Sunday, August 31, 2008

8/31/08 A pleasant surprise

The sites we visit are generally the result of pouring over tour books and internet sites. This one is completely a function of being in the right place at the right time – we call these treats “gfts from God.” Today we were able to take a tour on a currently in service, regularly deployed Navy landing and docking ship. We saw it all on a tour led by a Naval crewman. We even went to the Combat Information Center where they monitor potential enemy activity and control weapons. In this post 9-11 era we were surprised they let us in there. We all loved this tour!
Later, I prayed for a nice spot to quietly enjoy the sea…and God helped us find this campground with a lovely and quiet ocean front. It was very peaceful and refreshing.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

8/30/08: A Cadillac and J.D. Rockefeller

Well, really…Cadillac Mountain, which is the tallest mountain on the East coast at a whopping 1530 feet. Even though most Westerners would not likely call that a mountain (no offence to Cadillac Mountain), when you consider we started at sea level, it made for a good climb. Even I would deem it worth of mountain status.

As for J.D. Rockefeller, the more I travel, the more I like the guy, may he rest in peace. He used his great wealth to purchase land in special places and then donate it to the Govt. We have been blessed by his philanthropic efforts several times on this trip. Here in Acadia, he not only donated land but also had 45 miles of carriage paths put in with the stipulation that no motor cars ever be allowed. We enjoyed our bikes on some of these roads – thank you, Mr. Rockefeller.

Friday, August 29, 2008

8/29/08: Hiking up a beehive and walking to an Island without a bridge!

Well, really The Beehive was a rocky mountain so called because of its resemblance to its namesake. It wasn’t a long hike, but it was more like mountain climbing in parts than hiking. Since I love rock climbing (in a beginner sort of way) I really liked this hike!!

If you think climbing a beehive is strange, try walking to an Island without a bridge – really. You may have guessed – sometimes it’s an Island and sometimes it isn’t. It just depends on the tide. Here’s where you need to be careful. Don’t stay on the Island too long or you won’t be able to get off it until the next low tide!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

8/28/08: The Opposite Corner

Today our tires hit the Maine pavement. Loud shouts were heard in the Meity motor home, “Three cheers for Maine!!” We are at long last in the opposite corner of the US. We are truly thankful to the Lord for getting us here safely and pray for continued health and safety (and thank you to those who have prayed for us along the way!!). We were just too close to the 2nd most popular national park in the US, and an especially fond memory from our New England vacation of 15 years ago, to resist this very out of the way drive, but it was worth it. We spent 3 days at Acadia National Park. We enjoyed biking, hiking, and the rugged, quiet beauty of the Maine coastline.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

8/27/08: She has her dad in the palm of her hand…

While she may not have him wrapped around her little pinky, she does have him in the palm of her hand…literally.

8/27/08: Scenic White Mountains

Our scenic drive through the heart of the White Mountains has made us want to come back already. We saw endless opportunities for challenging hikes and beautiful vistas. The mountains here in NH are quite significant. They seem to be about the size of the Santa Monica Mtns in California only they are dense with green (& soon to be reds and golds). Perhaps it’s because we love mountains so much, but I’d have to say that so far our favorite State east of the Mississippi guessed it… NH – good hiking and biking, plenty of lakes and rivers, charming towns with plenty of white steeples and covered bridges, beautiful mountains, pastoral farms, who could ask for more?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

8/26/08: Happy Hiking Again

It’s been a while since we’ve been in mountains that offered good hiking opportunities. The White Mountains of New Hampshire were just the ticket. We hiked up Mt. Pemigewasset in Franconia Notch State Park. After climbing the 1000 ft. elevation gain we were rewarded with lovely vistas of NH. We also went on the Flume Trail with a beautiful and unusually long, narrow gorge.

Monday, August 25, 2008

8/25/08: The Famous Old Man of New Hampshire

The Old Man on the Mountain was a celebrated landmark for nearly two centuries (even had a US Postage stamp of his profile). He was made famous in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s tale, “The Great Stone Face.” For many years efforts have been made to prevent the famous profile from falling to ruin. In 2003 it succumbed to the inevitable and today we see it no more – may the Old Man rest in pieces. Long ago, Daniel Webster saw this natural wonder and said, “Men hang out their signs indicative of their respective trades: shoemakers hang out a gigantic shoe; jewelers a monster watch; and a dentist hangs out a gold tooth; but up in the mountains of New Hampshire, God Almighty has hung out a sign to show that there he makes men.” After reading that famous quote, I couldn’t help but wonder what he’d say today. If Daniel Webster could see our culture today noting the complete denial of God as creator, would he be quoted saying that the crumbling of God’s “sign” showing His marvelous creation “business” is a fitting symbol of man’s denial of Him as their creator?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

