Category Archives: Minnesota

Epilogue Part 1…Driving Across the United States 2017

We are home.  After 14 days of driving across 11 states…mostly western and mid-western states…we have many thoughts of who the United States is and changed in the past eight years when we took the same drive.  Our experiences are about simple things that we observed.. 

Infrastructure improvement is exploding across the West especially the upper mid-west.  Roads, hospitals, airports, colleges, and bridges.  North Dakota looks to using their windfall of taxes from their oil/gas bonanza to rebuild their state from scratch.  Montana seems to be right behind them.  The rest of the country should thank North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Texas and Oklahoma for all of the wealth they are providing the rest of the country.

The gas prices were an eye opener, $1.99 in Minnesota to $3.51 in California.  Looks like the far west state governments are taxing the heck out of their residents who use gasoline.

By the way, if you can, never drive through Denver or Las Vegas.  Horrible traffic any time of the day.  Matches Los Angeles or San Diego. 

The good news is that gas mileage on cars have improved dramatically in the past eight years.  We averaged over over 33 miles per gallon with the Honda CRV driving the speed limited.  One thing I noticed this trip was the impact driving into a 20 mph head wind has on your gas mileage.  Drops it from 33 to 25 mpg.  When are the car company engineers going to improve the aerodynamics of our vehicles?

Part 2 tomorrow on the food, service, hotels and family.



Days 10, 11…Last Full Day…On the Way Back

Day 10, 2017 Last full day in Minnesota.

Wednesday was our day to visit the We then spent head waters of the Mississippi River in northern Minnesota. Outstanding park with 45 miles of hiking trails and sites. We really enjoyed our trip.


We spent the evening with our family at Dead Lake. Great family time the whole trip.


Day 11, 2017 Friday, Day 1 of driving home on the Northern route.

We left our hotel by 0615 and it was cold and windy. 40 mph wind and 53 degrees. Guess what? That was the whole day. Ramming the car directly into a 40 mph gale which led to 25 mpg gas mileage for the day. Add to that we climbed over a 1000 feet in altitude to our current location of Mills City, Montana. Now up to 2390 feet. Still not as high as home yet. P.S. Congratulations to the State of Minnesota for having the cheapest gas on our trip. $1.99.

We stopped for lunch in Dickenson, ND where we have sent four basketball players on scholarships…two woman and two men to Dickerson State University. We headed to a Thai 20170623_124149restaurant where the internet say the student from the University eat their food. So true, we ran into two football player from SoCal who had lots of questions on things on California. We enjoyed our visit.

Finally, one of our stop was at Teddy Roosevelt National Park in the far west of North Dakota. Georgious place with lots of bison.

Tomorrow, 530 miles to Pocatello, Idaho.

Leave a comment

Posted by on June 24, 2017 in Minnesota



Day 9, Turtle Races…Wild Weather!

Up this morning and we met the family in the resort town where we are staying, Perham, Minnesota.  Every Wednesday during the season they have turtle races for the kids.  The population of the town jumps from 3000 to 5000 as it off to the races. 

20170621_121336  20170621_121127After the races we headed to a favorite hangout on a lake called Zorba’s.  No it’s not Greek, it’s a pizza place with Mexican food.  Yep, one of a kind.  We all had a great couple of hours visiting and eating.

We hit our hotel for a vacation nap and then off to the Lake and then it happened.  I always tease Libby that she is a tornado magnet.  I am not kidding, every trip we take in the summer in states that have tornados, we hit tornados.  Well, we arrived at the lake and the weather alert on my phone went off..  Tornado on way.  It missed us by 15 miles including its golf ball sized hail.  We are back now in our hotel and the bad weather is SUPPOSED to be over in an hour.  Lets hope


Tomorrow we are headed for the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Lake Itasca. 

Leave a comment

Posted by on June 22, 2017 in Minnesota



Planning Two More Trips This Year(2017)

With our next trip fully planned, a 14 day driving jaunt of 4000 miles that covers thirteen states, I have been planning two more trips.  One a 9-day cross country visit to the Washington D.C. area and a four day 100th birthday party trip for my Dad in Minnesota. 

Washington D.C. Trip

Image result for photo washington mallWe decided to stay in the United States this year as the flights to Europe are such a pain.  If I could afford first class air fare, things wouldn’t be so painful but, the cost for this addition doubles the price of the trip.  What a pain. 

So instead, we decided to head to the center of our Federal Government, Washington D.C..  This will be our third trip there but we feel we have barely scratched the surface of the things to see. 

