Day 31 April 11th

It was a long day.  We left Santa Fe around 9am on our way to Wichita Falls, Texas.  It was still cold outside.  UGH.  But we are heading south!  Today was a driving day. 

Texas State Line

Oil Well

We crossed into Texas.   We did see some oil wells.  

Oklahoma State Line

Red River

 We also made a small detour to Oklahoma. The Red River separates the two states. 


 Only 5 more states to go.  Driving through Texas we saw the It’ll Do Motel. 

It'll Do Motel

Thankfully, we had a reservation at the Courtyard.  We got to our hotel around 6:30.  We are tired.  Tomorrow we head to our sister Lisa’s home in Houston. 

Texas Landscape

Landscape in TX

Did I mention that it finally warmed up.  The temperature is in the 70’s in Wichita Falls.   Our mileage is 9493.


Day 30 April 10th

Santa Fe Street

Santa Fe Store

Today was a sightseeing day.  Santa Fe is an amazing city.  It is the oldest capital city in North America.  It seems more Spanish than Mexican, although its history combines the two.  Last fall Lexi and I (Toni) went to visit  Deni (our sister) who was living in Albuquerque, NM at the time. Now she is in Chicago. 

Santa Fe Building

We toured many beautiful areas in the southwest including Santa Fe.  Deni suggested I read “Death Comes for the Archbishop” by Willa Cather.  It revolves around Archbishop Lamy in the mid 1800’s and life in this area.  It kind of brings this area to life and its easier to imagine the history of all these churches and buildings. 

We started our day by going to Mass at the St. Francis Cathedral (founded by Lamy).  Then on to Loretto Chapel.  I love this little chapel. 

Loretto Miraculous Staircase

It started as a girls school and of course a convent.  The choir loft did not have a staircase built, which was not uncommon.  Ordinarily the choir members, usually men, would just climb up a ladder.  This was not easy for the nuns and girls, so they prayed to St. Joseph (patron of carpenters) to help them.  Legend has it that an unknown carpenter showed up, built the circular staircase with only very basic tools and used his own wood.  He left when it was completed and did not ask to be paid. The wood is not from this area and the staircase has been featured on “Unsolved Mysteries.”  Regardless, it is an amazing sight.  The school closed in 1968 and a private family purchased the chapel.  They have been very kind to it.

Next stop was of course lunch!  Food is also a major attraction here.  We had a delicious buffet lunch of what I would call Spanish/Mexican food.  Desert was some kind of white, creamy pudding and anisette sugar cookies.  Yum. Now that our strength was back, we continued our sightseeing. 

Palace of the Govenors

 On to the Palace of the Governors, now a history museum, and the Mission of San Miguel. 

San Miguel Church Sign

San Miguel Church

The Mission is considered the oldest church in the US…although I think I have heard that claim before.  At any rate, it dates to 1610 and although it has been renovated through the years, it still has the original adobe walls.

Santa Fe has many little shops, but we didn’t shop today.  It is also home to the Georgia O’Keefe Museum.  I had been there before and Julie saw a traveling show recently, so we passed on it.

Tomorrow we leave for Wichita Falls, Texas with a quick stop in Oklahoma.  At this point, we have been to 41 states. By the way, it is freezing here.  Mom said it was 90 today in Orlando…

Day 25 April 5th

Joe Mamma's

From the beach to the desert…and Las Vegas!

We had a quick breakfast at Joe Momma’s in Avila Beach and then left at about 10:30 for Las Vegas. 

Toni at the Pier

Today is a big day for us because we are now headed east.  This is the last direction of the “square”.  North, west, south, and now east.  We still have a long road ahead, but home is coming into sight.

Hwy 58 Eastern CA

Eastern CA

Our route took us back across the mountains on highway 58.  Julie thinks California needs to redefine their definition of a highway.  It was another very windy, narrow road in most places, but it was scenic.  Parts of the road was like a roller coaster, not windy but up and down and up and down.  The hills were very pretty and many had colorful yellow flowers on them. 

Cattle enjoying spring day in desert

It was getting warmer and warmer and we knew we were reaching the desert.  The terrain was of course completely different.  Scrubby brush on brown rolling hills.  We saw a sign for Death Valley, but Vegas was calling! 

We saw the Las Vegas skyline when we were still 13 miles away.  Hotel rooms are really reasonable right now, even on the Strip.  Believe it or not they start at about $25. We are at the Stratosphere and are staying for 2 nights.

Desert in Ca

Nevada State Line


Julie and I went to the casino tonight and guess what?  We each won some money!  Julie is ahead $10 and I am ahead $36.  We are such big gamblers…haha

Las Vegas Hotels


We arrived here at 6:00 and our mileage is now 8,056.

Day 23 April 3rd

When Lexi stayed with us in Hanover, NH

Happy Birthday Lexi!  Lexi is Toni’s daughter and Julie’s niece who turned twenty today.  She is in Barcelona, Spain for a trimester.  She is a sophomore at Dartmouth.