8/24/08: Whispers of fall

There are a few trees dazzling us with their brilliant fall color. Actually, we feel like they are teasing us. We keep telling those trees to hurry up, but they do as they please. Paul and I were here about 15 years ago during the peak fall foliage and our memories of that beauty make it harder to be content with fall whispering in our ears!! We can only hope that we will see it before we leave the New England area. In the mean time, we must content ourselves with the few trees that tease us.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

8/23/08 Gorgeous Green Mountains and Vermont Beauty

We’ve loved the charming beauty of Vermont. We drove through many quaint towns, pastoral farms, and lush green mountains (but, I thought they seemed more like big hills myself). We hit a couple historic sites – Calvin Coolage Presidential home (his birth and childhood home which was also his summer White House), and Bennington Battle Monument which is slightly taller than the Statue of Liberty and gave us beautiful vistas of Vermont, New York and Massachusetts. We stopped at a couple farms and sampled cheeses, and maple products. We saw lots of covered bridges, white steepled churches, and undeniably charming towns. Oh, and very likely the favorite of my kids, we had too much ice cream along the way.

Friday, August 22, 2008

8/22/08: Blueberries and Covered Bridges

On our way into Vermont, we spontaneously stopped at a charming road side farm where we picked our own blueberries – 12 pounds of them!! They were so cheap, how could we resist? And, of course we HAD to buy some Dreyer’s Hand Churned Vanilla Bean ice cream to go with the blueberries. Before we knew it, with in just a few hours, four pounds of them disappeared! I can’t imagine how 6 of us could have eaten all that in so short a time! We were wondering if our skin would start to turn blue.

Besides blueberries, we loved the charming farms, old homes, and covered bridges, not to mention all the yummy stops one can make along the way (cheeses, chocolate, maple and related products, homemade bakeries, ice cream, and more)

At Robert Todd Lincoln’s (the only surviving child of Abraham Lincoln) summer cottage (notice the size of the 8000 square foot cottage in the pic), we marveled at the difference between the size of the little log home Abraham Lincoln was born in and the “cottage” his son owned for his summer get-aways. What a difference one generation made!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

8/21/08: The Battle of Saratoga

This was awesome to at least one person in my family – me!!! It could have turned me into a Revolutionary War buff …almost. The American victory at Saratoga (Who’s Sara Toga?, my daughter asks – see for more on that one) showed the world that the untrained, undisciplined American soldiers could beat the best army in the world. The British surrendered (with conditions) to the rebels. As a result, the French decided to aid the Americans in their war with the British.

I loved seeing the battle site and getting a good feel for exactly what happened during the two battles that took place there. I marvel at the huge battle area where they fought. It made me tired just thinking of how long and hard they fought and over such large distances. It was also interesting to see the significance of geography in history. I keep seeing the repeat of that theme every time we visit a historical site. Well, now I just need to find a good sight-seeing buddy who will read ALL the signs WITH me.

8/20/08 Catching up

8/20/08We headed further East and took a couple days for what we call “catch up” days where we just attend to real life responsibilities (imagine that!) like school paperwork due, planning, mail, and various other chores and responsibilities and do absolutely no sight-seeing. For these days we try to find campgrounds with plenty for the kids to do. Thankfully, this one fit the bill to a “T” with a great pool, splash park, playground, small lake with paddle boats, and a mini-golf course. The kids voted to stay another day here!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

8/17/08 Wine Country

While here I learned that this lush green area in the finger lakes region of NY is famous for it’s fine vineyards and popular wines. It is 2nd in the US only to California’s Napa Valley – the only difference, we were told, is California’s longer growing season. Not only was it full of tasty wineries but also lovely lakes and rolling green hills.

After the wine country, we headed to Fort Stanwix where a successful Revolutionary War battle was fought against the British. I learned that 1/3 of all the battles were fought in NY State. Hopefully, we can get in a couple sites before “fort-fatigue” sets in on the kids.

Friday, August 15, 2008

8/15/08 The Greatest Engineering Marvel in the World (at that time)

The 363 mile Erie Canal was completed after 8 years in 1825. Considering that it’s getting close to 200 years old, we marveled at the significant accomplishment it was for that time as well as its impact on our history, opening up trade and settlement in the Midwest. For all you history buffs out there, at the time of it’s completion it was hailed as the greatest engineering marvel in the world. It reduced the cost of shipping goods to the “frontier” of that time by 90% and made New York City the busiest seaport in America.

We took a boat trip which included travel through the locks in Lockport, NY. This area was the most difficult stretch of the Erie Canal to build through solid rock cliff with an elevation gain of 60 feet just in this one section. It was fascinating to experience “locking up” and “locking down” for the first time. We also enjoyed riding bikes along a portion of the 363 mile trail that was once the tow paths for the mules pulling the boats along the canal (prior to the invention of steam engines).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

8/12/08 They say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

We spent 2 ½ days, at Niagara Falls. It was a magnificent sight to behold and since a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ve posted a few pics from our time here.

