Dedicated to Alaskan Aviation Pioneers
Charlie Muhs - Editor
Dottye - Assistant Editor

Vol 5 January 1998      
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Happy New Year! Dottye and I send our best wishes for a very happy, healthy and prosperous 1998.

1997 presented a lot of change in our lives. The most significant being Dottye's retirement on August 29, 1998, after 25 years of service with the FAA. Now we get to spend our winters in sunny Arizona. After forty-three winters, your Editor has finally given up the battle with snow, ice, cold ,and darkness. We are now officially "snowbirds" and are loving every minute of it. Like our many friends who have adopted this new lifestyle, we too will migrate north with the geese to enjoy all the best Alaska has to offer during those spectacular summer months.

Effective with this issue, the new address for Our Time is:

3705 Arctic Blvd., Ste. 1153
Anchorage, AK 99503

This is our permanent address and will be more convenient for me to receive Our Time correspondence.


The FAA Retiree On-Line E-mail database continues to grow. Over 70 retirees are receiving various informational articles on activities of interest. If you are interested in having your name added to the database, let us know at:


Our apologies to the John Costello family for our oversight in reporting John's death in our last issue. John, a former member of the Air Traffic Division and long time Alaskan, passed away in his Anchorage home last January.



By Al Bruck

As scheduled, the twenty-fourth version of this annual affair was held on September 17th at the home of Lois and Al Bruck in Sequim, Washington. Weather prediction indicated a marginal day with wind and rain expected, so with the help of a number of early arrivals, appropriate measures were taken to assure that everybody stayed dry; in other words we put the tarp up. To make a long story short, the rain held off until we had everything put away in the afternoon.

Our Executive Chef - Mr. Bill Dalton, having experimented all year long with a new recipe, set up shop in the garage and proceeded to produce an outstanding deep fried halibut. The folks attending made very short work of the massive amount of goodies provided by the local ladies. Bill was ably assisted by his wife Janie and Bea and Popo Richardson. Lois Bruck, slightly under the weather with a cold, was supported by daughter Barbara Callahan, who was visiting from Anchorage. Since Barbara was raised as an FAA kid, she knew many of those present and managed the hostess role quite well.

We were really happy to see Herb Stanley from Mesa, AZ and Don Thomas from Port Angeles. Both of them go way back to the early days of this event. Visiting us for the first time were Jacque Smith, John Williams and his wife, Carla and Bob Lewis, Don and Sammie Smith, Dottye Muhs (recently retired), and Cliff and Lou Roberson. We were happy to see Mary Ann Earles, Beth and Jim Vrooman, Earl and Pat Spofford, Dwight and a fully recovered Sheila Meeks, Buck and Judy Willoughby, Ray and Mary Marley, Al and Corky Kearl, John and Barbara Scrivner, Dave and Mary Lou West, George Scott, Bea and Ralph Westover, Rita and Harold Wright, Wally Stripling, Carter Ross, Jim and Sue Finlayson, Bob and Donna Mensing, Louise Silven, Dick and Ronnie Inman, Margaret and Bob Eskridge, Ed and Ruth Jones, Edie and Al Albrecht, Jim and Audrey Cusack, and your Editor Charlie Muhs.

I really appreciated the help in cleaning up by Jim Vrooman, Dwight Meeks, Jim Finlayson and Ray Marley. We are all looking forward to next year's affair on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 1998. No invitations are necessary, if you are in the area come and join us.


It's the People
I Remember Most

By Frank Austin

When reminiscing about my years at the Agency, I span two regions, seven field facilities, and four offices in the Regional Office. As my mind takes me from location to location, it is always the people who I worked with and who went through the fun times with me that make me smile the most. There was Molly Malone who was the secretary at the Anchorage - Lake Hood Tower at the time of the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake. Molly and I were actively gathering information to write a paper on the "History of the Lake Hood Seaplane Facility and Tower". We had gathered a lot of facts. The Hood Tower structure had served at the Yakutat and Anchorage International Airports before being moved to the south side of the canal at Lake Hood. The cab is now at the Alaska Transportation Museum at Wasilla. I thought the most interesting historical tidbit we uncovered was the fact that the military at one time had a Rescue DC-3 on floats that operated off the lakes. The (historical) project came to an end the afternoon the earthquake struck. I was in the Hood Tower Cab trying to type up twenty pages of notes (it was a slow day) when the quake hit. The notes ended up on the floor with the tower water supply and a pot of bean soup that had been on the hot plate. Hood was a one-man tower, so no leaving the tower for lunch breaks. We had to carry our water up during the winter as the water pipes were not insulated. When the tower cab was cleaned up the next day. All the ruined notes went into the trash. Shortly after the quake Molly transferred to a position in Flight Standards and that was the end to a fun project.

During one of my tours in AAL-4, we were co-located with Management Systems; and it was a lot of fun working with Dick Brindley and his group. One spring Rheta Johnson took a week off and on her return she mentioned that she had worked on her garden. There after she had to give me reports on the state of the garden. In my yard I had one rhubarb plant that grew like crazy. You couldn't kill it with an axe. After Rheta showed me a picture of a great garden, I started giving her reports about the size of the rhubarb plant. After one weekend I reported that the Fire Department had to rescue a cat that climbed up the rhubarb. On another occasion I took figures and items from a doll house and placed them under the rhubarb. I then took a Polaroid picture of the scene and left it on Rheta's desk early Monday morning with a note saying that I had been away for a week and a family had moved into the rhubarb plant and I was going to court to get them evicted. Rheta's garden and the rhubarb gave us a lot of laughs.

Then there was Melissa Berry of AF who was detailed to the RO as Special Assistant to Frank Cunningham, the Regional Director. Melissa collected music boxes. My wife (Ruby) and I were returning from a trip to Australia and while spending a few days in Seattle we visited the Southcenter Mall. I saw an inexpensive music box made out of a telephone. I knew I had to get it for Melissa. After my return to work, I packaged the music box, used some canceled postage on the wrapping, and had the mail room guys deliver it to Melissa's office. In the package with the music box was an invoice and a note with an Australian firm's name and return address. The invoice was for several hundred dollars and the note indicated that her name had been forwarded to them on a list of serious music box collectors. So they were sure she would want this advance copy of the "Ming Dynasty Music Box". She should forward the full cost in thirty days or there would be interest due. It was great fun watching Melissa discuss with Mary Lou of AAL-5 how she was not going to forward anything, not to mention interest. I almost hated to tell her it was my way of delivering a present.

Then there was smiling Jack Cathron in Nome who knocked two ptarmigan out of the air with one stone, honest!!

Yes, it's the people I remember most.

Hello Charley,
Here's my third installment, the chapter about CAA life in Nome in 1950/51. It's not as long as the others, pretty short. I got a lot of help from Jim McCoy on this. He sent me a lot of the names in it.

By Norman Harrington

I left Kodiak in September of 1950, en route to Nome, via Pacific Northern Airline's DC-3. I stayed overnight in Anchorage and left the next morning on another DC-3, that of Alaska Airlines. We stopped in McGrath and in Unalakleet on our way to Nome. From Mark Field, Nome, I took a taxi to the CAA compound.

Nome had a shortage of Aircraft Communicators then and I worked a 7-day week for the first month I was there. Another new man, Roy Roddy, was also breaking in. He was my housemate. We bachelors lived four to a house, which was a four bedroom, two story house. My other housemates were Joe Olynyk and Mother (George) Moran, who was in maintenance.

The CAA compound, which was on the north end of town, had about ten houses, the CAA radio station, a little building which housed our laundry, a small apartment and another small building for the CAA commissary. There may have been a garage or two for the CAA vehicles. I think the Weather Bureau occupied three of our houses. I wasn't too curious about my surroundings in those days and now I wish I had been a lot more curious.

