Land That We Love Tour ~ N.C. to Texas

It was way back at the end of September and the beginning of October 2021 that we were on our Land That We Love Tour from Washington State, through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina for the wedding of our niece. That’s where my posts left off in mid-December. Now I’d like to finish the rest of our tour through North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and home again, home again, jiggety jig. I hope to finish by the end of January.

Goodbye to Hickory, North Carolina and our VRBO and hello Tennessee on Sunday October 3rd.

On Sunday after 4 full days in our VRBO home we packed up our car again and had to use our Tetras skills to get it all to fit. We headed west on Interstate 40 through the Appalachians in North Carolina and along the Smoky Mountains into Tennessee and all the way to Jackson, Tennessee for the night.

Dear needed some coffee and we were ready to fill the tank with gas so we got off at an exit that didn’t have good choices for either coffee or gas. We did see Old Tennessee Distilling Co. and stopped in to have a look around. This was in Kodak, Tennessee. Dear had a great conversation with this character who’s grandfather taught him how to run a Still when he was 8 years old. His grandfather’s original Still was on display on an upper shelf in this establishment.

After our time in this store we headed west again on I-40 and a few exits along the way we were able to fill up with gas and then have a nice light lunch at Aubrey’s just outside of Knoxville. Dear had a burger and I had a 1/2 turkey sandwich and soup. Our food was $22.00 plus tax. Gas outside of Knoxville was $2.889 per gallon and we filled up with 17.284 gallons at $49.93.

On the road again we traveled through some incredible thunderstorms and downpours that slowed us way down because of no visibility. Several accidents had the freeway backed up for miles. Most of the accidents were on I-40 going east which was fortunate for us. We were so happy to finally get to clear skies and dry roads. We just zoomed past Nashville only seeing what we could off of the freeway. This was already a long travel day and we didn’t have time for sight seeing.

We thanked God for bringing us safely to our destination for the night at Residence Inn by Marriott in Jackson, Tennessee. We paid a total of $143.56 for the night. On this Sunday we traveled approximately 506 miles, 7-1/2 hours. We filled the tank up with gas again in Jackson for $2.889 per gallon. We only needed 12 gallons to fill up here. We had dinner at a local Mexican restaurant that was very popular. There were a couple mix-ups in our ordering and the meal ended up being half the price we expected, about $25.00.

On Monday We drove through Memphis and onward.

We crossed the mighty Mississippi river for the 2nd time on this road trip.

Hello Arkansas!


We stopped for gas and lunch in Texarkana. A town that is in both Arkansas and Texas. We bought gas on the Arkansas side for $2.729 per gallon. We had a fast food lunch at Whataburger on the state line for $13.45.

The Arkansas side of the road has Arkansas flags on the light poles and the Texas side of the street has Texas flags on the posts.

In Texas we are headed to my youngest brother’s home in Dallas. We would be staying with his family for a couple nights before hitting the road on a fast track home.

After 534 miles and over 8 hours of driving we pulled up to my brother’s home. We enjoyed a roast beef dinner around the table this evening. It was good to be in the state of Texas with our extended family for a couple of days.

Posts about our time in Dallas are here and here.

While in Dallas we also got to tour the church and offices where my brother and his dear wife are on staff. We enjoyed good conversation during our time together. Dear was able to help out with a couple home projects and I helped Andrew with one of his jigsaw puzzles.

Thursday October 7th we head north on our Land That We Love Tour.

Thursday Was a North Day!

Our Land That We Love Tour took us north from Dallas into Oklahoma and then into Kansas. We left in the dark and missed the Welcome to Oklahoma sign. This sign lit up the darkness. We traveled 35 north.

I was driving when we entered Kansas so we missed the Welcome to Kansas sign, too.

We stopped at Costco in Wichita and when we got back on the road north we noticed there was a Mennonite Heritage Museum on our route we pulled off and enjoyed a visit there. More to come later.

We made it to our hotel in McPherson, Kansas for the night. On Friday we have a longer day of driving north to Nebraska and then west to Cheyenne, Wyoming. 569 miles which should take us 8 hours.


On Wednesday we met up with our dear friend from Southern California and her daughter who just recently moved to Texas at the Flower Child for lunch and conversation. It was serendipitous that we ended up in Dallas at the same time and were able to meet up.

It was so good to see them and catch up with the latest in all of our lives.

Heidi and I have been best of friends since our early college days. We had some epic travels together, too.

My brother Leonard, Nicole, Heidi, Myself and Dear. Heidi was one of my brother Leonard’s Sunday School teachers at Bethany Russian Baptist Church in Los Angeles way back when.

Two and a half hours of conversation and it was time to say goodbye till we meet again.

Thank you to my brother who chauffeured us around while in Dallas.


On our Land That We Love Tour we went to the fanciest Mexican restaurant we’ve ever seen on Tuesday night, Mariano’s. It is owned by the Martinez family. Mariano Martinez is the inventor of the World’s First Frozen Margarita Machine.

The first machine is now in the Smithsonian.

My youngest brother’s familia.

Dear and me.

Poblano Carbon

Tex-Mex tacos.

It’s Fall y’all!

Today we are meeting up with a dear friend from California who happens to be visiting her daughter who now lives in Texas. Serendipitous to be able to see each other in Texas.

Fun times today and then we hit the road early on Thursday heading north, then west, then north and then west, then west and north to our home! Did you catch our route?

All the Way to Dallas

On Monday The Land That We Love Tour took us out of Tennessee through Memphis then into Arkansas and on to Texas.

