in order to reach Franklin, Tennessee and visit with nephew Edwin and his wife Kathy and sons Emory and Robert. They happened to be hosting our son John and his wife Starr at the same time for a member-guest golf tournament -- John and Edwin almost won. Robert missed the picture and Sara (always camera shy) hid behind Edwin.

It is starting to feel like home.

We visited with our respective sisters in Georgia.

Sara's sister Helen in Macon

My sister Raymoth in Eastman.

We made it home!  To all of you who thought that we would be foolish enough to drive 10,000 miles just to see friends, family, and a lot of national parks, you were wrong -- it was only 9,740. We bought 318 gallons of gasoline in twenty-five different states. We saw some of our favorite people, met a lot of friendly, informative strangers, and we got to see a good sample of what a beautiful, majestic, and diverse land God has provided for us. Now we can't wait to see our friends in Brandon.