June 27/Day 4: Day in Dallas
Today we continued to learn about the Civil Rights movement and politics by visiting the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza and the JFK Memorial in Dallas. I was not interested in history as a young person, but am fascinated by it now. Looking from the windows of the book depository building, the grassy knoll, or the plaza park on the other side of the street you can imagine the shock and confusion of the crowd and caravan. You may not be able to see it in the picture, but there is an x on the pavement in both places where Kennedy was shot. One of my favorite exhibits was a collection of photos about Robert Kennedy and MLK Jr's work with Civil Rights and their assignations.
June 28/Day 5: Drive to Carlsbad Caverns, NM
Camping: Brantley Lake State Park
Driving across Texas is like driving on the Western KY Parkway. A lot of nature and not much else except for a few cattle ranches, oil rigs, and scraggly brush. The most fascinating part was driving near massive wind turbines as part of wind farms. We arrived in NM and found a lovely campsite in the desert no-mans land of New Mexico. Scraggly brush, rock, dry hot air, huge gusts of wind, and very few neighbors except for the wildlife. We had several friends stop by- bunnies, jackrabbits, a roadrunner, TWO tarantulas, and even a tiny scorpion outside the ladies bathroom. I didn't go back to get pictures....
June 29/Day 6: Carlsbad Caverns, NM
Carlsbad Caverns is a sulfuric acid-made cave system, unlike water-eroded Mammoth Cave. Several rangers had never been to Mammoth Cave and asked us what we thought of Carlsbad. Carlsbad offers a self-guided tour around the massive center room (over a mile of walking!). That gave us plenty of time to stop and examine formations. A ranger then guided us through additional rooms offering spectacular views. We ended the evening with some local (spicy!) Tex-Mex fare and the evening bat flight, when hundreds of bats leave the main opening to hunt for food during the night hours.
June 30/Day 7: Drive to White Sands, NM
Camping: KOA Alamogordo
After climbing over the Sacramento Mountains, we transitioned from scrubby dessert to rocky foothills, and back down into the White Sands valley. White Sands is home to an Air Force base and military missile testing range where they have developed and launched early prototypes of nuclear bombs, NASA shuttle escape pods, and all most all rockets used by the military. It's a bit like scenes from October Sky only large-scale. Charlie loved it so much he decided to stay at the museum.
The white gypsum sand dunes at the edge of the testing range make up White Sands National Monument. I have wonderful memories sledding down the dunes as a young girl when my father was stationed at Fort Bliss, El Paso TX. There are very few places I get nostalgic about, but it really was fun to share the experience with the boys. Unfortunately, the day was hot and the sand very dry, making sledding less than ideal. And just in case you are worried by the word "sledding", I kept both feet on the ground except to take some "fake" photos!
July 1/Day 8: White Sands
We changed plans and decided to rest and attend church rather than drive to Mesa Verde. Today we worshiped at Grace UMC in Alamogordo. What a rare treat for all four of us to sit together in worship! The rest of day was spent swimming and exploring the community.
June 24/day 1: Driving from Ashland to Hopkinsville KY
Lodging: Marybeth and Phil Brand
What a fantastic Sunday morning!! Three professions of faith, a baptism, and a celebration of our fourth year of ministry here at South Ashland. And a planning meeting for our trip to the Holy Land next spring. Hard to think about that adventure when still working out this one! A perfect send-off.
After fixing a small wiring issue with the trailer lights, cleaning out the fridge, and grabbing last minute I-might-need-that items, we were suddenly on the way to Hopkinsville, KY!
We are well supplied with food, clothes, and a 32 year old pop-up camper. No AC, no bathroom, but a shelter from the elements that’s easy to tow and a bit more comfortable than a tent. Only the boys’ bicycles this trip, for riding around the campground or making a quick trip to the camp store. Our travel plan is to work our way to El Paso, TX by way of Dallas. Once there the real exploring begins with Carlsbad Caverns and White Sands. We have a tentative schedule and major stops, with some wiggle room for unplanned excursions.
June 25/day 2: Driving from Hopkinsville to Little Rock, AR
Lodging: Willow Beach ACE (Army Corp of Engineers) campground
We had a wonderful over-night in Hopkinsville with close friends who are renovating an old house. Lots of catching up, reminiscing, and remoding stories.
Now we head to Little Rock, Arkansas. You know you’re headed in the right direction when the gas station offers warm boiled peanuts! One of my mom’s favorite snacks.
Willow Beach is a quiet, well-kept campground. It was perfect, except for the swarms of mosquitos! Let's just say they were very eager to taste some sweet KY blood.
You have noticed Charles Jeremy Wesley, our friend and mascot. Known as The Other Wesley/TOW, Charlie, or CJ. He’s very photogenic so keep an eye out for him.
June 26/day 3: Driving from Little Rock to Dallas, TX
Lodging: Lewisburg Lake campground
Before leaving Little Rock, we made a quick detour to see Little Rock Central High School. During the Civil Rights movement 9 black teens braved the halls of previously segregated all-white Central. It’s hard to imagine the serene shady street packed with protestors and armed National Guard soldiers. And difficult to accept that these events were not too far distant in our History.
We arrived at the campground early enough to enjoy a quick swim in the lake. The temperatures are in the upper 90's, low 80's at night.
We were gifted a set of prayer beads for our journey made by Sharon Shortridge and Carol Barnhorst. We were in the path of flying semi-truck tire treads twice in three days of driving!. Thankfully no permanent damage, just some scraped paint and a dent in the camper box.
I'll close tonight with another miracle. Joel, who is usually very responsible with his glasses, kept them on while wading in the lake. He and Ben got to rough-housing and sure enough the glasses ended up about 5 feet down at the bottom! Keith and I slowly swept the sandy bottom. I just assumed they were gone and tried to work out how we could replace them quickly. You would think that after God provided on our bike trip I'd have a bit more faith.
And just as we were going to give up the search, KEITH FOUND THEM! Completely undamaged. So we are sleeping well tonight
In just over 7 days the Katterheinrich family will head west for renewal leave. Just the four of us and a pop-up camper in the western wilderness for roughly 40 days. We invite you to journey with us through this blog. Here you will find what we're up to, where we are headed, and hopefully a few insights and pictures along the way.
Yea-haw and Westward Ho!