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Trip to daughter's wedding and return

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Jun 18th, 2012, 09:53 PM
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Trip to daughter's wedding and return

This is the first of two trip reports.
Five weeks ago, my wife and I started on an epic journey back to the east coast from Oregon. We started from home on May 15 and arrived in Spokane in the late afternoon.
It was great to see the park along the river where I spent a memorable day in 1974 at the World's Fair.
We boarded the Amtrak Empire Builder which arrived early from both Seattle and Portland.
We arrived in Chicago about an hour late but with plenty of time to search out Pierogi Heaven on North Wells where we had our first good pierogis in several years.
Because I'm 62 we were allowed to board the Lake Shore Limited just behind the people who needed Red Caps but ahead of the rest of the mob. We arrived in Cleveland a few minutes behind schedule which was fine since my car reservation was for 7AM.
The taxi to the airport from the Amtrak station was equal to 2 days of the rental.
We arrived in Cleveland on Friday 5/18 and had a great breakfast at The Big Egg. From Cleveland we went on I-90 through Erie and then I-86 through Salamanca turning south on US 219 to Bradford PA. We had a little geocaching mission at the McDonalds in Bradford.
This McDonalds is the only one with a producing oil well on the property.
When we left Bradford we headed over the back road back into New York Alegheny State Park to see the Thunder Rocks. We spent the night at the Dudley Hotel in Salamanca. The rooms at the Dudley are old (70's?) but the bed was comfortable.
The next day (Saturday) we attended a Mega Event of geocachers (700+) in The Red House section of the State Park.
We left the event about 7:00 PM and headed east and spent the night at a little cabin along US 6 east of Coudersport PA. On Sunday we went to church in Wellsboro which is the town I was born in and graduated High School. My wife and I really love the Wellsboro Diner for lunch. Sunday afternoon we drove through Lancaster PA and Newark Delaware and spent the night in New Castle DE. I found a geocache in Delaware and another over the bridge in New Jersey.
We then drove back through Newark DE into Maryland across the Coniwingo dam and down US 1 toward Baltimore. Our daughter who lives in Columbia, MD was glad to see that we made it there. We then went to check in to our hotel in Cockiesville MD for a 7 night stay. Stay tuned I will get to the wedding, the places that we ate, and any more details you may ask about. I don't know if any picture of me or the bridal party have showed up in the Washington Post yet (or ever) but there was a photographer there from the Post.
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Jun 19th, 2012, 03:29 AM
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Wow, I love that you took Amtrak from Oregon over to the East Coast! Would love to do that one day. We moved back to MD a few years ago and one of the things I love to do is drive over the Conowingo Dam. The first Saturday after Thanksgiving a large group gathers at the bottom of the dam to eagle watch. Beautiful area. Look forward to reading more!
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Jun 19th, 2012, 04:47 AM
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Sounds like a fun trip so far.

