Stepping of the plane in Boston at the end of the trip (149 KB)

Sunday, January 25, 10:00 PM. Wyndham Safari Resort, room 1309, Orlando, FL (attending Lotusphere). 50 degrees & clear

Wednesday morning, December 3rd, we took a swim at Waikiki. We had a midday departure to Boston via redeye in San Francisco. We arrived at 6:30 AM on the 4th. Carol's sister Barbie met us at the airport with our parkas in hand. Ouch! It was great to see Barbie, but the weather was an expected yet still painful jolt.

We were mostly adjusting to the time difference, the cold, and the material possessions. We'd lived out of two bags apiece for four months. Now we had to wrap up the last threads of our Boston life, plan our cross-country trip, and get underway again as best we could. We saw a few people, but spent most of the time, it seems, resting or running errands. We had an open house on Saturday Dec. 6 and saw a few people. That night we went to Pam & Perry's for a visit and to get our car & some things we'd left there. Back in Boston, I went to my old employer, The Jacobson Group, to visit folks and clean up some electronic loose ends. I had dinner with a couple of friends and played tunes once more with Tom Clarke, then we were on our way. It would've been nice to visit more, but even here our schedule was set long ago. I had one friend whose father's death precluded a visit, and another who was flat on his back ill for two weeks around our visit. But it wasn't so much a visit for us as a stop on the tour, a step on our move west.

The Road West
This was definitely travel, not vacation, and not exotic travel either. There were still highlights, though. From December 11 - 25, we were in 17 states and covered 5,000 miles. Mostly we wanted to cover ground and get to Portland by Christmas Eve, driving south then North to avoid getting delayed by weather. As it turned out, the weather was great everywhere and it didn't matter. Oh well.

Our itinerary
  • December 11: leave Boston 10 AM,
  1. visit Pam Banks in Hollis, NH & get the last of our belongings
  2. visit the Kwasnicks for dinner in Schenectady
  3. visit Ed Shanker in Cornwall, NY
  • December 12: drive to Princeton, NJ & visit Tineke Thio & Michael & Nicola Faas
  • Dec. 13: rest in Princeton
  • Dec. 14: To Pittsburgh,
  1. visit Caroline & Greg Ertz in Harrisburg
  2. visit Jerry Wolper
  • Dec. 15: rest & recuperate in Pittsburgh
  • Dec. 16: Louisville, KY, visit Sarah Reed (childhood friend of Carol's)
  • Dec. 17: To Conway, AR (w. of Little Rock)
  • Dec. 18: To Lawton, OK (my childhood home)
  • Dec. 19: To Holbrook, AZ
  • Dec. 20: To Hermosa Beach, CA (suburban L.A.), visit Joan Lum (my sister)
  • Dec. 21: rest in LA; visit Aunt Eva Lum (Pettit)
  • Dec. 22: To Orick, CA. Carol drove all 740 miles - because she wanted to.
  • Dec. 23: To Hillsboro, OR
  • Dec. 24: rest; visit Dave Lum
  • Dec. 25: Christmas w/ aunts, uncles, cousins & Granny in Vancouver, WA

Easy traveling, depth and breadth
Being back in the car together was comforting. We had developed an easy routine while traveling, which was more familiar than being homeless in Boston. We traveled almost completely via Interstate highway. There are no such roads in India or most of Southern Africa, and few in Turkey. We drove 70 mph most of the way, and did not stray far from the fast roads. We much enjoyed visiting so much with family and friends, especially after the modest social contacts we had while abroad. We missed family and friends most while away, and it was wonderful to catch up. The trip around the world was as broad as we could make it in the time we had. It lacked the depth of our connections at home, which it felt great to renew. The cross-country trip was as deep as we could make it, in the time we had.

The job I returned to depended on my knowledge of and experience with Lotus Notes -- a deep product that facilitates just-in-time knowledge delivery, but depends on being broadened to general Internet use for its continued viability. The Internet has the business process depth capabilities of Notes R2, (the current release is 4.6), but Notes has never had the breadth of the Internet.

A sick day & genealogical search
Carol was ill with a 24 hour bug in Pittsburgh, so we spent a day more than we planned there. I took the opportunity to visit the village of Cross Creek, PA, about an hour west of Pittsburgh. Several lines of Granny Drew's ancestors lived there between about 1790 and the 1830s, when they moved on to Bellefontaine, Ohio, then Spring Valley, Kansas in the 1870s and Vancouver, WA in the early years of this century. Granny came west with her folks in 1920. The family names in Cross Creek were Robb, Nelson, Marquis, and Vance. Jerry and I took a stroll through the cemetery, and found some great (x3) and x4 granduncles, but no direct ancestors; perhaps another time.

Lawton, Oklahoma - my childhood home
Thursday evening about 5 PM, Dec. 18, we arrived in Lawton, Oklahoma. Carol wasn't in favor of going there - it being 100 miles off our planned path on I-40 - but I insisted. I couldn't get as close as Oklahoma City and not see the place where I spent most of my childhood, and not have Carol see it eve briefly. This was my first visit since March 1993, and only my second since we moved away in December 1973. I drove us to the house at 4707 Ridgecrest and Hoover Elementary next door, where I went to school from first to third grades. I looked into my first grade classroom (which has been updated, but those desks sure look small) and walked around the playground. Then we drove to 411 NW 72nd Street, where we lived while I finished fifth grade and got all the way to early in my sophomore year in high school. I went inside Woodland Hills Elementary School for the first time in over 25 years: it hasn't changed much, but it's been well maintained. We took a quick drive-by of the creek I used to build dams and chase frog and crawdads in, then visited Eisenhower Jr. & Sr. High schools. We had some Oklahoma BBQ for dinner - mmm mmm, just the way I remembered it!

The town seemed more prosperous than during my 1993 visit. There were some nice Christmas lights set up by the city along six blocks of Lee Boulevard, US 62 is now a divided highway where Rogers Lane used to be, and they have some Internet Cafes. Of course, the pawn shops and strip joints common to military bases are still there, too. The day we were there, it was sunny and 70 degrees. I was surprised to note that the TV announcers had a bland Chicago-esque accent -- it's the biggest town in 100 miles, and only has 100,000 people. They also seem to have more chains & strip malls than during my last visit.

On our way out of town the next morning, we drove through the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge, as I did many times while we lived there. It reminded me of parts of Kruger National Park in South Africa (though Carol didn't think so). We drove to the top of Mt. Scott, and tried to spot wildlife on our way through. We were more successful than I remember ever being, saw 40 bison, three bull elk, three deer next to the road, some longhorn cattle at a distance, and a prairie dog town almost close enough to touch the prairie dogs. While in the Boy Scouts I often camped in the Wildlife Refuge, and have many fond memories.

Our drive through the Northeast was viewing "land that would be beautiful when the flowers bloom, trees leaf and grass greens," but was drab in December. From Louisville to eastern Oklahoma it got greener, but after Oklahoma City the land changed to brown grasslands. The Texas Panhandle was exceptionally brown and flat. We arrived in the New Mexico mountains after nightfall, but the drive through Arizona was pretty, as was California until the Central Valley, the again after Redding (though unfortunately we drove to the coast after dark). We got up the last morning before dawn and drove through Redwoods National Park, then up the coast as far as Lincoln City, OR, then inland to Hillsboro. The trip from Redding was our only departure from the freeways. The redwoods and the coast were spectacular and worth it, but after we crossed the Rogue River in Oregon we were socked in by rain and fog, which followed us until we went inland. When we arrived at Mom's at 6 PM, she came out the front door and hopped up and down, saying "You're here! You're here!" And so we were.