Nome only had three radio positions at that time. One man worked air ground/broadcast, another man would be on the teletypes and the third man worked the Boehme tape automatic CW circuit. This Morse Code circuit consisted of Kotzebue, Moses Point, Unalakleet and Nome. We had a radio teletype circuit to Fairbanks and all the CAA stations in between and another radio teletype circuit to Anchorage which also had Skwentna, Farewell, McGrath, Aniak and Bethel on it. We had a phone line to Fairbanks ARTCC and another line to Anchorage ARTCC. There was also a Service A weather radio teletype circuit out of Anchorage which roughly duplicated the Service B circuit in stations served.

We also had a watch supervisor's desk, which was occupied only on the day watch. Fred O. Parsons was the Station Chief, Joe Walsh was Station Manager, and I cannot remember the Watch Supervisor's name.

We did not have much air traffic out of Nome. Two or three bush pilots might file flight plans. The scheduled airline flights would come and go and that was about it. Military flights must of been in and out of Nome but worked AACS instead of us. Teletype was the busy position. One specialist kept pretty busy on teletype. There wasn't much action on air ground or on the automatic Morse Code circuit.

Nome was a typical frontier town then. The streets were unpaved and the sidewalks were usually boardwalks, except there was a concrete sidewalk in front of the US Post Office. Nome had a population of two thousand residents, seven or eight bars, maybe three hotels, a couple of grocery stores, the usual restaurants, drug stores and other commercial establishments. The CAA compound was only about five blocks from downtown.

Nome was one of the few towns in Alaska that had a surplus of women. Young Eskimo girls from the surrounding communities of Deering, Candle, Golovin, White Mountain, Solomon and King Island would flock to Nome seeking husbands, excitement and easier living conditions. Every night was Saturday night in the bars and restaurants of Nome. Most of the CAA bachelors frequented the bars of Nome and some did so to excess.

Some of the CAA people I remember at Nome were Sam Dearholt, Red Hatch, Jim McCoy, Oscar "Slim" Lefevre, Ted Kangas and Jack Wichels. Jim McCoy went on to become Chief of the Casper, Wyoming Control Tower. Jack Wichels went into the Western Regional Office, and Ted Kangas returned to Michigan. Sam Dearholt ended up in the Albuquerque ARTCC. Sam was a great guy and when he left Nome on his way out of Alaska via Fairbanks, he looked me up and took me out for a steak dinner and small talk over old times. Roy Roddy did the same thing too when he came in from Bettles. Roy didn't like Nome either and had transferred back to the wilds of Bettles.

I didn't like Nome either. I thought I was drinking too much, carousing too much and getting into trouble too often. So, when my two years in Alaska were up in the spring of 1951, I requested a transfer back to the States. To my surprise I was offered a GS5 in the Panama Canal Zone OFACS, which was part of the old 4th Region with headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. It was the only offer I got, so I took it. I left Nome on one spring day in the latter half of May, 1951. I went first to my parent's home in Bonner's Ferry, Idaho for a few days.

My parents drove me to Minnewaukan, North Dakota where they had grown up as young people. I stayed a couple days with my Uncle Claude.

I caught a train for New Orleans. At New Orleans I would fly to Panama. A Visa was not necessary.


Postscript: I remember a few more Nomeites - Gail Trowbridge whose home town was Dillon, Montana and who went to the Great Falls ARTCC. I also remember Chuck Irwin who I met in Kodiak.

Jim McCoy of Casper, Wyoming provide me with a list of people he knew from his days in Nome, folks who were there before I got there. They were: Zelda Sims, Don Groover, George Verba, Bud Dodge, Don Ferguson, Al Grey, Fred Vanderboach, Lola Larson, Jim Russ, Milt Schabel and Don McDowell, all from ACCOM. Others included: Austin King, Watch Supervisor; Dave Mercer, Station Maintenance Supervisor; Frank Jensen, Assistant Maintenance Chief; Lauren Dana, Maintenance; Floyd Wheeler, Plant Structures; Sam Ailak, Janitorial, and John and Olive Fults, Sub-Depot Commissary.

{I first went to Nome as a young airman in the United States Air Force. The year was 1955. I fondly remember those days. I was nineteen years old, fresh out of New York and full of self. My fondest memories were of those days known as "Sadie Hawkin's Day", usually a Wednesday night where the tradition was for the ladies to ask the guys to dance. I can confirm with certainty Nome's reputation was well earned . In fact, a few years ago, while in Nome on business with then Assistant Division Manager Dave Simpson and FSS Manager Sputz Roche, my stories about those times were seriously doubted. But, much to everyone's surprise a "resident" of the famous Board of Trade Bar confirmed those tall tales which chronicled "Life in Nome - the Early Years!" . . . Editor)


King Salmon Housing - A Project Done Right!

Each year, Dottye and I are very fortunate to get an invitation to King Salmon for salmon fishing. This past year's trip was filled with anticipation and closely guarded excitement. The new FAA housing area (located off the airport at an old transmitter site) was now complete.

Our hosts, Jerry and Bonnie Wieber, were settled. (Well, there was a garage full of boxes and "stuff yet to be put in its proper place".) Maybe the garage is the final resting place!! A garage you say in FAA housing? Yes, and there are two and one-half baths, three bedrooms, a family room, living room, dining room, kitchen, and finally a large utility room and front entryway. The house also has two porches - verandas - lanais - uhhh, patios? What the hell do you call these obtrusions in Alaska? There are forty homes (some are duplexes); a shop/hobby building; fenced storage area for boats, snow machines etc.; and a new COMSERFAC - which was re-dedicated in Carl Fundeen's name.

The area covers several acres and is arranged much like a well planned subdivision, encased in natural flora and lawns - none of this "compound" mentality. Three cheers and kudos to the FAAers who planned this flagship development!


The Trip: 1997
Big Al

This years expedition to the Green Valley experience led us to Cheyenne, WY, to spend a couple days with Mary Sue and Bob Wilson, who make their home there. The visiting was great and the wind was cold, so we took ourselves to Farmington, NM, encountering blowing snow and would be elk hunters crossing Colorado, to spend a couple days with Ray and Mary Marley. For all you golfers, Pinon Hills in Farmington is as good a course as you will find anywhere.

We then proceeded, with a stop in Scottsdale, to our annual meeting with our serious golfing buddies in Green Valley, AZ. Here we renewed friendships with the Anderson's, Dodd's, Falke's, Franklin's, Groeneveld's, Harik's, Hummel's, Jackson's Jepsen's, Ed Jones's, Leonard Jones's, Morrell's, Muhs's, Nelson's, Reazin's, Richardson's, Simpson's and West's. Joining us for the first time were Don and Bettie Boberick and Bill and Doris Remsen. Others present included Carl Bailey, Herb Stanley, Bruno Zamorski, John Scullion, Virginia Carter, Dick Haycraft, and John Lowe. The festivities started with our dinner meeting at the local steak house where Lois Bruck, Ed Jones and others entertained the group with "stories" enjoyed by all. The following night Will Reazin and Jack Hummel did their thing with steaks that were truly outstanding, accompanied by many other goodies provided by the local ladies. In between meals some serious golf was played at various local courses and was enjoyed particularly by us northerners, whose golfing is limited in the winter months. Thursday night saw the group at Marge and Dave Simpson's place for deep fired Halibut prepared in accordance with the Bill Dalton recipe. Helen Groeneveld prepared all the fish including some salmon that we proceeded to deep fry-a new experience for most of us. The last evening was hosted by Dale and Virginia Jepsen at the Canoa Hills Community Center, another great way to finish a good week with old friends.

Our journey home took us through Palm Desert, Escandido, Berkeley, CA; and, Albany, OR where we visited with Beth and Jim Vrooman over dinner. When we got home we had 5000 miles behind us and another month filled with good memories and are looking forward to next year's trip.