This trip will be very different from prior trips.  We will not have a car.  We will be using Uber, We rented a one bedroom apartment in the suburbs within walking distance of supermarkets, restaurants and the train system that will take us directly into Washington, D.C. within in 20 minutes.  The cost of of our apartment is 1/2 or less than a hotel in D.C., we will be saving a chunk of $$$$ on food with our own kitchen and no rental car or parking costs.  This is how we do it on our trips to Europe so we figured we might as well see how it works here the United States.

100th Birthday Party(Minnesota)

20170429_121009We will be making our third trip this year to Minnesota, this time for Dad’s 100th birthday.  Four days with our daughter, we traveled there with our son earlier this year,

The cost for airfare to Minnesota is more than to Washington D.C.. Plus, renting a car is key as we must drive 100+ miles to the small farm town where Dad lives. 

We are all looking forward to this trip as we are expected see a good part of the community who are always supportive to family and friends. 

More later. 



Planning…Trip 4 of the Year 2017…Driving to Minnesota

I have often said, “Planning for a trip is at least as fun as taking the trip itself.”  That is what I have been doing the last few days for our two week driving trip to Minnesota.

2017 is the 100 year celebration for our family.  Dad will be 100 years old in November and he is really excited.  He was hoping he could celebrate it with Mom but she passed on  three years ago and will be celebrating in spirit with him and the family.

I am planning to visit Dad four times this year year if all goes well and the trip I am planning is a 14 day round trip from California to Minnesota.  Just got back two weeks ago from a four day turn around fly in visit to Dad with my son Jeff.  It was a great trip and even “enjoyed” the snow in May.  Dang that global warming.

Now about the planning for this trip.  Read an article about traveling in this year.  They recommended Europe as a good place as the dollar buys much more there than in the past.  Part of that reason is the ISIS terrorists are expected to be hitting Europe this year hard especially in tourist hotspots.  Americans will be staying home for vacation.

My planning, especially in hotels/motels, sure are showing that is true.  Our last driving trip cross country, October 2015, down highway 10 to New Orleans, had the cost of hotel rooms around $90 including tax per night for 2-3 star rooms.  This trip?  $120 per night.  At least a 25% increase.  I expect a 35% increase in the cost of food on the road as well.  The only thing that is less expensive will be gas.  Once you leave California, gas will be less than it was two years ago.  Plus, my gas powered Honda CRV gets and average of 35 MPG.

Getting my CRV oil changed and tires rotated next week.  Getting excited about this trip.


A Warm May 2017 Welcome in the Snow of Minnesota

20170429_121009What a great trip we…Jeff and I…had to Minnesota to to visit Dad.  He hadn’t seen Jeff his grand son for 7 years and the two of them had a lot to catch up on. 

We went out to eat at his small Minnesota farm town favorite restaurant, Donner’s.  We had great company from all over Minnesota join us;  Tisha, Ben and family all the way from Austin, Minnesota,  Dave and Kathy from Sauk Centre, Minnesota,  Roger and Deb from Clara City, Amy and Gary and her family from Alexandria, Minnesota.

Here are a few photo’s of our visit. 

We visited Aunt Ruthie who says she is feeling better than she is has for some time.  She is a youngster of 90 where as, Dad is 99 years old. 

Of course we had to have a taste of snow in May in Minnesota.  We had to leave Clara City early so we would miss the snow storm and make it to the airport.

We had a great trip overall and played a lot of cards where Dad beat us all thoroughly for three days.  

Leave a comment

Posted by on May 2, 2017 in Airlines, California, Minnesota



Cross Country Visit of Three Generations of Family War Vets

Today is the start of a long week-end together for three generations of men in our family.  Three men;  The grandson mid-30’s, a police officer, the son early –70’s retired and the father, 99 years old patriarch of the family.

fredWhether we admit to it or not, we three have much in common.  We all are Army war vets.  Second World War for Dad, combat medic for 4 years in the European Theater,

mel reserves head shot Nine years(2 years active duty and 7 active reserves) in the Medical Corp.  One year in Viet Nam for me. 

Jeff alone in iraqThe grandson spent four years as a combat warrior, two year in Iraq, with expertise in weapons and very much at home in unit’s armory as combat patrols.

We are all proud of our sacrifice for our country even though we all shake our heads at what goes on in our country today.  We all agree that we all fought for their freedom to “act the fool.”  LOL

We all are strong minded, family oriented, believe in common sense and hard work.

With that as background, the son and grandson will be leaving southern California today, boarding a plane to Minneapolis, renting a car and driving 100 miles on two lane highway’s to a farm town in west central Minnesota to spend a couple of days with Dad at the nursing home where he now stays. 

Turning 100 years old soon, his mind is as sharp as ever but he requires help with physical functions that most centenarian’s need.  He loves to play cards and is looking to beating his son and grandson in rummy!

Stay with us on our journey. 


Leave a comment

Posted by on April 28, 2017 in California, Family, Minnesota