Linda's Backroad Musings
Today I was thinking about how much fun we had last summer on our roadtrip to Alaska and it dawned on me I was busy planning that trip last year at this time. Really, any trip involving many days and miles requires a planning timetable of several months instead of weeks. I read blogs, books set in the north, travel books, Alaska tourist information and maps. Definitely helpful and so exciting.
With the thought that starting early is important, I decided to post the last entry of my Alaska 2011 blog from our trip. Some of the information there might be of interest to those thinking of planning a similar trip this summer. Feel free to visit the link for additional information and pictures.
“We left on July 6th driving a 2001 Ford ¾ ton diesel pickup with 182,099 miles on the speedometer. On the back of the pickup we carried a 2005 850SC NorthStar popup pickup camper. Obviously, we saw no need to have new equipment.
We returned on August 17th after 39 days. The ending mileage was 192,102. Here is the summary.
We drove 10,002 miles, used 666.725 gallons of fuel, averaging 15.001 miles per gallon and $4.522 per gallon for diesel, for a total of $3015.00. (I converted all of Canada's metric figures to keep it equal.) I guess the reason I found these figures interesting is because I saved $3,000 for the trip but with higher fuel prices, I figured that amount would probably only pay for the fuel. Right on there!
We decided to convert $1,500 to Canadian money just to have the cash available. The rate was $1.06 American for each $1 Canadian. That amount of money paid for all fuel, camping fees and Canadian groceries except for two credit card charged fuel fills. At the border, coming home, we had enough change to buy a bottle of Crown Royal at the duty free shop. (It was a small bottle:)
I did not keep accurate records on other expenditures. However, we roughly figured how many nights we paid for camp spots, restaurant meals and misc expenses and $1,000 would almost cover it. (I don't count groceries because we have to eat at home).
So, bottom line, in this (last) summer's economy, it took close to $4,000 for the trip.
Another expense I am not counting toward the total is the cost of shipping our salmon home. It cost about $10.50 per pound. It is our salmon, the fish we actually caught. So many companies put the fish in bulk processing. I appreciate knowing how they were handled. Frozen wild-caught sockeye salmon in stores cost $6 to $7 a pound so it isn't too bad”
The Kansas Sampler Foundation is a non profit organization with a mission to “preserve, sustain and grow rural culture by educating Kansans about Kansas and by networking and supporting rural communities.”
Each year they sponsor the Kansas Sampler Festival the first weekend in May. I’ve never attended this event but have heard so many good things about it. Maybe this year…
Anyway, I received an email recently requesting names of small towns who have recently lost their grocery store. I can’t help them with the request, but it got me thinking about our small grocery store when I was a kid.
We did our grocery shopping in Junction City at Sheridan's because Mom sold her eggs to the small store. I’m not sure on this, but I think the eggs bought most of our groceries. There was a meat counter in the back and a butcher that cut to order. Everyone knew us so it was fun to go into the store. For many years, Mrs. Sheridan was the checker. There were no bar codes, they remembered the prices of everything in the store.
I can’t remember where the candy was displayed in Sheridan’s. I do remember the candy at a tiny store near my grandpa. I think candy was all she had. That was the big deal when we visited Gramps—running to Shelton’s with a few coins for candy.
One of my husband's early, right out of high school jobs was delivering Royal Crown products to small town grocery stores. He said they were all similar. It would be interesting to trace his route and check on the stores. One store he visited was the Skiddy store—down the road from my cousins. The last time we were by Skiddy, it was only a ghost of a building.
Our contribution to a small town grocery store is,O'Bryhim's Thriftway a 4th generation grocery store in Overbrook. It has everything and the prices are competitive. And, they employ local young people who carry groceries to the car.
The Sixth Annual 2011 Symphony in the Flint Hills held at the Fix Pasture, Volland, Kansas was about freedom.
Freedom for those attending to sit back and let their senses soar to the far off hills through sight and sound. More to the theme, though, was the State’s role in the Nation’s history of freedom. Kansas as Freedom’s Frontier.
We were able to attend two educational programs before our duties as volunteers. Both addressed freedom of American people.
Jon Boursaw is the direct descendant of two Headmen or Tribal Leaders in the Potawatomi Nation. His tribe suffered many disappointments and hardships during the settlement of this country, including the Potawatomi Trail of Death, a forced march which ended in Kansas. As a result of an attempt to assimilate Native Americans in white men ways, they allotted land to individual tribal members. Many Flint Hills ranches have that land in past titles and many Citizen Potawatomi members still live in the region.
Nicole Etcheson’s enthusiasm for her presentation on “The Border War and American Liberty” gave new understanding to Kansas Statehood and its role in the beginning of the Civil War. The excellent 2011 Symphony in the Flint Hills Field Journal has an overlay of the flint hills over Civil War Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area. Kansas Statehood and its decision to become a free state was the real beginning of the Civil War according to Dr. Etcheson.