Does McDonalds have the mineral rights to the oil under it?
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Jun 19th, 2012, 06:54 AM
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I have ridden the Empire Builder several times to Chicago, usually from Portland. Two consecutive nights on a train can be a challenge if you have to sleep next to someone. When I am not under any time pressure, I/we stay at Whitefish for at least 1 night and then go on another Empire Builder.
We boarded the EB at 1:20AM in Spokane so that we rested some in the station from the time that we got to the station (9PM).
McDonalds does not own the rights to the oldest oil well in McKean County. In order to buy the lot, they had to allow the oil well to remain. The drive through lane goes right past the fence. We had to answer some questions and take a picture to claim our first PA EarthCache. Thunder Rocks was our first New York State EarthCache.
Back to Monday morning 5/21, I got up early and let DW sleep in New Castle. I drove over the Delaware Memorial Bridge into New Jersey and filled the gas tank @3.499 which was the chepest I had seen in years. I went and found my only NJ geocache near the Camping World store and then drove back over the bridge to pay $4 to get back into Delaware. Since we were in mo hurry, we opted to take 273 out of Newark to connect with US 1 avoiding toll bridges and tunnels on I-95.
We spent several hours with DD in Columbia before heading for the Ramada Limited in Cackeysville. Most of the time we spent at the hotel was quiet although a few minutes after we got back from the rehearsal dinner (10PM), there were 3 police cars just outside our door and a shirtless guy was writing out a statement on the trunk lid of the closest car. They all left within an hour.
James's parents paid for the rehearsal dinner at Kings Contrivance which is about the swankiest restaurant in the Columbia area. The actual rehearsal was a week before at Chase Court along Chase Street in northern Baltimore.
In the next installment, I will cover the interesting handfasting ceremony where Caroline and James became man and wife when they jumped a broom.
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Jun 19th, 2012, 01:31 PM
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Topping the thread again with details on the wedding. Our DS flew in from California to Philadelphia to see a friend he had not seen in 2+ years. He showed up at Chase Court http://www.chasecourt.com/index.htm
about an hour before the ceremony. I am hopeful that this marriage will work out better than DD's first which ended while she was in the USAF.
The groom is tall handsome and has a great job at the NSA. He was raised Catholic but now follows the Wiccan tradition.
Caroline and James braided their own handfasting cord. They wrote their own vows. The groom wore purple high top sneakers with his nice tux. There was a bit of traffic noise from the adjacent St. Paul Street. The double officiant ceremony ended with them jumping a broom and kissing.
There were many pictures taken before the reception could begin. The father-daughter dance was to "Unforgettable".
The bride even allowed "Sweet Caroline" to be played.
The choices for the reception dinner were chicken and soy base fake chicken. James's parents flew in from Wisconsin where they live near Madison.
We last saw the newlyweds, his parents and a few friends from the wedding at the diner in Laurel for Sunday brunch.
Next up: The return to Chicago via Dover and Akron Ohio.
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Jun 19th, 2012, 05:14 PM
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tomfuller:

Interesting and different trip report. Will you be posting any pictures of the happy couple.

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Jun 19th, 2012, 06:22 PM
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I will approve friend requests on Facebook Thomas William Fuller
There are a couple of pictures there.
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Jun 20th, 2012, 08:21 AM
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Back to the trip: Moday (Memorial Day) we left Cockeysville and went west on I-70 and I-68 turning off on US 40 to Uniontown PA. I looked for a few minutes for a geocache in Uniontown (DNF)
We took PA 21 out of Uniontown to connect with I-79 back to I-70. We took the bypass south of Wheeling WV.
We had a reservation at America's Best Value Inn in Dover Ohio along I-77. The Inn has a small swimming pool but I didn't swim.
The Inn is between a Shoneys and a Bob Evans. We decided to walk over to the Shoneys for our evening meal. As we were walking past the swimming pool there was a small boy (5?) standing by the gate screaming. I saw no adult in the pool area. I notified the manager of the situation. The manager jumped into the pool and pulled out the screaming boys older brother. The ambulance was called before the mom was found in her room.
We had a good meal at Shoneys and returned there for breakfast. Leaving Dover we did a n Earthcache at the river and then made a stop at the Warther Woodcarving museum gift shop. When we left Dover, we went south and west to Akron to visit a geocaching Adventure Maze which was in a childrens museum. I even enjoyed other parts of the museum.
From Akron we headed back through Columbus to turn in the rental car at the Cleveland airport about 9PM.
We arranged a cheaper ride from the airport back to the Amtrak station.
The westbound LSL was quite late. The crew at Cleveland did a good job of getting 3 trains in and out of the station within 45 minutes at sunrise. We arrived back in Chicago in time for lunch. We had food from the food court upstairs in Union Station. If you have more than 2 hours to wait for your train, sit on the old benches in the Great Hall before heading to the crowded waiting room.
Next: Empire Builder from Chicago to Cut Bank MT. East side of Glacier NP, Browning MT and the return to Spokane to find out if our car is still there.
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Jun 21st, 2012, 04:56 AM
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made a stop at the Warther Woodcarving museum gift shop....



