Archive for April, 2010

Home Sweet Home…
April 23, 2010

Our Way Big Adventure has officially come to an end…but not without a mountain of amazing memories of people, places, and experiences that we will treasure for a long, long time.Home Sweet Home                  Photo Credit: Always Photography

For now it feels great to sleep in our own beds, do business in our home town, and send the kids to school. I am back in the “routine,” of packing lunches, running kids to and from school and track practice, Scott is spending 1/2 hour each morning with the guys at the coffee shop before work, and the kids are so happy to spend time with their friends…I have made a couple trips to Petoskey, a drive I’ve taken thousands of times…and that drive, along the lake, has left me breathless each time. I guess you don’t actually need to travel far to see God’s handiwork. We have plenty of it right here in Northern Michigan. Lake Michigan has shades of blue and turquoise as beautiful as any of those in the Caribbean and beaches as beautiful as any in California…and, unlike many rivers and waterways in this country, we can swim here – no salt, no sharks!

We know that this adventure will give us something to talk about for a long, long time…and with time our children will come to appreciate it even more. We have traveled with three kids and 1 cat for 6 months, through 28 states. We hit three of the four corners of this country, but the northeast is something we will have to explore on another adventure. If you have been traveling with us, and have not signed our Guest Book, please do…just a name is fine. Always Photography

Amber came home from school on her first day back and said, “Mom, the day was just dragging on and on…and then I realized it was still first hour!”


So with this, my friends, I will leave you with one final thought; something to ponder, some words of wisdom that have traveled with us all over the country, and now hang on the wall just inside our front door…and words I hope our children will never, ever, forget.

You see, this trip was less about the country than it was about each other. It was less about places than it was about family and friends who live in places that no longer seem so far away. It was less about seeing the sights, than it was about realizing that the world is not such an enormous place. It was less about dreaming dreams, and more about taking the first step, then the second, and then the third to make those dreams a reality, and just like in life, it was less about where you’ve been, and more about what you’ve learned along the way…

People are often unreasonable, illogical, & self-centered;

Forgive them any way.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends, and some true enemies; Be successful anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway.

Give the world the best you have, & it may never be enough;

Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;

It was never between you and them anyway.

-Handwritten message on Mother Teresa’s wall

Grand Finale: Washington D.C.
April 17, 2010

What better place to end an amazing big adventure, and U.S. tour, than the capital of our country, Washington D.C.

Our day began with a drive into the city from Severna Park, landing at Union Station…

(scroll over photos for a description)

Union Station

...we could have spent a day here...Starbucks, and shopping. What more does a girl need?

 Union Station exterior

…and then, boarding a bus to tour the city, we stopped at a few museums, and a Smithsonian, or two, or three…

National Gallery of Art

 The Hope Diamond

Rembrandt's Self Portrait

National Gallery of Art

 National Museum of Natural History We watched the Tarantula feeding Spirit of St. Louis National Air and Space Museum  …and a few monuments, and memorials…

Jefferson Memorial

Washington Monument...and one great kid!


WWII Memorial

 WWII - Rosie's 


The view from the WWII Memorial

…and then the place that brought me to tears. Seeing this was a dream come true, as was our Way Big Adventure. Two dreams realized at one time…I blubbered!

Abe and me "having a moment"

Abe and our kids

Abraham Lincoln Memorial

…and then to the wall, and dad’s turn to cry.

Vietnam Memorial

“Every name you see here has a story.”


Vietnam Mem.

…and Arlington National Cemetery


Entering Arlington National Cemetery Arlington Arlington

…and finally, The White House.



About 37 years ago, Scott’s family took a family vacation to see our country’s capital, and we are proclaiming it a family tradition. We believe that every American (which includes you!) should see this place once in their lifetime. We have told our children they must bring their children here…and they must take a picture for us, something like this…

Doug Way family

 Doug Way family – April, 1973


  The Walk

                                        Scott Way family – April 15, 2010


Traveling In An RV Has Completely Spoiled Us
April 16, 2010

…but we are not in the RV anymore.

