Wednesday, November 19, 2014

On the road

We left home on Monday, November 8th, and had a hard time deciding which way to go.  We had the choice of I80 through Laramie, WY or I70 through Vail, CO.  It was a tossup because both ways had snow forecast with a huge Artic Front coming in.  We ended up taking the southern route through Colorado.  Everything went well until we started getting closer to Vail.  At about 3 o'clock in the afternoon we saw a sign saying "Vail Pass Closed".  We kept driving just because we felt we were too far along to turn back.  It turned out to be a good decision, because although it was closed it meant we had to be 'snowed in' at a beautiful hotel in a skier's suite at off season rates!  We had a living room with a fireplace and a full kitchen plus a great exercise room in the hotel.  We made full use of all the amenities that we could.

The next morning the road was open and we made it through the pass behind the snow plows! We drove almost all day across the rest of Colorado and into Nebraska.  Our goal was to get to Lincoln, Nebraska to visit and have dinner with my dad's youngest sister, Marie, and her husband, Bill.  We made it just in time for dinner at their retirement home.  It was very nice and they had a place of honor with a red tablecloth reserved for us.  Marie is 88 and Bill is 87.  They both exercise each day and look great.  So glad we could see them.

Day Three was spent driving all the way from Lincoln to the small town of Brownsburg just before we got to Indianapolis.

Day Four we drove into Pittsburgh after about 5 or 6 hours of driving. We stopped in Davenport, Iowa at a place called the 'Machine Shed' for a steak lunch/dinner.  It's a great little place recommended by Emily (who lived there) and Jared (who discovered Rib-eye steaks there). Other than Colorado, over the Pass, we had mostly dry roads for the rest of the trip.  What a blessing!

We were texting the mission president, President Johnson, as we

drove and he invited us to stay at the mission home for the night and have breakfast with them the next morning.  We explained to him that our nephew, Mike, was in Pittsburgh for some classes for work in the downtown area and would be leaving the next day.  Mike lives in Atlanta and we don't see him often so our first evening in Pittsburgh was spent having dinner with Mike.  We drove through rush hour traffic to get to his hotel. Part of the drive included going through a long tunnel.  As we drove out of the tunnel, the beautiful city of Pittsburgh at night was in full view.  Was a great introduction to the city and what an enjoyable dinner we had with Mike.

Day Five we had a nice breakfast and discussion with President and Sister Johnson.  Their 17 year old son, Andrew, is an accomplished violinist and the evening before, after we returned from dinner, he played a beautiful piece for us.  The Johnsons are from Logan most recently, but have lived all over the country in previous years.  President Johnson has most recently been CEO of REI and they love hiking and cross country skiing. He and Sister Johnson are responsible for the well being of 260 plus or minus missionaries all over most of the state of Pennsylvania.

When we finished breakfast we left for the mission office and got keys to our apartment.  Elder and Sister Thorne are the senior couple who work in the office and had worked so hard to get our apartment all ready for us.  It all makes us realize just how many people it takes to keep the great missionary force of the church going!

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