Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Adventurous Trip Across the U.S

November 12

I apologize for the quality of the photos on this post.....I am not a very good photographer and am even less talented when taking pictures from a vehicle moving at 70 miles per hour!

We left the MTC last Friday morning (November 7) and started our road trip across the U.S.   It was quite an adventure!!!

Day 1 - Friday
We got up about 6 a.m. and started packing the truck back up in the "cool" morning air.   We got most everything loaded up and then it was time to load the really "important" things.
Elder Ashton loading the bikes 
There were several other couples loading up the "important" things, too and it was so funny it made me laugh out loud!   Elder Ashton was loading his bikes, the guy across the way who had only been there 5 days came down the stairs carrying his 36" flat screen TV and loaded it into the back seat of his car, and the couple that lived 4 doors down and had been there 5 days also loaded those things that were most important to them.   The Sister was a tiny little lady with white hair and she came out gently carrying two house plants and carefully placing them in the back seat.   Her husband followed her out of their apartment slowly (he was very shaky in his walking and didn't move very fast) but he carefully loaded his important high top basketball shoes on the other side of the back seat.   Guess we all have our little quirks.

We stopped at the main MTC campus to turn in our keys and to pick up a sack breakfast.   Then we hopped in the truck and headed south/east toward our first stop.
Driving away from the MTC

We drove along in Utah for a couple of hours and before we knew it we saw the sign welcoming us to Colorado.   We were traveling across the state on I-70 and it was beautiful scenery.   

We climbed up and up and up - passing through the ski town of Vail and on up over the top of the Rocky Mountains.
Up and up we go.......and Denis hat to protect him from the sun is waiting to be used :)

Entering Vail - notice there is no snow

Condos for skiers in Vail.....they all looked like they were empty
About 10 miles further along the road we found the snow
Getting ready to drive through the Eisenhower/Johnson tunnel.   It is called Eisenhower tunnel going West and Johnson tunnel going East.  Note we are nearly at the top of the mountain

We topped out on Loveland Pass at 11,600+ feet and headed down the mountain heading to Littleton, Colorado where we spent the night with an awesome family and three of the most beautiful/handsome teen-agers/young adults around (stayed with our son Curtis and his wife Merilee and their 3 kids, Brynna, Joel, and Josh.  It was great to spend the evening and night with them!

Day 2
We left Denver/Littleton about 6 a.m. and headed east.   We soon entered the Sunflower State/Kansas.

As we drove across Kansas we started to notice beautiful fall leaves along the road.   We also noticed that Kansas is VERY flat and we could see for miles around us. 

Its hard to see the sign, but it was pretty interesting to says COLBY, Kansas. :)...made us think of our son Colby back in Arizona.

We made it to Kansas City, Kansas on Saturday night and were privileged to stay with Elder Ashton's sister Connie and her husband David Hepworth.   They provided us with a delicious dinner and a comfortable bed for sleeping/resting.   We stayed in Kansas City on Saturday night, Sunday and Sunday night before heading east again on Monday morning.   We got to spend some time with two of Connie's and David's children and their families...Clark and his wife Emily, and Keith and his wife Amy and their five children all came to dinner on Sunday.   It was wonderful to have the adults and kids around for Sunday dinner..... made me think of Sunday dinners with my family.   I sure do miss them!!!

Day 3
We left Kansas City, Kansas about 5:30 a.m. on Monday morning and as we crossed the river we entered Missouri.   
As we drove along we saw a beautiful sunrise in Missouri.....made me miss the beautiful sunsets of Arizona.

A little further along the road we noticed another interesting we neared St. Louis.   Here's the sign for Tucker Blvd.....made us think of our grandson, Tucker, back in Arizona.

The St. Louis arch seen in the distance reminded me of the time we took our family to St. Louis on our return trip from Washington, D.C.   We rode the jerky cars up in the arch and looked out over the river and the city.

More beautiful scenery and colorful leaves!

Crossing a wide river!

Approaching Louisville, Kentucky where my parents lived 1942-1944 while my dad was serving during WWII and stationed at Fort Knox just outside Louisville.  I offered to bring my almost 91 year old mom along with us so she could see if Louisville had changed in the last 70 years, but she declined ;-D

As we approached Lexington, Kentucky we saw this retirement farm for retired thoroughbred horses.  Wish we had some extra time so we could take time to go and see Churchill Downs.   We did note that as we were driving along I-70 east it was called the Purple Heart Trail and as we neared Lexington, Kentucky the name of the highway changed to the Bourbon Trail......thought that was funny!

We drove through hundreds of miles of beautifully colored fall leaves lining the roads.   For a period of time I thought my head was on a swivel as I looked from side to side trying to take in all the breathtaking scenes.   I was really taken with how different the topography is from what I am used to in Arizona......both beautiful in a different way.    I stand in awe of the beauty of this planet where we live!

As we traveled along the road, I saw this white drifting over the road from the hollows/valleys on the side of the road.  I thought something was on fire....imagine my surprise when we got to the white area and found it was clouds sitting in the valleys and drifting across the road.   Beautiful!

We drove and drove and drove on this 3rd day of driving and passed through parts of multiple states: Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and West Virginia.   We spent the night in Charleston, West Virginia resting up for our final push to Chesapeake on Tuesday.

Day 4
We left Charleston about 6:30 a.m., still heading east and continued to drive through hundreds of miles of beautifully colored fall leaves on both sides of the road.   We also noted something very interesting as we traveled on across West several places along the road I could clearly see a 6" to 1 foot wide seam of coal in the rocks along the road.   Now I know why West Virginia is known for coal mining!

At about 3 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon we reached the Chesapeake bay area of Virginia.

In order to reach Portsmouth, we needed to cross a part of the bay.....we first drove through a tunnel that went UNDER the  bay and then came up and crossed the remainder of that arm of the bay on a long bridge.   I was driving at that time and felt pretty claustrophobic while driving through the tunnel under the water....I had to keep reminding myself to breathe calmly :)

As we drove across the bridge spanning the remainder of the bay, I mentioned to Elder Ashton that it reminded me of driving across the bayou in Louisiana.....sure drove carefully to make sure I didn't drive off the bridge into the water ;-)

Sign pointing the way to Portsmouth after we got across the bay.

The water tower for the town of Chesapeake where our apartment will be located when we move in next week.   For now we are in a Hampton Inn, also in Chesapeake...It is about 5 miles from our office (which is located in an LDS (Mormon) church building in Portsmouth.

My new office - finally arrived at about 3 p.m. on Tuesday.   Whew!   What a trip :)


  1. Sounds like an Ashton trip (get from point A to point B as quick as possible).

  2. So, drive, drive! ;-)

  3. I love the pictures! You're quite a tour guide, Carol!! Glad you got there safe and sound. We miss you guys..

  4. I'm so, so happy you got to see all that fall color as you traveled. I was hoping it wouldn't all be gone! And now you're in Portsmouth, where my parents spent their years of service during the Korean conflict. I'm sure you were MORE than happy to get out of the car!!! Wonderful experiences await you, I'm sure. Hope you waved to our son Robby and his family as you passed Louisville. We love you and miss you so much!!