Monday, August 11, 2008

8/11/08 We were blown away!!! …Or, The Power Shower!

Today we were literally blown away on the very aptly named “hurricane deck” on the Cave of the Winds tour. We felt like we “experienced” the power of the falls. We literally stood under the falls as the wind blew them directly on us. Full of giggles and squeals of delight, we had so much fun that we went back in the falls about a dozen times! We all agreed that this was our favorite Niagara stop. (In the attached video, the kids getting really wet under the falls are K & R!) (Oh, and BTW, my STS, spousal technical support, advised me to note that in case any of you are as technically illiterate as I am, this is a video below, push the arrow button to watch)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

8/9/08 Nancy Drew, the Crissman Historic Trail, and a reunion with dead relatives

We had a regular Nancy Drew mystery solving adventure today. We tried to find the home my dad was born in and spent his very early years. We had no address but did have some directions from my dad. We had no street names, my dad’s recollections were based on 20-some years ago (things can change in that time!), and to top it off, there was major road construction blocking the only roads he remembered. Too make a long story short, with some prayer, a good bit of driving and turning around, lots of map studying, and some creative thinking, we found it!!

After that adventure we went to St. Mark’s Lutheran Church which was founded by my ancestors in 1834. The attached cemetery was full of Crissmans. It was wild to see so many dead relatives in one place! We saw the graves of my grandma and grandpa and 2 aunts who died before I was born. We even saw Crissman Rd. Imagine that – a street named after my family. To think…we are famous (ha! ha!) We enjoyed all the various stops we made along the “Crissman Historic Trail” (even if some of them were challenging to find).

Friday, August 8, 2008

8/8/08 A Family Reunion

It took me a while to remember, but it’s been 23 years since I’ve seen my cousins in Pittsburgh!! Two of my cute little kid cousins are in their 30’s now!! This was a long overdue visit and a great delight to us all. Steve, Connie and Cherie gave us a great tour of Pittsburgh. We got to see lots of pics to get us caught up on all their kids and grandkids. My two first cousins are sisters and truly best friends (even in spite of the many “helpful suggestions” they give each other). I hope my girls are lifelong best friends like they are. We really enjoyed spending time with all the family (cousins and 2nd cousins) we were blessed to see. We even got to see the homes where my mom and dad grew up so long ago.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

8/6/08 A Fun Reunion

Last night and this morning we were so blessed to be able to see some friends of ours from when we lived in Crestline. We knew them before and after we had kids. We have pics of our kids as babies together!! It was so wild to see those once babies together now as 13 year olds. We had such a great time visiting and laughing. The more I am privileged to see old friends, the more certain I am that it is a very small foretaste of what Heaven will be like. Think of all the glorious reunions we will have one day with the added plus of no time constraints!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

8/5/08 Follow the Drinking Gourd

Today we went to The Underground Railroad National Freedom Center in Cincinnati. Wow! And, double wow!! I was moved to tears many times throughout the day as we saw various exhibits and films about the history of slavery, the Underground Railroad, famous abolitionists, various heart wrenching and heart warming true stories, and life after the war for the freed slaves. It was interactive so the kids were very engaged. This was definitely an amazing field trip for the kids complete with a written paper their teacher assigned them.

Monday, August 4, 2008

8/4/08 Evidence That Demands a Verdict…

On a scale of 1 to 10, this was a 10. Even my museum-fatigued girls loved it. Today we saw the very well done Creation Museum just outside Cincinnati. The exhibits were fabulous and done in an engaging, kid-friendly way. Not only did it show the history of creation from a Biblical perspective, but it also highlighted the evidence for creation when one begins with a Biblical world view. Both creationists and evolutionists look at the same evidence, they just interpret it differently because they begin with different assumptions. Even the radio-isotope dating technique makes many assumptions. I left feeling even more in awe of our creator and had a greater appreciation of the evidence that supports creation (for example, the evidence supporting the powerful and quick effect a world wide flood would have on fossil formations, canyon formation, sediment layers, etc.). I definitely recommend this museum. See for more information if you are interested.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

8/3/08 V-r-r-r-o-o-o-o-m!! V-r-r-r-o-o-o-o-m!! Off to the racing capital of the world.

After attending an awesome church in Indianapolis, we took a tour of the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. If you know us really well, you might think that a strange stop since we aren’t racing fans. But, it was definitely a Meity crowd pleaser. I guess it helped that the girls watched the last several laps of the Indy 500 race at Cousin Kevin’s. Or, maybe it was just fun seeing something totally different. But now that we’ve been there, I have a feeling we’ll be watching the 500 next year - by popular demand.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

8/2/08 On the Road Again

We headed out today through Chicago to visit a friend of P’s from High School. Eric has a wonderful family and P loved seeing him again after all these years. Our visit was short but sweet and then off to Indianapolis.