Hi Charlie,

Congratulations to Dottye on her retirement - it's the greatest job I've had yet - well almost as good as working for you, Charlie! But I have to admit I haven't had such a nice group of people to be around since. Traveling the country in a motor home sounds like a lot of fun.

I am just getting settled in Honolulu - love it so far. I missed the activities available here (concerts, live plays, etc.) living on the big island - but there are trade offs. Had a great trip to Asia last month - was in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Bangkok for 2 weeks. Taipei was so chaotic - traffic, noise, smell and pollution (not sure of any order to all that!!) Loved watching it all -- sure wouldn't want to drive there! Cars don't stop just because the light is red - only when there's another car in the way and millions of scooters (almost) and I didn't see one accident. And pedestrians DON'T ever have the right of way - even when we have a walk light! Hong Kong was fun - so much to do - and I don't even count shopping! Bangkok - well that got old fast - it's a strange city - too much of everything. It seemed everyone there was trying to make a buck from you. Those places are so busy - makes the traffic here look like nothing. Hope to travel to Japan next spring - Lara (#2 daughter) is leaving this month to teach English on Hokkaido - part of an exchange program sponsored by US universities. After spending a couple weeks on the mainland in May for Lara's graduation and visiting family, my life has been a bit chaotic itself. Wish you guys the best in your travels (is this going to be another episode of the "Long, Long, Trailer" with Desi and Lucy?) and retirement. With that I'll sign off with my new address - email remains the same.

John Wilber
2525 Date St. #1306A
Honolulu, HI 96826


By Ken Moore

I just recently returned from spending five days on a houseboat on Lake Powell (Arizona/Utah) and thought I had better bring you up to date on our travels this summer.

Met some friends from Denver at Bullfrog, Utah and we rented a houseboat and plied the waters and canyons of the lake. We moved the houseboat to a new camping spot every day. Then we would hop in our run-about boat and go exploring canyons, go fishing, hiking, looking for rocks etc. We went swimming three or four times a day. Had such a good time we talked about making it an annual affair.

In June we met some of the "kids" from Wyoming I used to pal around with in high school in L.A. and went on a five day cruise to Mexico. All had spouses with them and we caught up on news of each other, classmates, swapped tall tales and had a good time. I hadn't seen one fellow for 37 years. It was fun and we got to see our brand new grandson in Long Beach both before and after the cruise.

Our big trip this summer was two cruises back to back on a four masted clipper ship in Greece and Turkey. Diane has wanted to sail the Greek Isles so we did.

We sailed out of Kusadasi, Turkey and went to a different island each day. We would sail in the evening and at night and go shopping, swimming, scuba diving, looking around or hiking to a castle during the day. One day the island would be in Greece and the next day perhaps Turkey. All were interesting and had something to offer. Sailing at night under a full moon and seeing the moon and stars through the sails and rigging was beautiful. Under full sail the ship had 36,000 square feet of sail.

The first day we visited Delos and Mykonous. Delos is like a National Park with lots of ruins and Mykonous is a picturesque little town. The next day we visited Santorini and I was totally unprepared. We sailed into the caldera of a volcano, an active volcano, and Santoini is a group of villages situated on the rim of the volcano. We could either walk the 2500 feet up hill to the town from the Agean Sea, or ride a donkey or take the tram. The temperature was about 95+ and being hardy Alaskan souls we took the tram. A very interesting and beautiful place - one to go back to and spend some time. This place is really unique.

Next we went to Crete and we visited Heraklion. Lots of history, shopping and sight seeing. Then on to Karpathos and we played in the water most of the day with a little looking around. The water was warm and clear and snorkeling was good.

Rhodes was next and we took a tour because there is so much to see. Saw the Acropolis of Rhodes and the 2nd century theater, forts, temples, and stadium. Went to Old Town that was built between 1310 and 1522. Lots of shops and cafes and the food is great and they do know how to separate you from your money. The fruit in both Greece and Turkey was outstanding! I really pigged out and had no intestinal problems. Saw what was supposed to be the foundations for the statue of Rhodes. Another place to revisit.

Patmos was next and this is where St. John wrote the book of Revelation. That's on my list to read when I get time. We saw the castle where he wrote it but it was a long walk with long lines to get to it and a hot day, so we opted for seeing it from afar and swimming and snorkeling. Each island has castle/fort ruins and perhaps a monastery and temple so there were lots of castles and ruins to see.

The next morning we docked at Kusadasi which ended our first cruise. Kusadasi is a fun place with moderate temperatures, good food and friendly people. In fact we had nice people everywhere we went; their main industry is tourism.

The first stop on our second cruise was Bodrum. We went scuba diving on ruins of underwater cities, then to town. More castles, ruins etc. All of these islands have interesting histories. The mausoleum of Halicarnassus was here and it was one of the Ancient Wonders of the World as was the statue at Rhodes.

The next day we anchored off a little island and went swimming and snorkeling then went on to Marmaris. It is a picturesque place but there were lots of tourists so I did water sports most of the afternoon.

Kekova was next and we could see the ruins of underwater cities from our ship coming in. Quite a place and we took a tour, hiked up to a castle when it was 105-110 degrees and snorkeled on a 1000 year old ship wreck. I wear old shorts and tee shirts when it is that hot. I swim with The Locals in the bay or off the ship. I don't always remember to take out my billfold so the money gets a good laundering.

The next stop was Lindos on the other side of the island from Rhodes. Another acropolis, fortress, Temple of Athena and hordes of tourists. I did a quick look see and went swimming. On our way to Kos we saw the aircraft carrier "Kennedy" off the coast of Rhodes.

Kos is the birthplace of Hippocrates and very interesting. We got a tee shirt with the Hippocratic oath on it in Greek for a doctor friend of ours. Had an excellent lunch at a little outdoor cafe.
Next stop was Samos, an important center for Hellenic culture. It is the birthplace of the goddess Hera and philosopher Pythagoras. More castles, temples, ruins etc. Then back to Kusadasi and the end of our cruise and beginning of a long trip home.

We took a bus to Izmir and saw Ephesus on the way. St. John and St. Paul visited here and Mary spent her last years near here. We flew from Izmir to Istanbul and spent an extra day in Istanbul. Diane really enjoys shopping at the Grand Bazaar. From Istanbul we flew direct to JFK, then to Salt Lake City and home to Anchorage. Fun trip but tiring.

Diane is coming home tonight from a 40th class reunion in Iowa - so I better cut this off and go pick her up. Adios Ken

{Whew! Ken you are certainly enjoying retirement and your travels are the envy of many. Thanks for sharing adventures. They are a joy to publish and I am sure our readers enjoy them as well. . . Editor}


Charlie and Dottye:

As of August 29th Emma Lu is finally unemployed. Also, since our home is leased until Dec 98, we are homeless!!

We moved back to Anchorage Oct 1st into an apartment above our son's Pest Control Business on Fireweed. We will be there until the lease on the house is done. We are looking forward to getting back into the Alaskan swing of things. The address and phone are: 403 E. Fireweed Lane, Anchorage AK 99503 - (907) 274-7033 - E-mail is: - Just a little up date on our whereabouts. Maybe you can help spread the word that we are BACK HOME!!

Jim C. & Emma Lu Walton


The Cross Since the last issue of OUR TIME we have learned of the following deaths:

Pat Mayo passed away in her home in Anchorage on Dec. 14. Used to be Buck Culver's Administrative Officer and the Regional Civil Rights Specialist.

Ordeen "Jolly" Jallen former FAA ATCS and electrician passed away at his Wasilla home in September. Jolly was well known to many FAAers even after he left the agency and started his own business, Jolly Electric. He kept in close touch with his many friends.



On August 30th Dottye and I left Anchorage for Sun City West in our new motorhome. Our itinerary would take us through three Provinces of Canada and twenty-five states. We would log almost 10,000 miles. It was a trip of a life time, one that we will long remember.