From the city of Annapolis it is just a short drive to Severna Park Maryland, where my brother Dave lives. Knowing we were weary from a long drive in a crowded car, staying in motels every night, (especially that last one, that I’m not mentioning) and restaurants for three meals a day, David took the afternoon off to welcome us for our last few nights of this Way Big Adventure, and to prepare a wonderful home cooked meal. We were so thankful!

…and as we did the dishes I kicked myself for not taking a picture!

But I did get my camera out get some photos  him with his dog Lexus, and his sweet new Harley!

DSC05017                           Harley Dave  DSC05024


We were hoping he could join us for our visit to the National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center west of DC; these next pictures are for him, and all our other air and space loving followers. It was well worth the trip!



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This one's for Rob!


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Enterprise    DSC05065 Satellites

There’s Just Something About Annapolis
April 16, 2010

As we were driving up the east coast recently, I told Scott, “With all of the places we have been, I have yet to find a city that Ilike as much as Charlevoix.”


I think Annapolis is the city that could change that. While Savannah and Charleston were absolutely charming, there is a quaintness here, with 200 year old buildings, incredible history, downtown marinas, waterways for boating, and a Kilwin’s.

Capitol Annapolis


DSC04842Annapolis is the capital of Maryland, and for a short time, served as capital of the United States. The Maryland State House, is the oldest state capitol in continuous use. It is here that the Treaty of Paris was ratified in 1784, formally ending the Revolutionary War.

It was also here (in the room below) that General George Washington resigned his post as Commander in Chief of the Continental army.

(It is now that I will admit to you that while I am a teacher, I never liked nor remembered history that I read about it books…however, history that I can see captivates me!)


Author Thomas Fleming designates Washington’s resignation “the most important moment in American history.” He writes:

There is a Christmas story at the birth of this country that very few Americans know. As Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, Washington had become as much a chief executive as the United States then had…The man who could have dispersed this feckless Congress and obtained for himself and his soldiers rewards worthy of their courage was renouncing absolute power. By this visible, incontrovertible act, Washington did more to affirm America’s government of the people than a thousand declarations by legislatures and treatises by philosophers…The next day, after an overnight stop at a tavern, they rode at a steady pace toward Mount Vernon. Finally, as twilight shrouded the winter sky, the house came into view beside the Potomac River. Past bare trees and wintry fields the three horsemen trotted toward the white-pillared porch and the green shuttered windows, aglow with candlelight. Waiting for them at the door was Martha Washington and two grandchildren. It was Christmas eve. Ex-Gen. Washington–and the United States of America–had survived the perils of both war and peace.


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House Chamber

  Senate Chamber

       After our Capitol tour we took a stroll through town…




door3 door 2 door4


…and, of course, we ended our day with ice cream!

My Mother Always Said…
April 16, 2010

“…If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Our stay on the island of Chincoteague, to see the wild horses of Assateague is something I’m going to say very little about. If you are a parent of a daughter that has read the “Misty” books you might have heard of it.

DSC04809 DSC04816 I recommend you stay home, play on your local beach and visit a nearby horse farm. Amber however, is forever the trooper, and although it was nothing like the magical images she has held in her mind since reading those books in fifth grade, she was still smiling.


Assateague Lighthous wild ponies...?  DSC04813

Assateague is a National Wildlife Reserve off the coast of Maryland and Virginia. It is a beautiful natural sanctuary for bird-watching and wildlife viewing. The wild ponies, however, were viewed from quite a distance (the photo above is with a 10x zoom), or they were penned up. The motel (the only one on the island that allowed pets) and the restaurant we had dinner at in Chincoteague could not have been worse…but better things are coming!

Heading Back to the 17th Century
April 14, 2010

Thirteen years before the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts, a group of 104 men and boys made a 4 1/2 month voyage from England to the New World.  They settled on the James River with the goal of making a profit from the New World’s resources for the Virginia Company in London.  But survival, soon became their  mission. The settlers at Jamestown did survive, and women and children eventually made the voyage to join them. Jamestown became the first permanent English colony in the New World.


DSC04781 Find out a safe port in the entrance of some navigable river…as runneth into the land…that you may take election of the strongest, most fertile and wholesome place.                                                            -Virginia Company 1606

DSC04767    DSC04783 DSC04770


The bunks were for the captain and crew. The passengers traveled and slept in the very crowded the mid-deck.



