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Chicagoland

After a day in Cleveland, the Chicago area seemed like a good stopping point. We visited our friend and FBI agent, Adam. (That’s the real FBI, not a Female Body Inspector.) After a bike ride and some conversation about the place, we found ourselves on a little auto tour of Gary, Indiana.

This was another one of those eye-opening moments for me on the trip. There is much to say, but I will just comment on the sheer infrastructure of this once-booming steel town. Roofs collapsing; beautiful old churches with trees growing out of them; every building in disarray. I’m not sure if I was too amazed or too scared, but, camera in hand, I didn’t take a single photo.

Then, and on a much lighter note, we visited our friends Kyle and Megan at their beautiful house in the Chicago burbs. Who says spontaneity goes out the window when you’re pregnant? We went on a last minute trip to Megan’s folks’ place in New Buffalo. A charming Italian dinner, a few cocktails and “California Songs” were all we needed to take our minds off the looming road ahead.

New Buffalo

Terry, Kyle, Megan and future baby Emma on Lake Michigan

“California Songs” are a collection of albums put together by Megan’s uncle. All of the albums are compilations of artists who were influenced by the Beach Boys. There are hundreds of albums. This was a fabulous continuation of my Rock Hall kick, and the cd’s have provided some good ear candy along I-90.

Just a quick stop off at Two Toots (a train restaurant for kids, of course) so we could see Tim, Emily and the kids one last time, and we’re officially headed West! Thank you to everyone who continues to make our journey so amazing.

Three Generations

We had a great time going through old photos and relics at Barry’s. Three generations’ worth. There’s gramps busting a frog, Danny looking good, getting ready for his professional life, and me goin’ in backwards up in Stoney Lake. Nephews Hank, Koleton & Sammy are still sporting the Mickey Mouse life jacket.

frogging

 

Fortunate Son

Don’t let us pick your lottery numbers any time soon. We’re one for three on our “checklist” items so far. We did The Subway but did not get into The Wave and the North Rim was too snowy to ride!

Rejected from The Wave again, we went for a hike down Buckskin Gulch, where we ran into a couple of men who had won their entry into The Wave on their first try. One of the men raised his hands up and questioned, “how did we get so lucky?”

I wasn’t envious of them at all for getting in so quickly. But his words did resonate with me the rest of our hike and even still. How did we get so lucky?

Buckskin Gulch

Buckskin Gulch

Hiking Down a River With Ray Charles

Have you ever heard of “the wave”? The one I’m talking about isn’t on any ocean, lake or river. It’s in southern Utah sandstone! It looks like this. Gorge!

Well, they only let a mere 20 people into this great feat of nature every day. So each morning for the past few days, we head to the BLM contact station and are entered into a lottery with 50 to 100 other people. If we don’t get it, we’ll try for an online permit next year.

As we try our luck riding the wave, we are exploring the rest of this part of Southern Utah / Northern Arizona. The wave must be really neat to draw people from all over the world to enter the permit lottery every day, because the rest of this place is like heaven.

Yesterday we took a stroll down the river which cuts through a canyon and ends up in some neat-o narrows. Some side slot canyons, petroglyphs, and a natural bridge were just added bonuses to the formations and general beauty we saw.

River Hike Collage

We hiked with two nice fellas we met that day in the lottery.┬áRay is a true “suthun” grandfather who lives in Atlanta, and Charles (or “Chuls” as Ray calls him) is a retired geography teacher from Missouri. They have both really done it all out west, and they were walking encyclopedias during our jaunt, with stories, history and trail info that you just can’t read about online.

ray-charles

Ray and Charles

So we’re back in Utah. Just can’t leave! Not for long, though. Next we’re off to Arizona to bike the north rim of the Grand Canyon and to see Uncle Barry in Phoenix.

The journey continues…

Found Rolled Up in an Old Coat Pocket

fortune cookie

Yes, old fortune. I think I will.