During our odyssey, we kept a "Travel Log" documenting our experiences, the sights we saw, and our reaction to some of the most beautiful parts of "America the Beautiful". We shared our "log" with several friends and their reaction was overwhelming!! We thought OUR TIME readers may also enjoy this adventure too.


August 31, 1997 Anchorage, AK
- Tok RV Village, Tok, AK

It is raining cats and dogs (nice day to leave) but we are having problems with the tow vehicle lights. Finally after borrowing fuses from Gene and Jane May, we are under way. It took seven hours to drive from Anchorage to Tok. It rained pretty hard until we were past Glenallen, then the weather cleared. The road from Palmer to Tok sucks!! What else can I say. We spent the night at the Tok RV Village and "socialized" with three couples from Alabama. We were invited to dinner - salad, lasagna and cocktails, of course. We were also asked to join their caravan to Dawson City, but we had to decline.

September 1, 1997 Tok, AK
- Pioneer RV Park, Whitehorse, YT

The weather is good and we enjoyed are overnight stay at the Tok RV Village. Nice campsites and quiet. The trip to Whitehorse was uneventful. The wind blew about 30-40 knots around Lake Kluane - I think this is normal. So far, no wildlife seen. Traffic on the highway has been very light, almost non-existent. We stopped at the Kluane Wilderness Village and had lunch; well Dottye had pancakes - hmm good! We refueled at Otter Falls for Diesel - gulp, gulp, gulp - thirsty beast. We selected the Pioneer RV Park for the night. Not a very nice location. It had all the services, but it was like parking in a gravel pit.

September 2, 1997 Whitehorse
- J&H Wilderness Park, Lake Muncho, BC.

Again the weather cooperated. The road to Watson Lake is like a superhighway with a speed limit of 100 Km or 62 Mph. We stopped at the Iron Creek Lodge for a bite of lunch and short potty break. And finally, just before we got to Laird Hot Springs, we saw a black bear sitting on the side of a grassy hill enjoying the afternoon sun - while two tourists took its picture.

We planned to spend the night at one of the most popular Provincial Parks - Laird Hot Springs. However, a few weeks earlier two people were attacked and killed while sitting in the hot springs. We weren't concerned about bears, but the thought of two tragic deaths were too fresh in our minds. So much for the hot tub tonight.

On to J&H Wilderness Lodge at the waters edge on Lake Muncho. This campground has a nice setting with beautiful scenery, nice hosts, and quiet.

September 3, 1997 Lake Muncho
- Northern Lights RV Park, Dawson Creek, BC

The weather gods are kind once again. Beautiful clear skies all day. And, we saw some wildlife, finally. One black bear and a dozen or so caribou. The road construction around Steamboat (50 miles north of Ft. Nelson) is still a mess. Fortunately it did not rain; otherwise it would have been an ocean of mud. Still, with the watering of the road to keep the dust down, we managed a few scary seconds when the coach began to slide sideways. A white knuckled driver is not a pretty sight. 
A short stop in Ft. Nelson for fuel - gulp, gulp - we average about 8.5 Mpg. The RV park in Dawson Creek was nice. We met a couple from Texas who just finished touring Alaska - including the Dalton Highway to Deadhorse. They were in a Dodge Pickup with a Cummings diesel pulling a 30 foot Alpinlite 5th wheeler. Their trip went very well. That was good news because we would like to make that trip someday. Hey, we might even make it to Hope after all these years!

September 4, 1997 Dawson Creek 
- Bee Lazee RV Park, Prince George, BC

A short day!! We finally decided these 400 mile days were getting old and we wanted to get in earlier than five o'clock. The weather was great, again. However, we did have a few early morning showers, but that was a nice change from the sunny skies. We stopped along the way for a cup of coffee and muffin at the Silver Sands Lodge in Chetwynd, BC. The highway is in great shape. The RV park is very nice. Friendly people and very clean facilities. There is a great car wash facility and we washed the car and the coach, removing at least a ton of dirt and mud.

September 5, 1997 Prince George, BC 
- Cache Creek Campground, Cache Creek, BC

The weather finally changed. We must be nearing Seattle. It was very foggy in the morning, but cleared by 10 a.m. For most of the day, it was partly sunny with an occasional rain shower. The highway is very good, except for about ten miles of construction around McKenzie. There were a few harrowing moments dealing with the extremely narrow and raised roadbed throughout the entire construction area. One foot either way and we would have slid off the road and probably would have turned over. This narrow road gave a new meaning to "intense". Our focus was such, if someone said Boo, I would have had either a heart attack or pooped my pants. The country is beautiful and genuinely lives up to the slogan, "Beautiful British Columbia". The country-side is lush and green. The fall colors are starting to show up. We stop at Clancy's in Lac La Hache for fuel - gulp, gulp - but guess what? We got a two cent a liter discount and a penny a liter voucher for food at the restaurant. Better than a poke in the eye with a stick! Tomorrow - America!

September 6, 1997 - Cache Creek, BC 
- Sudden Valley, WA

We are going to have to pay off the weather man. The drive from Cache Creek through the Fraser Canyon is one of the most beautiful drives along the Alaska/Canada Highway. We enjoyed a leisurely day with a stop for lunch at Hell's Gate.

Upon our arrival in Sudden Valley, we decided to park the coach in Dave and Mary Lou West's driveway. With a little bit of juggling, we managed to park the coach in their driveway which was not really designed for a 36 foot motorhome. We should note, their beautiful home is located at the end of a cul-de-sac at the top of a steep grade - very narrow and steep! We enjoy an evening filled with stories of our past adventures, making plans for our Hawaii vacation and reminiscing about the great rounds of golf we would have had if we only made that putt!

September 7, 1997 - Sudden Valley, WA
- Tacoma (Elks), WA

A quick trip to Tacoma to visit with son Chris and Grandson Kyle. Yes, you guessed it, another sunny day! We parked in the Tacoma Elks Lodge RV area. This lodge is one of the best with lots of amenities.

September 9, 1997 - Tacoma, WA 
- Junction City, OR

A short trip to the Country Coach factory for service and warranty work. While in Junction City, a must stop is Fiddler's On-the-Green - the Pacific Northwest's largest golf store. Also, the new Railroad Restaurant in mid-town Junction City is a regular eatery.

Our stay at the factory is longer than planned. There is some de-lamination on the slide out wall. This delay caused an adjustment to our plans.

September 15, 1997 - September 17, 1997 
- Junction City, OR - Sequim, WA

We drive our car to Sequim, Washington to attend Al & Lois Bruck's hosting of the annual Whitey Machin fish fry. Once again, another great turnout of retirees and spouses. Popo Richardson and Bill Dalton did the cooking - deep fried halibut - and the ladies put together quite a spread. The Bruck's took this annual event over after the Machin's health prevented them from carrying on a 20 year or so tradition. It is a premier event and who in their right mind can pass up halibut and all the goodies that go with it.

The weather cooperated too. I guess this thing about "it don't rain in Sequim" has some validity. Of course, Popo is the first to tell you after 18 years in Cordova - Rain, what rain!?! He has a point there.

We took some time before we left to visit with Popo and Bea Richardson and Ed and Ruth Jones. They both have their little corner of paradise buttoned down.

Our trip into Tacoma went smoothly, but, it rained like hell. We spent the evening with son Chris and grandson Kyle. Kyle has grown into a fine young boy. Chris is doing a great job as a single parent.

September 18, 1997 - Sequim, WA 
- Junction City, OR

We return to Junction City in the rain. It must be payback time for all the great weather we have enjoyed on this trip. We do get some good news, we will get the coach back tonight and if so, then we will begin our trip east - to Libby, MT, where daughter Robin and family recently moved to from Redmond, OR.