Kansas weather with a slight breeze and cool temperature cooperated once again as the Kansas City Symphony’s beautiful music was welcomed by a colorful audience. Familiar songs from How the West Was Won, Silverado and Gone with the Wind including Tara’s Theme were appropriate choices given the theme of the day. Lincoln’s Portrait narrated by Peter Coyote should be recorded to share with the world. Lincoln quotations set to Copeland music brought the audience to its feet at the end as did Trevor Scheunemann’s baritone singing Selections from Old American Songs.
Once again in the Freedom theme, The Symphonic Suite from Gettysburg by Edelman included a mounted color guard from Ft Riley. Governor Brownback, with his rural background, probably was not intimidated by a skittish horse more familiar with drums and bugles than violins.
Personally, I love hats. Each year the Symphony in the Flint Hills brings out the hats. In fact, it seems each time I tried to take a picture, there were hats in front of me. Then I found myself taking pictures of hats. You will find pictures taken throughout the day. Please watch to find, at the end, those who truly know how to wear their hats.
Welcome iPad 2. Although the 3G models aren’t in stores yet, the rest should be by 5:00 this afternoon. We can finally quit reading reviews and watching UTube videos and get our hands on the real thing.
It's hard not to be tempted. There is information overload about the Zoom, iPad 2 and others. My friends and family have iPhones and love them, so I became convinced I need an iPad.
Steve Jobs didn't help when he apparently rose from his sick bed and so convincingly introduced their new product. Like supposedly millions of others, I was hooked.
Here is what I learned.
The front and back camera would be cool. Tech writers point out how much faster the iPad 2 is for game graphics. Even though I don’t play games, fast is fast.
Now that AT&T has a $15 a month plan that can be started and stopped without a contract, the 3G model becomes very attractive for travel. All have built in WiFi which works for home use.
It seems there can never be enough memory. I would think the 32 Gigabyte model would be enough to handle my music, books, movies and pictures.
Finally, though, it's all about money. To get what I wanted, a new iPad 2 would cost $729.00. With the fancy must-have cover and sales tax it would be around $820.
It was this price tag that made me decide I do not need the latest and greatest. However, since I had the thought of getting one in my mind, what else to do but turn to Craig's List. Kansas City had at least 15 of the original iPads listed and that was just one day. People were selling in order to buy the new model, is my guess. Wouldn't you know, I found what I wanted, a 32 gig, 3G original iPad with cover. In the end, for about $400 less than a new iPad 2, I bought the original model.
Here is my assessment. My lightly used (seller's words) does look and work like new. So well, that I can hardly leave it alone. It was probably not something I really needed, but I know I’ll get a lot of enjoyment from it. At least that’s how I am justifying the purchase.
How about it, if you have one, are you keeping or buying a Two? If you don't have a tablet, are you tempted?
The National Geographic series on Great Migrations is amazing, especially the segment on Monarch Butterflies. KU's Monarch Watch director Dr. Chip Taylor has a prominent part in the segment. Click on this link for the music video of the Monarch segment featuring some of the beautiful images. The site also has blogs and background stories on all the productions.
The entire series is now for sale. The price depends on the type. I ordered a DVD and it cost $29 with blue ray $5 more.
If you do order the video, go to the Monarch Watch site and click on the "Amazon Portal" near the top of the home page. In this way, Monarch Watch will receive a percentage of your order. I know they work on a tight budget so if we all do this small thing, it is a win, win situation for all.
If you order right away, you can still get the Great Migrations video by Christmas--a perfect last minute gift with a home town link.
In our family Thanksgiving Day is traditionally simple. It is a time for food and fellowship. The aromas of turkey, fresh baked bread and pumpkin pie draw us to the kitchen and finally the table.
During our short time of gratitude, we are all thankful for family and health. We overeat, talk too loud and laugh often.
Thanksgiving 1943 was not full of fun and fellowship for the late Alex Haley, celebrated author of the 1976 book and later miniseries Roots. He was a cook on the USS Murzim. At the end of a day spent preparing a Thanksgiving meal for everyone on the ship, he made his way out for a breath of open fresh air.
In an article entitled “Thank You” published November 21, 1982 in Parade Magazine Harley writes it was at that time, he got to thinking about Thanksgivings of his past. He searched in his mind of a way to apply Thanksgiving to the short day he had left.
“It must have taken me a half-hour to sense that maybe some key to an answer could result from reversing the word “Thanksgiving…to “Giving Thanks.” Haley wrote. “After awhile, like a dawn’s brightening, a further answer did come—that there were people to thank, people who had done so much for me that I could never possibly repay them. The embarrassing truth was I’d always just accepted what they’d done, taken all of it for granted. Not one time had I ever bothered to express to any of them so much as a simple, sincere, “Thank you.”
In the article, Haley tells of sitting down with paper and memories. He wrote heart felt notes to his Father, Grandmother and other special people in his life.