We survived our detour over the mountains. We were hoping that the mudslide in Garberville, Ca had been cleared up but no such luck.  

CA Hwy 36

 We took highway 36.  Although highway is not what I would call it as it was only two lanes.  The detour took us out of our way by about three hours. It was a long and winding road.  The drive would definitely cause motion sickness for those with a weak stomach.  

CA Rest Stop

The drive was beautiful and we again saw snow at the higher elevations.

Richmond CA Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Finally, we crossed the Richmond Bridge and then the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco.  The weather was beautiful and the skies were clear.  



 I forgot how steep the roads in the city were.  Of course, we had to drive down Lombard St., the crooked one.  

Lombard Sign

Lombard St

I would not want to drive it with a stick shift.  We only stayed in San Fran about an hour. 

San Francisco Bay


San Francisco

It was getting late and we needed to get to Palo Alto, our next hotel stop.   Toni went to dinner with her friends, Robbie and Montse Armitano.  They were her neighbors in Atlanta.  She had a great time catching up.  She could not believe how handsome and grown up the children were.

Montse, Robbie, and Toni

Armitano Family

Our mileage is 7416!

Day 17 March 28

Well we hit our first delay.  We woke up in our hotel room and looked outside.  There was around 7-8 inches of snow.  We found out that Interstate 90 through Wyoming and Montana had weather advisories.  They cautioned against any “unnecessary travel”.  So we are chilling in our room.  After being on the road for 17 days you would think we would be happy but it seems strange to just sit here.  We will do our laundry instead. One good thing, we will be able to have dinner with our friends, Kathleen and Jerry tonight.  We went to the Sheridan Palace on Main St. and had a wonderful down home meal.  It was a comfortable and friendly place.  The food was fabulous.

Dinner at the Sheridan Palace

Chef Steve and Kathleen


After dinner we rode by the home of Buffalo Bill and then went back to our hotel and took a picture of a horse in the lobby.

Home of Buffalo Bill

Sheridan Inn


Happy Trails to You


We got a Wyoming bottle of wine for Steve.  Its called Stampede Red and has horses on it.  Very cool. 

Our mileage is 5,265

Day Seven

We had a relaxing morning and slowly started our travels at 11:00.  Our destination today was Cincinnati, OH with a trip across the bridge into Kentucky.  The weather is still very comfortable, but a front is coming in and it is getting more cloudy.  We drove across the rural countryside and saw lots of rolling hills, barns, and farms.  At one point, we saw an Amish farmer driving his horse-drawn carriage down a small road.  Unfortunately we didn’t have our camera ready.

Next up was Zanesville, OH.  They have a museum  for Zane Grey, writer of cowboy fiction.  The museum was closed, but it reminded us of our Grandpa Karnes who loved to read cowboy books. We continued on our way towards Cincinnati. 

Downtown Cincinnati

Cincinnati Red's Stadium

Ohio River Crossing into Kentucky


We crossed the bridge into KY, but didn’t get a good picture of the sign.  Wouldn’t you know it was right in the middle of the bridge!  Even us brave souls didn’t dare to stop there.  So, we crossed to the other side and did it again, camera ready.  

Kentucky State Line

We also were lucky enough to find an Ohio winery not too far off of our route.  Another bottle added to Steve’s collection.  Did you know that Ohio was the largest supplier of US wine until the late 1800’s?  Julie did some trivia searching and found that one.

Vinoklet Winery

Vinoklet Vineyards


Our journey today ended at 4:30 and our mileage is at 2,664.  Tomorrow we head to Michigan and will be staying with our cousin Andie.

Day Two


State Of Maryland


Woke up feeling rested and ready to go.  This part of our trip is a lot of driving.  We have lived on the east coast most of our lives so we wanted to drive through those states quickly.  Today we need to get from lower Virginia to West Chester Pennsylvania.  We want to go to Washington DC so we can get a picture of that place as well.. There is a lot of traffic but we want to get pictures of the Washington Monument, the Capitol and other buildings in the area.  There was a St. Patrick’s Day Parade going thru and many streets were closed.  But we got em.  

(Julie wrote that.  This is now Toni.  Yes, there was LOTS of traffic.  Julie was driving and her old NYC years of driving kicked in.  She roared in front of buses , slowed down or even stopped, and ordered me to shoot photos.  Its a good thing it was Sunday)



Washington Monument

Then we drove out-of-town and headed towards Wilmington and then over to West Chester.  Hit traffic on 95 that delayed us an hour.   We finally made it to our brother Dan’s house.   But he had a wonderful suprise waiting for us.

Delaware State Line

Pennsylvania State Line


Fen's Wonderful Meal She Served Us

His girlfriend Fen had made 6 or 7 authentic Chinese dishes.  They were fantastic. We had sweet and sour chicken, spicy chicken, greens, rice, beef with vegetables.  cabbage, corn  it was out of this world. 

Dan and Fen

We are going to bed and then heading to New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont,  So far we have driven 976 miles.

(and best of all, we get to spend time with my Lexi!!)