Monthly Archives: September 2012

Sunrise over the Atlantic

This morning, for the first time, I watched the sun RISE out of the ocean. I have seen it sink into the Pacific, but never climb up from the Atlantic. The pelicans and surfacing porpoises were an added blessing.


This sunrise completed a near perfect night. The balmy air allowed the balcony door to remain open through the night. A gentle breeze accommodated bare skin while we slept to the sound of a lazy surf. It was a night I’ll never forget.

Today we crossed North Carolina, from the Outer Banks to the Appalachians, and enjoyed a lunch of shrimp and grits in an Irish pub somewhere in the middle of the state. For the next week or so we’ll spend time with our daughter, Melanie, and her family in Franklin, NC.

Tomorrow will be an important day for us; prayers are appreciated.


Below the Mason-Dixon

We are now firmly in the south, at Nags Head, North Carolina. We drove the length of the “Delmarva Peninsula,” which is that big hunk of land between Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a loooooong hunk of land, too, consisting of parts of DELaware, MARyland and VirginiA, hence the name. (So why isn’t it known as the “DEL-MAR-VI” peninsula?)

Driving through the tunnel under the bay was freaky. Not sure how they build something like that

I am now in the land of Hush Puppies, not quite an Amish specialty, but I’ll take it, er…I’ll take them. They’re really yummy.

We are staying at the Comfort Inn, located on the beach. Never stayed at a beach front hotel before, but the price was right and the view is as expected. Maybe it’s after the season when the price drops. Who knows?

We look like Alaskans, in long pants and shoes while every one else is wearing shorts and flip-flops. It was about 80 today, very balmy. These guys are reportedly after stripers or some other aquatic prey.


Tomorrow we will run the width of the state from east to west, looking to arrive in Franklin, NC by evening. Lord willing (and no more nails in tires) we will. I should be at the “Dillard House” by the weekend. More on that later.


Chocolate, pretzels and bologna

This is turning into a food blog, but what can I do? I’m driving through the Pennsylvania Dutch / Amish country of Lancaster County, PA. This is a gastronomical adventure. But first…

…the visit with Eleanor Jackson was great, and so was meeting her daughter Cheryl. After swapping stories and reliving some glory days we made our way to “The Country Store” in Mount Joy. Cheryl was going to hook us up with some Lebanon Bologna.

The sweet varieties are a must eat. If you already know what I’m talking about, right now you are nodding your head and smiling (I liked the “Baum” brand best; Kim preferred Cheryl’s favorite, the “Seltzer” but it’s all good). If you don’t know, get in your car, drive to Mt. Joy and see”Donna” at the deli counter. You’re in for a taste bud explosition.


And then there was “Charles” stocking pretzels. When asked which pretzels were the best, he said “The Martins,” which came as no surprise, he was wearing a shirt with the same name. I took him at his word, bought a small tub of them and later gave him a thumbs-up as he was leaving and I was munching. He smiled and wished us well on our journey.

In fact, about half the people in the store did the same. This has to be the friendliest town in PA. Folks at the deli counter were laughing at our excitement upon trying the different bolognas (Donna gave us 7 or 8 varieties to sample), they chuckled at our pretzel conversation with Charles, and greeted us in the parking lot when they saw our Alaska license plates. Kim even met a couple who just got engaged the day before.

Mount Joy was a joy to visit.

On to Lititz, PA. That name will mean nothing to you unless you have learned the best kept chocolate secret in the chocolate state (and I’m not talking about Hershey’s). Lititz is the home of the Wilbur Chocolate Company…

…makers of the delectable “Wilbur Buds.” Words won’t get it done so I won’t waste your time and mine. It’s just down the road from Mt. Joy, so go by Wilbur’s when you get your bologna at the Country Store.

Trust me on this, if you try Wilbur Buds there will be no going back to Hershey’s, M&Ms or anything on that level. I’m salivating just writing about them.

The Buds come in both milk and semi-sweet varieties, but if milk chocolate is your thing, stay home, eat Oscar Mayer boloney and M&Ms candies. You just won’t get it.

So that was our day; a great lady and her daughter, great bologna, great pretzels, the greatest chocolate, and now we’re two states south. Tomorrow we’ll get a look at the Atlantic O.

Now a photo…


See the tunnel coming? That’s life sometimes. We cruise along out in the sun for a while, loving life, then, all of a sudden, here comes a tunnel. The tunnel in the picture was well lit, but some of life’s tunnels can get pretty dark.