I kept Haley’s article and thought of it as I wrote letters to my parents over the years. In addition to the usual family news, I included a thank you for deeds done in the present or past. By thanking for answers to questions, I conveyed the value of their opinions. My father has passed and my mother is elderly. I sincerely hope I was able to communicate my appreciation for their continuing influence in my life.
In early December 1992, while our daughter was a junior in college, I was the subject of a paper for her sociology class. She wrote how I had helped the family and her in ways I did not realize. She gave me a copy of the paper and I will cherish it always. I need to tell her again how much it means to me.
My friend Sue sends the most meaningful thank you notes. She uses words like “beautiful, warm, and fun” when she writes or emails about coming into our home for a meal or party. How nice to receive that confirmation.
As Thanksgiving and the Holiday season approach, rereading Alex Haley’s 25-year-old article has inspired me again to say thank you by writing a short three-sentence note or better yet, a letter. As he said, it is a simple, meaningful gift. Most importantly, I should keep in mind something Haley felt so strongly about communicating that he had it printed across the bottom of his stationery. It read,
"Find the good and praise it"
Originally posted on Linda's Backroad Musings November 20, 2007.
Peter Fletcher is trained in classical guitar. Beginning at age seven, he studied under professional instructors and in Master Classes while winning awards along the way. He has played all over the United States in impressive venues including Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Last night we heard him play for an hour and half at the Lawrence Public Library.
Mr. Fletcher's passion for his music was evident in his professional presentation. With fingers seeming to dance over the strings of his guitar, he created intonations sometimes subtle sometimes strong, but always clear and beautiful. My favorite was Koyunbaba, Op.19, only because it is on the CD we purchased and I have listened to it several more times. All the music was breathtaking. Click here for a YouTube presentation of Preludio by Manuel Ponce, one of the songs Mr. Fletcher played last night.
My only disappointment was that more people did not take advantage of this opportunity to hear Mr. Fletcher perform. We are continually amazed at the talent the Lawrence Public Library brings to the community, no admission charged. They have several more excellent programs in the next few weeks. Check here for dates and times on the calendar to the right of the site
A recent Lawrence Journal World article about the Baker Wetlands said the following:
Last week, Boyd said the site caused a stir among local bird watchers when a flock of sandhill cranes landed at the lake, a bird that is typically spotted in Douglas County about once a decade.
We happened to be working outside when the flock of cranes flew over. We live near the Clinton Lake marsh/wetlands, so flocks of birds riding the valley currents overhead are not unusual. Click here for the sound that caught our attention.
It was a large flock. This overly enlarged thus fuzzy picture shows just a few.
The Nebraska Game and Parks writes this movement is called a "kettle."
At midday when the sun is shining, look for soaring "kettles" of cranes over the river valley. These groups appear as wisps of smoke from a distance. The birds are testing the thermals and keeping their flight muscles toned for the journey, that lies ahead. Cranes are diurnal or daytime migrants and use thermals to their advantage. They will ride the thermal higher and higher up to an altitude of a couple of thousand feet, then they will glide northward in wavering lines losing altitude as they go until they reach the next thermal, spiraling upwards to repeat the process. This method of migration is energy efficient, more so than the power-flapping flight of other species such as geese. On a good day, cranes can travel up to 500 miles although 200 to 300 miles is more typical. In the late afternoon, they seek a wetland of some type to roost for the night and depart the next morning weather permitting, until they reach their destination.
One year we hope to see the cranes up close in Nebraska's Sand Hills. Anyone made the trip?
I haven't run this past Jenn and Julie, but possibly American the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass is the greatest deal around.
Only one stipulation, you have to be age 62.
Recently, it came to my attention that some of our friends did not realize they qualified for the Pass at the young age of 62.
The Senior Pass, previously called Golden Age Passport, is available at any National Park site. Proof of age and $10 is all that is required.
What does only $10 get you? Click on this link for any questions, but basically, it is free admission to National Parks and half off of National Parks or Federal Recreational campgrounds. We've found most Corps of Engineers managed campgrounds honor the Pass as do some privately managed campgrounds in National Forests. Recently, we discovered Chimney Rock Archaeological Area in southern Colorado which is maintained by private donations honored it. We always ask. Also, it is important to note that additional fees such as parking or hiking are full price as are items available for sale inside the park.
If you qualify and enjoy our National Parks, get one the next time you visit.
Several mornings in rural Douglas County arrived with an ever so slight covering of frost reminding me fall is here despite the beautiful days. My flowering plants were nestled under a blanket while others, less important only because they've had their glory, were nipped.
I notice the prairie grass already has its beautiful fall bronze-copper look. The trees far off in the valley appear green, but they too will soon be adding their reds and yellows.
Today I came across this site from the USDA Forest Service. It has the latest updates on tree color divided by region across the United States.
I plan to study it closely as we usually try to spend a few days chasing color. But, in the end, many local areas such as the Wildlife and Parks above Clinton Lake are just as beautiful.
Any other rural areas around Lawrence to add to a leaf peeping road trip?