What a fun place for a stop, the tour is so interesting there!
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Jun 21st, 2012, 07:03 AM
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We were there too early in the day to see the museum part and we had to get headed for Akron.
If we go through that way again we will stop to see the museum part. I did get to see some of Mooney's work.
The final installment of the trip report Chicago to Montana and Montana to Spokane and home to central Oregon will show up later today.
As I said at the start of this thread, first of two.
Next trip report is our first trip to Santa Barbara California.
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Jun 21st, 2012, 03:10 PM
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Final installment of this trip report:
The Westbound Empire Builder left Chicago Union Station on time at 2:15PM CT on May 30. On the journey north and then west, there were 2 different pairs of guys from the Rails to Trails sponsored by the NPS. They provided a narrative of what we were passing and where to look for eagles along the Mississippi River. When we got to western North Dakota, we saw many new oil wells with some new ones being drilled. We saw 110 tanker car loops with a fill pipe to fill hundreds of new (2009) oil tanker cars.
The Minuteman missile silos are still staffed even though the cold war is long over.
The eastern half of Montana is quite boring except for the Missouri Breaks. We arrived at Cut Bank Montana at 6:15 PM MT.My DW and I were the only ones who got off in Cut Bank and no one got on. I had arranged a rental car from the local GM dealer with the key in the gas flap so no matter how late we got there, we had a car to drive to the Glacier Inn at the east end of town. Our room was fine about 20 feet from the front desk. We found a small diner on the main drag for our evening meal. The menu looked good enough so we ate breakfast there in the morning instead of McDonalds.
Cut Bank is at the eastern edge of the Blackfoot Indian Reservation. We drove US 2 to Browning and turned off toward St. Mary. Near MP 20 on US 89 we encountered a herd of 8 horses on the highway. They seemed to be licking the winter salt off the highway. We took a slow drive through St. Mary to see what was there before turning back to go up the Going to the Sun Road. On June 1 we were able to drive 17 miles up from the entrance station. They were hoping to have the road open as far as Logan Pass by June 15. Someday I hope to be able to get there when I can drive all the way through to Lake McDonald.
When we came back down we stopped at the visitor center. I saw a picture taken 2 days before with snow towering above the people in the foreground. The picture was taken within a mile of the top of Logan Pass.
We headed back south on US 89 with another delay for the horses on the road. We turned off in Kiowa and went up through a nice pass past Two Medicine Lake and came out in East Glacier. We headed west on US 2 past the summit and onward to Essex where the Isaak Walton Lodge is.
We did make a stop at the Goat Lick overlook. There were no goats to be seen along the Middle Fork of the Flathead River.
I did find a road that turned off US 2 near the end of a bridge and found my second Montana geocache.
We turned around and headed back to Browning to make a stop at the museum of the Plains Indian. It was very interesting but we had to cut our visit short to get back to Cut Bank for an evening meal and be ready for the train.
The train is scheduled for 5:51 PM but arrived at 6:15 as it had the day before.
There were quite a few people who got off and on at East Glacier. We did see the pillar at the summit which we saw earlier in the day. It was quite dark by the time we got to Whitefish. We woke up when the train was slowing on the way into Spokane 35 minutes early. We picked up the 2 suitcases which I had checked in Cleveland 3 days before. Our car was right where we left it 18 days before. We left Spokane before the two halves of the Empire Builder. We had our breakfast in daylight at the McDonald's/Pilot in Biggs Oregon along the Columbia River.
The trip south on US 97 was uneventful. We made a stop at Fred Meyer in Bend for some groceries and gas.
Our cat at home was not sure she knew us when we got home.
We were home less than a week before we started our next trip which was a road trip to Santa Barbara.
Glad to answer any questions about what we saw and the experience in general.
I'll wait until tomorrow to start the Santa Barbara trip report which will be much shorter.
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Jun 22nd, 2012, 08:18 PM
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Link to the Washington Post article in Lifestyles
http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifest...emailtoafriend
Good picture of the happy couple. My daughter was a beautiful bride.
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Jun 23rd, 2012, 03:44 AM
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Beautiful pictures and what a love story! Thank you for sharing this.
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Jun 23rd, 2012, 11:13 PM
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What a great story Tom.

My DD did a student exchange from New Zealand when she was 17, and spent a year at high school in Columbia, her host family lived close to Kings Contrivance, and we visited there about three years ago.
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