Memphis Bass Pro Shop!

We crossed the Mississippi River to get to Arkansas.

The Mighty Mississippi!

We stopped in Texarkana on the Texas/Arkansas border to fuel up the car and us before heading on to Dallas.

We got off on the main drag which has establishments in Arkansas on the north side and Texas on the south side.

The Arkansas side of the road has Arkansas flags on the light poles and the Texas side of the street has Texas flags on the posts.

We are having good fellowship time with my youngest brother’s family.

We are thankful and grateful to God for another safe day on the road.

The Young and The Old…

My almost 90 year old parents flew to Dallas to visit my brother’s family and to celebrate their youngest granddaughters 5th birthday. Here are some photos that Leonard and Mandy shared with all of us of my folks with our reigning princess Hope!

Fun and frightening all at the same time!

Glad Hope was flying and not my dad!

They were able to take part in Hope’s Pizza making and cookie decorating birthday party with 15 young guests. I’m tired just typing about it.

Here are the 3 of them at a Russian Restaurant in Dallas. My parents made it home safe and sound with great memories of their time with Hope and her parents!

Wow here it is the last day of January. We’re hoping for a fun filled February. How about you?

Here and There…

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration with Dave, Beth, Jamie, Sarly, Raelynd, BIL Steve, my sister Lana, and our son Dan yesterday in the Pacific Northwest.  Our son Josh and Laura were celebrating with Laura’s family just a few miles away from us. Our daughter Katie called from their celebration with Son-in-law Andrew’s folks in the middle of Florida.

I nabbed this photo off facebook of part of my family enjoying their feast in Dallas, Texas. My sister Kathy’s family drove from Southern California to Texas to spend time with my brother Leonard’s family.

Then I nabbed this photo of my mom and dad enjoying their Thanksgiving feast with my sister Vera’s family in Huntington Beach, California. I really love that my dad has his napkin tucked into his waist. I can almost hear his voice and I know he is praising God and being thankful to Him for his family gathered around that table and scattered all over the U.S.

My brother Tim and SIL Letty joined them. My brother Steve’s family drove from Southern California to Arizona to celebrate with my SIL Kelly’s family. Dear’s brother Terry’s family celebrated in Fullerton, California.

Here there and everywhere we all joined in being thankful to God for all “he did to us” over the years!

FFF ~ It’s all about Hope!

It’s time for Friday’s Fave Five. Please visit Susanne at Living to Tell the Story to join in or visit more favorites.


Our little Miss Hope wasn’t named that randomly but because she was the result of the hope my brother and my SIL had for her to be born. My brother didn’t have hope of being married a few years back and I’m sure the hope of having a child of his own was off his radar. BUT ~ our God is a God of hope and because of His great mercy and love gave Leonard and Mandy a gift from Him and they named her Hope! Leonard and Mandy married in their 40’s, a first marriage for both of them. They’ve been married for 4 years and little Miss Hope will be 3 in January. Last Thursday we flew to Dallas to have a visit with Leonard, Mandy and Hope. My favorites for this week are…

1. Seeing Miss Hope warm up to us over the course of our time there. At the beginning she only wanted to sit with mommy at the dinner table but soon she decided it would be fun to sit by Dear and me.

2. Watching Miss Hope and her lack of fear at gymnastics.

3. Having several good meals around the table with Leonard, Mandy and Hope.

4. Being able to have good conversations with Leonard and Mandy.

5. Every morning Dear was up first, then Hope, then the rest of us. Dear would be stationed on one of the couches in the family room with his back to the arm of the couch and legs stretched out on the couch reading. On the first morning Hope came out and saw Dear there and ran back to daddy and mommy’s room. By Sunday Hope decided when she got up that she would grab a book and sit on the couch opposite Dear with her back to the arm of the couch and legs stretched out on the couch and read. Too Cute!!

Hope to get around soon and see your favorites from this past week!!

Photobucket replaced all my photos with ugly black and grey boxes and they are holding my photos hostage until I pay them lots of money. I’m slowly going through all my posts and trying to clean them up and replacing some photos. Such a bother.

Yard Art ~ Dallas

My little niece arranged some pumpkins in her front porch area. If you look closely between the corn you’ll see an H and an O and a P and part of an E. :0) Then while my SIL and I went on a 6 mile walk early in the morning we spotted this..

It was still on the dark side so a little blurry. Please visit Mary at Work of the Poet to see more yard art or to join in…

Photobucket replaced all my photos with ugly black and grey boxes and they are holding my photos hostage until I pay them lots of money. I’m slowly going through all my posts and trying to clean them up and replacing some photos. Such a bother.


While at the Dallas zoo with my brother, SIL, and niece there was lots of chatter about habitats.


It really is more pleasant to see an animal in it’s natural surroundings even if those surroundings are man made. The zoo’s newest addition was Giants of the Savannah. Both my brother and SIL spent some time in Africa last year on a mission trip and were excited to see this part of the zoo.




It was a fun challenge to keep up with the Little Miss…



We took a ride on the Safari Monorail to see some more habitats.




This reminded little Miss of the Pocahontas story.


So many interesting animals to see. After we had our monorail ride we saw some feathered friends.



Our last stop was the children’s zoo and a ride on the pony!

Photobucket replaced all my photos with ugly black and grey boxes and they are holding my photos hostage until I pay them lots of money. I’m slowly going through all my posts and trying to clean them up and replacing some photos. Such a bother.