The provisions included, among other things, many barrels of beer which was just slightly fermented, and much safer than drinking water.

Fort James

Soon after their arrival they built a fort for protection, including barracks, a few individual houses, buildings for tradesmen and a church which they attended with strict orders from the king twice a day, and three times on Sunday. 


Making BreadDSC04750



The English settlers worst enemy was hunger, not the nearby Powhatan tribe. The English would have been completely wiped out had it not been for the tribes corn crop.

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Shortly after seeing the Jamestown Settlement, we bolted forward in history to 1781 and the end of the American Revolutionary War. We visited the Battlefield in Yorktown, where Cornwallis surrendered his entire army of 7,000 English Loyalists to the French/American troops under the direction of General George Washington.

Rev. WarDSC04804                                          …and the rest is history!

Surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown by John Trumbull, 1797

Savannah, Charleston, Myrtle Beach…
April 12, 2010

As we travel up the coast, we are making some short stops at some beautiful, historical cities including Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina. Both are incredibly charming!

Savannah  City Hall in Savannah

Savannah was once labeled “most beautiful city in America,” and we can see why. The town was designed on a grid with small squares to deter invaders, now those squares are parks, 25 in all, full of trees, flowers, fountains and statues…beautiful!

ChurchillsWe had a terrific Olde English meal at Churchills, and my nutty family provided me with some comic relief, both during dinner (I laughed until I cried!) and afterwards.

DSC04679  I think they were a little loopy from the long drive!


The Exchange overtop of Provost Dungeon in Charleston




After a stroll through town, we had  lunch on the water overlooking the Harbor where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. Not only could we see the history as we walked through these streets and alleys, but we could feel it underfoot as we tried not to trip on brick and cobblestone…I cannot imagine how they felt from the seat of a wooden carriage not so long ago!

Cobblestone StreetsCharlestonDSC04709 

I love the fact that the tallest structures in this town are the church steeples, and architecture in both of these southern cities is absolutely amazing! In one city block you can find examples of Colonial, Federal, Georgian, Greek, Italianate and Victorian styles.


After some fried green tomatoes and some local seafood, we headed north along the coast as far as Myrtle beach for the night.

With a good night’s sleep, the kids and I headed to breakfast, the beach, and a bookstore to give dad a couple hours to work…



Mr Foam Hands Sisters

…but by noon the five of us and Pepper the cat were loaded in the car headed north. Our east coast excursion will be much faster than the west coast was for us, with our grand finale being Washington D.C…and then home.

East Coast, Here We Come…
April 11, 2010

After delivering the contents of our refrigerator, freezer, and a giant orca to (neighbors) Mark and Julie’s, we are off!


I will miss my dear friend,


Tyler will miss his fishing buddies (experts) Tanner and Garrett, and we will all miss McKenna’s million dollar smile and hugs!

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We are packed, loaded and on our way!


So Much to Blog About…So Little Time
April 7, 2010

We have been enjoying the beautiful weather that arrived just in time for the spring breakers, and more visits with friends and family.



…including a Saturday at Sanlan with grandma and grandpa, looking for gators.


DSC04364                (This look means “Mom, grandpa gave me a pop and I know you won’t do a thing about it!”)

…then a Sunday boat show in West Palm.


…and with the money we saved by eating in

and the current business boom

we were able to put a down payment on a cute little run-about big enough for our family…




…April fools!


…Saturday fishing and fun with our good friends, Russ, Shawn, Cassie, Joe and Pops family from Charlevoix…


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…making chocolate dipped sweets for Easter



joe1 joe2



Then Easter Sunday dinner at “crazy cousin Dan’s” in Fort Lauderdale


As we pulled in Hilary asked “Are we going to be eating with more family we never knew we had?”

“Yes, honey.”

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But as everyone knows (right Abbey?) once you meet cousin Dan, you never will forget him…nor his best friend, Captain Mauler!

DSC04495  Hahaha



And finally, plenty of sunshine and more fun with the arrival of (my sister) Cindy, Craig and Tiffany.



Grandma and girls



With hugs and kisses we have said goodbye…

…now we are packing, one last time.