September 19, 1997
- Junction City, OR

Well, we got the coach back at 10:30 a.m. this morning; but, we have an appointment to have the rig washed and hand waxed. The first real cleaning since we got into the States. Man, if you like rain, and we don't mean drip, drip, drizzle, drizzle - then try Oregon. It has rained almost every day since we arrived in Junction City. The day we left for Sequim, it poured cats and dogs and the trucks don't cut you any slack. Thank goodness we made the trip by car. It would have been a tough drive in the coach.

The upside of our extended stay at the factory is meeting other owners. Most have been here as long as we have. Standing around telling stories is very informative and educational. We learned things about the motorhome we didn't know existed. Like, there is an "economy" mode on the transmission. After 10,000 miles I get the word. It will be interesting to see if it improves the Mpg as everyone says it will.

September 20, 1997 Junction City, OR 
- Shady Rest Mobile Home Court, Umatilla, OR

We are on our way! We left Junction City this morning and stopped in Portland for a short visit with Dave and Carol Brisbane. Dave now flies for Horizon Air as a Captain on their jet aircraft. Way back in 1969 he was a fledgling new flight instructor and was my instructor for the commercial, multi-engine, CFI&I, and Cessna Citation Type ratings.

We drove from Portland to the Shady Rest Mobile Home Court in Umatilla, OR on the beautiful Columbia River. The drive along Columbia River Gorge on I-84 from Portland to The Dalles is one of the more beautiful trips you can make. The weather was sunny and traffic was light. We drove past three dams: Bonneville Dam/Cascade Locks, The Dalles Dam, and The John Day Dam. Tomorrow we cross the Columbia River into Pasco, WA then on to Spokane, Coeur d' Alene and north to Libby. We finally feel as though our awaited trip has really begun. Oh, by the way, beautiful, clear, warm, sunny day!! And the forecast is for some of the same tomorrow.

September 21, 1997 Umatilla, OR 
- Libby, MT

The drive along US 395 is not very scenic; however, the road is in great condition and the traffic was very light. Until we got to Spokane, the terrain was pretty much grasslands, rolling hills, and treeless. From Spokane eastward the countryside was more to our liking, trees & mountains. Coeur d' Alene and Sandpoint are nice areas and the next time we are in the area we must spend more time. Lake Pend Oreille was a pleasant surprise. It is a very large lake surrounded with beautiful mountains and homes.

At Sandpoint, ID we pick up US Highway 2. We will follow this classic highway all the way to the Mackinaw Bridge. After a brief stop in Bonners Ferry for fuel we turn east. As we approach Libby, Montana, we are introduced to the Kootenai River valley. It is gorgeous.

Besides being noted for logging, the Libby Dam turns the Kootenai River into Lake Koocanusa (Koo - ca - nus - a). The name is from an aberration of the: Kootenai River, Canada, and USA. The lake spans both the Canadian and United States borders.

September 23, 1997 Libby, MT
- Havre RV Park, Havre, MT

Libby, Montana is a lumber town. As is with most lumber towns, unemployment is high - 12%. Fortunately for son-in-law Tim, he had a good job lined up before relocating from Redmond, Oregon. Tim is a logger and to log is his life. They are happy in Libby. For now they are waiting to close on their new home.

The Kootenai River valley is beautiful and we look forward to our next visit so we can spend time sightseeing and maybe some fishing. There is a small nine hole golf course (Par 36) that also needs to be investigated.

The drive on US2 eastward to Kalispell and on to West Glacier and the Marias Pass (5,280') reminds you of Alaska and the road to Seward before the highway was improved. US2 is a good road and 55 mph is plenty fast. Kalispell was not what I expected. The scenery is nice but the town looked old. Once you go over the Continental Divide the terrain changes dramatically. From trees and mountains to high desert grass lands. Hungry Horse, Montana is just out of Columbia Falls and can be compared to Cooper Landing. It is located on the Flat River and white water rafting and fishing are major industries. So is helicopter sightseeing into Glacier National Park. This will be a must stop the next time we are here.

Browning, MT reminded us of Bethel. Both are Native American towns and there is a dramatic change in topography from a mountainous terrain to one of flat plains-like landscape. Another surprise was Cut Bank, Montana. Again, this community is located on the flat, wind driven plains of Montana. It doesn't take much imagination to see their winters must be very severe. As you approach the town from the west, it is quite apparent where the origin of the town derived its' name. A large gorge runs along a north/south line, thereby the appellation - Cut Bank. Over the years, quite a few Flight Service Specialists have come to Alaska from Cut Bank and vice versa.

As we approached Havre, MT, the only trees you see are those planted around the ranches that dot the countryside. It is obvious the wind blows here and the planting and farming of grain is done in patches so the top soil won't blow away. Each little town along US 2 exclaims proudly their claim to fame with a large sign announcing their most notable characteristic. Joplin, MT declares they "ARE THE SMALLEST TOWN ON EARTH". Kremlin, MT pronounces that they do it the "USA WAY". The winner - Rudyard, Montana where they proudly proclaim "HOME TO 596 OF THE NICEST PEOPLE AND ONE OLD SOURPUSS" or something like that! Havre is a big town compared to those we passed from Kalispell. Even though it is only 4:40 p.m. - we stop - I need a beer.

September 24, 1997 Havre, MT
- Express RV Park and Campgrounds, Minot, ND

We left Havre on another sunny, clear day. Temperatures in the high 30's to mid-40's at night with day time highs 80-90 degrees. From Havre to Glasgow pretty much the same scenery. Except there are more trees, especially around the houses. As you near Glasgow, the Missouri river flows closer to the highway. The combination of the Missouri and Fort Peck Lake add a beautiful sculptured landscape full of color and contour. The fall colors have begun in Montana.

We had lunch in Wolf Point, MT. Wolf Point is on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation and like most towns and cities along US 2 in central and eastern Montana, it was a terminus for the freight trains to load up with grain. I also understand Wolf Point had a history in oil and Indian Affairs.

Did I mention trains? Well, while we were exploring the sights of Wolf Point, we came upon a railroad crossing. Because the terrain is rather flat, you can see for miles in any direction. As we approached the crossing, we observed a freight train slowly pulling into a grain elevator station about a quarter mile or more from the crossing. It was apparent the train had stopped so we continued on at the posted speed limit, forty Mph. Without warning, the flashing red lights came on and the gates started to close. We slammed the brakes on but it was obvious we would not stop in time. Quickly as a matter of reflex the throttle was slammed to the floor and with a lot of luck and by grace of the Travel God, we got through the crossing without any damage. The train was still at a standstill in the station. I am convinced someone had a good laugh at our expense. Tonight's martini will be a double!!

North Dakota finds the countryside blessed with more streams, lakes and trees. It is obvious this part of the great old U.S of A is committed to the production of grain, feed, and seed. The North Dakota farms and ranches seem to be in a far better state than those we saw in Montana. Thereby suggesting a different cultural influence and perhaps a stronger economy.

As you approach Minot, you enter a big valley. At this time of the year it is bathed in a glorious array of fall colors - exploding yellows, golds, reds and greens. The small township of Burlington opens the trail into Minot. We could live here - if today (Clear, Sunny and 85 degrees) was the worst day of the year - weather wise.

Well, it finally happened - road construction in the middle of a city at rush-hour. Wouldn't you know it! In order to get to tonight's stopping spot - an RV park (so-so), fuel stop and RV wash (a much needed one), we were required to use business 2/52. What a mess and one detour after another. And yes, we found a turn that was far too tight for our coach - we ran up on the curb! To top this off, our two lanes (one left turn only and one right turn only) of traffic ended at an intersection facing four lanes of on-coming traffic! Minot is a friendly town. Everyone waved a familiar gesture as they passed us while we waited for a green light.

Glasgow, MT and Burlington, ND win today's most attractive area/city.