The really cool thing is, as a believer in Christ, we can drive right into the darkness, totally confident the Lord is directing us, sustaining us, upholding us. No matter how long or dark the tunnel is, or where it leads, we know He is with us.

And something better is always waiting on the other side.

Bye, bye, Buckeyes, time for the “Pennsyl-tucky Turnpike

Spent the day rolling eastward across the entire width of the “Buckeye State,” then, after about 10 minutes in the “Mountaineer State?” ( West Virginia), we continued on into “Pennsyl-tucky” (a.k.a. Pennsylvania). The PA Turnpike is spendy, but speedy; a good road with few interchanges to slow things down. It wouldn’t hurt to put up a few road signs, especially something indicating mileage to up-coming cities, but whatever. And then there was that truck driver who thought he was in a Dodge Charger. I learned a new traffic maneuver, one I never saw in L.A.

The run through the Alleghenies was nice. The first fall blush of color has started to appear. In  2-3 weeks those “mountains” (for an Alaskan they appear more like rolling hills) will really be eye-popping with the golds, oranges and reds.

Tonight we are in Hershey, PA. An internal homing device has directed me here, mysteriously, like Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters. I suppose tomorrow the purpose will become clear.

Also for tomorrow, a planned visit with Eleanor Jackson, a ninety-something sister in the Lord who served in AK during our time with InterAct. Should be fun.

Then on into the Amish country near Lancaster, PA. for another round of killer carbs, served up by the “First Ladies of Baking.” (My stomach is starting to hurt already. Tomorrow should be a memorable day.)

I’ll leave you with the photo story of “Spotty, the little pig who missed lunch.”

“Hey, there’s no room for me.”

“Mom, what should I do?”

“Keep looking, Son.”

“Oh man, I’m hungry.”

“This ain’t working.”

“Forget it. I’ll wait for dinner.”

The Buckeye State

Southwest Ohio is nice country. We’re visiting family and supporters, but took a day to visit Adams County, known for its Amish community.

Those ladies can cook! The stuff they can create from flour, sugar, yeast and some lard is epic. Fried pies. Creme Horns. Doughnuts. Turnovers. Fudge (of any variety).  Just the vast array of breads alone will make you slobber. Even popcorn is delicious when the Amish do it. They make everything look tasty. When I looked at these guys all I saw was bacon (which is their destiny anyway, poor porkers)

R & R

Distant traffic noise competes with songbirds in the woods behind the back fence as I finish a delicious cup of tea. This “French Breakfast” blend was unknown to me until yesterday’s visit to “Jungle Jim’s,” a Cincinnati area emporium of all things edible. Of particular interest was the olive counter, with more varieties than I could imagine. I brought home a container of the blue cheese stuffed. (Free samples are unlimited and I may have eaten more than I purchased.)

And then there is the chocolate section. I’ll say no more.

The Midwest is exceptional right now. The fatiguing heat of summer has past and fall is approaching. Cool nights and pleasant, sunny days are the rule. The trees are yet to change, unfortunately. The fall colors of the midwestern hardwood forests are not to be missed, but missed they will be, by me at least. We are a few weeks ahead of the annual exhibition, a scheduling blunder that was unavoidable. The burnished gold, blazing orange and fiery reds are seen only in my imagination. Lacking a real-time visual opportunity to share, I’ll reminisce with a photo from Nulato past…


(Canoeing the Nulato River in fall is a great way to spend a day, enjoying the Grayling fishing, watching for moose and praising God for His glorious creation).

In a few days we will visit an Amish settlement in search of furniture and food. The first will not wreak the same havoc on my Weight Watchers efforts as the second, but what can I do? Amish cuisine is hard to find in Alaska. There should be a special allotment of “points” for Amish food consumed while traveling.

More on that when it happens.


Farm country

Visiting the Fischers in N. Minnesota was tasty; I mean that literally. Montana Mule deer and Antelope for lunch. View the remnants of a delicious, carnivorous feed…

From there we drove on to the Wisconsin side of the river in the Twin Cities area and ate more venison, this time it was corn fed whitetail. I hated to step away from the table to take this photo…

Byron & Wendi have been friends for twenty years; we met them at Alaska Bible College in the early nineties.

Driving across Wisconsin can be “cheesey,” which is a good thing. Cheese curds are a Dairyland delight. We stocked up with goodies…

from this place…

I’ll close with a great picture that seems to represent this part of the country…

You gotta love Wisconsin! (or was this taken in Minnesota? Either way, this is great country)