September 25, 1997 Minot, ND 
- Grand Forks, ND

Minot to Grand Forks opens a new world of scenery. The country side is dotted with lakes, wetlands and TREES! Quite frankly, ND was not what I expected. Very pretty country - far different than the flat grasslands of eastern Montana and from it's sister state, South Dakota. US2 is a four lane road. Much to my surprise, the road is built through wetlands. We commented on how this would never happen today.

Tomorrow we will tour Grand Forks - a city that is still trying to recover from the flood of '97.

September 26,1997 Grand Forks, ND

Once you see the devastation of the 1997 Grand Forks flood, the reality of the tremendous loss and intensity of the damage comes home. So many homes lost in just a few hours. Grand Forks has a population of 50,000 and many of these residents will not rebuild. There is so much to do before winter sets in.

September 27, 1997 Grand Forks, ND

Today was the first time we have played golf. Because of my bulged neck disc, my last round was Father's Day. Dottye played great. She always does. We watched a video on the flood. It was a collage of news reports. In one segment, a 70 year old farmer carried 100 pound bales of hay to his cattle, across a frozen lake, risking his own life to feed his stock. Very emotional. We had a great dinner at the Bronze Boot - one of Grand Forks finest restaurants.

September 28, 1997 Grand Forks, ND 
- Alpine Campground, Ironwood, MI

We are underway once again. We plan to arrive in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada on Tuesday, September 30th. We are scheduled to arrive in Lake George, NY on October 1st. Highway US2 is a cornucopia of geographical and topographical definition. From the Pacific NW to the Land of 10,000 Lakes we have seen some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable as well as some very desolate land. There are many interesting sights along the way.

The fall colors were in full dress - brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows blend into natures pallet. Even though US2 is an old highway and much of it is in need of repair, it still is a very good highway. If you are not in a hurry, it can be a very rewarding journey. Today we covered four states; ND, MN, WI and MI.

September 29, 1997 Ironwood, MI 
Cedar Springs Campground, Sterling, MI

The Alpine Campground is in the heart of the Michigan Upper Peninsula (UP according to the locals) which is a winter retreat for many. There are numerous motels, resorts, campgrounds and facilities for winter and summer activities. From Ironwood to Crystal Falls, MI, we saw the "best" of the fall colors. It motivated me to take a picture. The best sign of the day was in Crystal Falls: FALL IS HERE! OH DEER! quite appropriate considering hunting season is in full swing.

Crystal Falls, MI, easily wins our appreciation for best town. What a quaint and picturesque township - identified by the old church at the top of the hill.

Until you reach Escanaba, MI, there is little to see. However, once you turn north and head for St. Ignace, MI, (jumping off point for the Mackinaw Bridge and the end of US 2), you have great views of Lake Michigan as well as more fall colors. The bridge is spectacular! The wind was blowing about 40 knots so we were restricted to a speed limit of 20 Mph. This gives you plenty of time to ponder the length and height of this man-made wonder. You will have to ask Dottye for her thoughts. The entire trip across the bridge was done in complete silence!!!

From Mackinaw City, Michigan, to Sterling was along I-75. As is true for most travel over the interstate highways, there was not much to see.

If you have never driven US 2 across the USA, we highly recommend it - especially this time of the year. There are lots of facilities and the pace is much more desirable than the 70 Mph Interstate speeds.

Tomorrow - Niagara Falls! Dottye said she has my barrel ready. Is she trying to tell me something??

September 30, 1997 Sterling, MI 
- King Waldorf RV Park, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Spectacular! What else can be said about Niagara Falls? This was my second visit, the first in 1969. This was a first for Dottye and she was impressed. We enjoyed a leisurely walk along the Falls and then a few beers in the "Beer Garden".

The only downer in the trip was Customs. For whatever reason, they felt it was necessary to search the coach. I think it was because I was asked, "Do you have any weapons on board?" to which I answered "No". Then I was asked if I owned any guns and where were they. To which I replied, "Yes". An intelligence test, right? Damned if you do, and damned if you don't. I have heard that Alaska and Texas plates will be searched in eastern Canada. Oh well, at least the agent who did the search was reasonable and we didn't have to tear the coach apart. In the future - no sir, no sir, three bags full.

October 1, 1997 Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada 
- Lake George RV Park, Lake George, NY

Back in the Good Old USA and we were very lucky to avoid a near disaster! No sooner had we crossed the border and cleared customs, the tow vehicle tow bar broke! That's right, Snap, Crackle and Pop. Fortunately, we were only doing 5 Mph and there wasn't any damage to the car or coach. Whew! With the help of a nearby truck driver, we got the tow bar disengaged from the coach and car. But, there was little hope of any repairs so Dottye had to drive the car from Niagara Falls to Lake George while I drove the coach. We stopped en route and contacted the manufacturer and got a new tow bar shipped to the RV park in Lake George. It arrived the next morning - no cost to us! Thanks, Blue Ox.

I know it may be difficult for some of you to believe this but the drive from Niagara Falls to Lake George is one of the most beautiful legs in our cross country. Of course, being from New York originally, I knew it was a colorful and attractive state. I just forgot how nice it was. The rolling hills with the trees painted in fall colors and a countryside dotted with neat little homes, farms, and towns is a picture perfect postcard.

We arrived in Lake George early in the afternoon without any further incident. We parked in our assigned spot and settled in for a five day Country Coach Fall Color Rally - a much welcome break from driving every day.

October 2 - 5, 1997 
Country Coach International 1997 Fall Color Rally 
- Lake George, NY

Thursday was registration day. There are sixty seven Country Coaches in attendance - About 120 members. This afternoon we will board the Cruise Ship "Horicon" for a Lake George dinner cruise. Believe me when I say it was exquisite, you cannot guess just how nice a cruise around famous Lake George can be. The lake is huge. All around the shore are homes, small summer cabins, large homes with boat houses, and big estates with matching boat houses. At one time, this was a playground for New York's rich and famous. The homes certainly document the wealth that once was here. Of course, you still need bucks to buy these million dollar homes. We can dream, can't we??

As dark fell on this peaceful evening, we enjoyed our favorite beverage and a well appointed bill of fare consisting of salads, chicken and prime rib. We returned early and retired for the night. Tomorrow is to be a full day with an early start.

October 3, 1997

Today we went on a bus tour to Fort Ticonderoga. Unfortunately, the weather was rainy and overcast skies clouded any view of the fall colors that were late arriving this year. But all was not lost. We learned quite a bit about the area and the tour of the Fort was comprehensive and educational. I had forgotten, or perhaps I never understood, the role this famous landmark played in the birth of our Nation. This fortress once held by France, which fell to the British during the French Indian War, was to become a pivotal battleground during the American Revolution. Had the winds of war blown differently, this could have become part of Canada. The success of the American Revolution can be attributed to the cannons taken from the Fort to Boston. It was these cannons that helped the young revolutionaries to a victorious beginning. Now, are we indebted to the Brits for winning the war? Gad Zooks Batman!

October 4 & 5, 1997

The next two days are dedicated to seminars on the systems in our coaches. For example, we will have factory representatives from Allison to give us information and answer questions on the transmission. There also will be seminars on batteries, chassis, and lots of time for shopping and sightseeing. Also, we will have evening get togethers. Saturday is scheduled for a Chili and Fajita dinner hosted by one of the Dealers. The Sunday Farewell Dinner will be hosted at the famous Fort William Henry.

October 6, 1997 Lake George, NY 
- Newburg/Paltz RV KOA Campground, Platteville, NY

We are in the vicinity of my home town. Again we enjoy the fall colors along I-87. The campground is nestled in the woods and is one of the best RV parks for ecstatic value. For the next few days, we will drive around and re-acquaint ourselves with the old "stomping" grounds. Our visit will also allow us an opportunity to spend time with good friends. The weather is great. There was some rain while we were in Lake George, but the last couple days were clear and warm - actually the temperatures are above normal. While home, we got to visit with childhood friends Billy, Ann, and Elanore Kahrs. Also, their mom, who is 88 years young, joined us for pizza at the "Dug Out" Restaurant - a pizza parlor that was the "hang out" when we were kids some 44 years ago. In fact the original owners are still there and working. We reminisced about days gone by. Billy is two years older than me and Ann is two years younger. Elanore is 10 years younger.

We spent time with Charlie Rigano, a high school running mate. In New York you can get a driver license when you are 16 years old, but you can't drive at night unless you are accompanied by an adult or someone with a regular operators license. Charlie, (Tut) as we fondly called him, was two years older and possessed the valuable "operators license". The car, a 52 Chevy, was my dad's. Tut had the license and along with his brother, Nicky, and mutual friend, Mikey Sack, we would terrorize the highways and girls of Somers, NY.

Tut left school when he was 16 and started to pump gas at Winnie's Mobile gas station. He eventually became the owner and then sold it and retired. Retirement is not for him--he now is part owner in a station across the street from his old one. We talked up a storm and time seemed to stand still for a while.

It was good to go back home (my first visit in over 10 years). Growing up in Somers, NY, in the early 50's was a good time. Baseball, open spaces, fishing, and good friends. We always had something to do that DID NOT include sitting on your butt watching TV or playing video games. Before we had cars, we rode our bikes all over the place. School was five miles away and often, I would ride my bicycle to school. Tut also sold me my first motorcycle. That was a blast until the State Trooper, Tommy Ennis, caught me driving without insurance and current tags. He made me push the damn thing home - 4 miles! and then told my dad. My Hell's Angel days abruptly ended - at least for the time I lived at home.

October 8, 1997 Newburg, NY 
- Harrisburg East Campground, Harrisburg, PA

After two short days, we leave New York for Georgia. Our original plan was to drive part of the way over the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway, but time is of the essence. The trip from Newburg to Harrisburg followed two lane highways through the Poconos. Beautiful best describes this 150 mile trip. Each day the fall colors grow more and more intense. We were very lucky to get a "parking" spot at the Harrisburg East Campground. The annual antique car show is in full swing this weekend at Hershey, PA. This event is humongous. One of the largest, if not the largest, car shows in the country. Over 16,000 vendors are on hand and over 1,000 cars will compete for best car. So we were told. This event is held every year at this time and we were told that there isn't a hotel/motel room within 50 miles.

October 9, 1997 Harrisburg, PA 
- Van Hoy Farms Family Campground, Union Grove, NC

Well, there isn't much to see when you follow the interstate system. However, it was a beautiful day - clear, sunny and warm or maybe hot is a better adjective. We followed I-81 and I-77 taking a scenic drive through western Pennsylvania, Maryland, W. Virginia, Virginia and finally North Carolina. The last 100 miles were through the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Van Hoy Campground is the home of the World Championship Fiddler's Competition. It is right off the highway and in a nice setting.

October 10, 1997 Union Grove, NC
- Chattahoochee KOA, Chattahoochee, FL

Whew! What a long day! Well sometimes plans just don't work out. We needed to be in Chattahoochee for the weekend because the in-laws still work - poor babies. That meant a long hard day's drive on the Interstates. Of course we arrived in the dark - first time for that to happen and got lost (twice), grumpy (often), and divorced (numerous times) before we settled into the Chattahoochee KOA for the night.

We will be here for a couple days visiting with Dottye's sisters and brothers. Needless to say, we will eat some cat fish. One thing about this part of the world - they do have good cat fish! Also, we will visit her mom's grave. We have not been in Bainbridge, GA since mother died four years ago last August.

That's right. We discovered Chattahoochee long before that fair hair, good looking Georgia Boy - Alan Jackson - made it popular. Of course, if you visited Chattahoochee, you would ask yourself - Why? For us it was family - Chicken fried venison with fresh green peas, biscuits & gravy with a touch of "potatoes" ( mashed, of course), and the sweetest corn I have ever run these nubbin's over, topped off with peach bread and home made peanut butter cookies. It was a great home cooked meal by sister, Barbara and brother-in-law, Frank. Okay, so we didn't need all that grease - but it was good!

You wouldn't believe the weather. Since leaving the Oregon/Washington area, we have seen only one day of rain. The rest of the time has been sunny and warm. In fact they are looking for temperatures to reach the 90's today. Muggy too...

October 13, 1997 
- Chattahoochee, FL - Montgomery KOA, Montgomery, AL

We had a great visit with Dottye's sister and brothers. Today we head west and north on our way to visit with Jerry and Barbara Wylie in Neosho, MO.

Other than a quick trip along I-10 several years ago, this was our first look see at Alabama. Nice country and the weather was good, but muggy. We stopped at a few fruit and nut stands and picked up some Florida grapefruit and some good raw pea nuts (for boiling) and some fresh p-cans as they are fondly advertised.

We just couldn't pass up the "Country Mall" in Pine Level, AL, (on US-231) for some shopping. It is a very large clothing and shoe store carrying all the brand names. Pretty good prices and only 5 1/2 percent tax.

Tomorrow we will be in Memphis and will stay at the Memphis Graceland KOA. Who knows--maybe we will get lucky and Elvis will park next to us.

October 14, 1997 Montgomery, AL
- Memphis Graceland KOA, Memphis, TN

Shortly after we left Montgomery it began to rain and rain it did. This was the first rain since our brief visit to Lake George, New York. About an hour west of Birmingham, AL, it cleared and the rest of the journey to Memphis was sunny, breezy and clear. Our travels to Alabama gave a new perspective to our narrow view of how others live. To our surprise, Birmingham is a metropolis. The northern portion of Alabama lives up to the state motto - Alabama the Beautiful. Rolling hills, green, green trees of several varieties and much of the land is farm. One thing is for certain, there isn't a lack of churches. There are many fine looking churches covering many different denominations. Some of the buildings are rather simple, while others are masterpieces in beauty and architecture. 
Just east of Hamilton, AL, we saw many splendid farms. Ranches may be a better description. We thought of our good friend Carl Bailey. This was Red Brangus country. Carl is also raising Brangus cattle.

Today's winning signs - GO TO CHURCH OR THE DEVIL WILL GET YOU! This large white billboard, with black and red lettering and a picture of the devil on one side, was certainly an eye catcher and one that is sure to get your attention. A second sign was very appropriate. In the midst of a large flea market environment stood a sign proudly displaying - JUNK FOR SALE!

As we crossed the state line into Mississippi, it was a continuation of sculptured rolling tree covered hills and valleys of farm and grasslands. Very unlike the southern part of the state. If you weren't aware of your location, Mississippi would be your last choice. Our trip took us along US 78, an excellent four lane highway from just east of Hamilton, AL, to Memphis. It also goes through Tupelo, Mississippi - the birth place of Elvis Presley. We chose not to stop in favor of our destination plans to visit Graceland. The Memphis Graceland KOA is adjacent to this national landmark and tomorrow, maybe we will see Elvis!

October 15, 1997 Memphis, TN 
- Blue Sky Campground, Mountain View, AR

Today will be remembered as special. We visited Graceland, the home and resting place of Elvis Presley. Whatever your musical inclinations are, this National Shrine is a must stop if you are in the Memphis area. Graceland is not only a step back in time; it is a collection of emotions, feelings and memories of a time when we were all a bit younger--a time when we were sure of our immortality. This small place on earth was home to a personality larger than life - a dream of dreams - a time that would change each of us for time on end. When you see the Mansion you are taken back by its smallness - for here is a story bigger than life - but the entire location is only 13 acres in size. The house itself is elegant but small compared to the edifices erected today by the "Rich and Famous". We enjoyed the tour of the house, the award room which was filled with a lifetime of memorabilia, the grounds, the offices and the graves of Elvis, his mother, father, grandmother and twin brother who died at birth. Well, enough - you have to see it for yourself. If you go there by RV, the Graceland KOA is right next door and in walking distance to Graceland. There is also a hotel on the grounds.

Memphis is truly a city of many delights and filled with history, particularly that which is musically originated. Elvis may have been Memphis' most noted citizen, but it was here that the "blues" were born. Memphis is a leader among performing arts communities. And the restaurants are reportedly world famous for Bar-B-Que, steaks and specialty cuisine. Memphis is one city that would require a lot more time than a brief overnight stay to see, taste and enjoy the multiple ambiances this belle of the south has to offer.

Our trip north and west to Neosho, MO, will take us through the northern part of Arkansas. As you cross the Mississippi River on your way out of Memphis, you enter Arkansas midway. The journey north on I-55 then NW on US63 and SR14 will take you through some bottom land farms which produce rice and cotton as well as the farming of catfish and trout. West of Batesville, AR, you climb into the mountains of the Ozark National Forest. Here the terrain becomes more treed, and the hills are dotted with farms and ranches with various breeds of cattle. Batesville is a large city. The first real cosmopolitan area since leaving Memphis. SR14 meanders through hills, valleys and meadows. It is a well maintained blacktop road, but it is two lane with little or no shoulder. Today's sign - REAL LIFE SELF DEFENSE TRAINING -

Mountain View, Arkansas (located in the Arkansas Stone Country), is a welcome rest stop after driving through endless small communities. A town of 2,500, it is noted for its art and craft stores and shops. For those who are quilting enthusiasts, Mountain View is a must stop. There are the typical retail outlets including several nice motels. The Blue Sky Campground is one of the best of the trip. Located just 3 miles NW of Mountain View, it is a gathering place for the many visitors from all over the USA who want to see the fall colors. We were very lucky to get a parking spot. The campground is almost full!

October 15, 1997 Mountain View, AR 
- Neosho, MO

Today's route took us west and north along SR14, US62 and US71. We were constantly reminded of the beauty we have seen throughout this trip. SR14 is a winding, hilly road that offers some of the best scenery Arkansas has to offer. The drive will take you through a picturesque setting of hills, trees, meadows, and quaint little towns (some as small as 62 people). Many of the tiny towns are just a few buildings with a neatly groomed cemetery. One area that will hold your attention is the Buffalo National River reserve. We understand it is the largest National Park east of the Mississippi. As you approach Eureka Springs, it is obvious the area is a bit more affluent.

Eureka Springs is a large city, with many "tourist's" facilities. It is a very appealing town and we can only visualize how busy this place must be in the summer. Eureka Springs provides us with today's sign, "OUR ROOMS ARE GERMAN CLEAN." Quite appropriate for a town commonly referred to as "Little Bavaria."

Well, if you are an avid flea market participant or if you just can't pass up an antique store or if you really enjoy art & craft shows, this is the place. No where else on our trip have we seen such an orchestrated display of these activities. We will have to make this trip again in the near future and spend more time.

We drove through Bella Vista, Arkansas - Jim and Brenda Moeller's home - and on to Neosho, MO, to visit with Jerry and Barbara Wylie. The six of us got together for dinner and it was a fun evening with good friends. Jerry and Barbara have a lovely home adjacent to the golf course. They just came home from their summer in Alaska. Jerry took us to his "cabin" on the river. He spent the last two years building a beautiful house in a very pristine setting.

October 18, 1997 Neosho, MO

We planned to leave today for Plano, TX, but Jerry offered a trip to Springfield, MO, and a visit to the Pro Bass Shop. No way could we pass up this experience. If you have never stopped there, it is well worth the time. Noted for its great line of fishing and hunting equipment, it will also satisfy your interest in golf, baseball, boating, electronics, and clothing. There are several live displays of fish, reptiles and other outdoor replicas. After a nice dinner in Springfield, we returned to Neosho for a well earned rest.

October 19 1997 Neosho, MO 
- Lighthouse RV Resort, Mellisa, TX

Our trip today will take us west along US 60 to I-44 and then south on US 69 and US 75 to the north Dallas area. This route will take us through the likes of Muskogee, OK, and McAlester, OK, and we will have a good view of Eufuala Lake. This lake is over fifty miles long and from the highway it seems endless. Just north of Muskogee, we stopped for lunch.

This part of Oklahoma is comprised of rolling hills, trees and the prime industry seems to be raising cattle. Unlike the two lane highways through the small towns, this trip is along a four lane road. There are many small towns that require you to slow down to as little as 30 Mph, otherwise the posted speed is 65-70 Mph. Still, we enjoyed seeing a part of the country that neither of us had seen before. And, we were surprised about how green the countryside is.

For the next few days, we will visit family in Plano. Dottye has a sister, brother-in-law, niece and husband, and a grandniece, Amanda. She will be two next month. Amanda is a joy. For almost two, she is very bright and has a great personality. Dottye got to play "Aunt Dot" and kept Amanda occupied by reading almost every book around and playing all kinds of games. I hid out in the living room with Georges' 54-inch TV with Surround Sound! My neck problem (bulged disc) showed up again. At least we are settled for a few days and I was able to find a chiropractor. It is always a treat to spend time with George and Phyllis. We have not seen them since they moved to Plano from San Antonio, two years ago. Both are retired, however, George got antsy and went back to work - at ACE Hardware. Also, we have an appointment to service the coach at Buddy Gregg Motorhomes, an authorized Country Coach dealer.

The weather turned cold. The accompanying thunderstorm was spectacular - heavy rain, loud thunder and lots of lightning. Our first storm in the motorhome. Kind of nice. It was a good day to stay home and catch up on a month's worth of mail.

October 26, 1997 Plano, TX - Cisco, TX

After a week visiting family, it is time to get the wheels rolling again. We head west for Cisco, Texas, to visit with our dear friend Carl Bailey. It was good to see Carl and the "homestead". This farm has been in his family long before Carl showed up. The farm belonged to his grand daddy and it is where Carl was born. In those days, sweet potatoes were the crop of choice. Today, Carl raises Red Brangus cattle. He has several very fine bulls. I tried to get Dottye to ride one, but she said I threw so much of it, she didn't need to ride it!

Talk about cold! How cold was it? It was so cold the ice cubes in my drink had little jackets on! A cold front went through last night and the temperatures dropped to the high 30s - low 40s. It was part of the system that dumped a couple feet of snow on Denver and it also brought snow to the Texas Panhandle. The weather here is clear and sunny but very cold and windy.

The winter weather conditions will change our plans to head north towards New Mexico after we leave Cisco, TX. I remember the story about the fellow who tied a snow shovel to the front of his car. When asked why he did that, he replied, "I plan to head south until someone asks me, what is that tied to the front of your car!" I believe if we stay here much longer, we will need that shovel. So with this threat of winter right around the corner, we took some well intended advice, "At the first sign of snow - head south!" South it will be and we should be in Phoenix in a day or two, cutting our trip short by a week.

October 27, 1997 Cisco TX
- Sun City West, AZ

Like a hungry and tired horse at the end of a long day, we bolted for the barn . The smell of home was in the wind. We made a brief overnight stop at the KOA in Van Horn, TX. This campground got high marks for facilities and friendly hospitality. Arriving late, tired, thirsty and hungry, it was a nice treat to be greeted with a smile and a bag of fresh popcorn. Early the next morning we headed west on I-10 for Phoenix. It had been about two years since my last trip over this route. It was a good trip now that all of the road construction was completed.

After almost 10,000 miles, twenty-five states, and three Canadian Provinces, we arrived home safe and sound and replete with the joys and wonders of this grand old country of ours. 

Kerry B. Long, Regional Administrator
Alaskan Region
Charles W. Muhs, Editor

OUR TIME Retiree Newsletter is published by the Federal Aviation Administration.
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Charlie Muhs, Editor Our Time
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