Char’s Cross-Country Trip, May–June 2005

Char left on her trip in the morning of 10 May. She stopped in Roanoke and met Kathy for lunch, then headed west. The plan was to follow blue highways as much as possible, avoiding Interstates. Neither of us like Interstate driving, though at times there is no viable alternative. She spent the first night at London, KY, and the second night at Bois d’Arc, MO, just west of Springfield. She arrived in Wichita, where she grew up, on the 12TH and spent three days there visiting relatives. Then on to Great Bend and Scott City to see more relatives. Following are photos of several folks taken along the way. I won’t try to explain who they are since they are primarily of interest to other family members, who already know them.   All photos by Char Sweet unless otherwise noted.

Opal Atherton and Coleen Atherton-Wiley, both in Wichita
Harold and Evy Gregg at home in Newton, KS

Above, Maxine Callen (left) with Bill and Sandy Conner in Wichita.     Right, Dorotha Benson in Scott City


Char left Scott City early on 18 May bound for Saint Francis, KS, and Haigler, NE. Char was born in St. Francis and lived on a farm in nearby Haigler for a few years before her parents moved back to Wichita. Her first stop was at Oakley, KS, to see the monumental sculpture of Buffalo Bill by Charlie Norton. After leaving Haigler she drove to Sheridan, WY, and spent the night there with cousins Bob and Judy Conner. The second day took her to Superior, MT, and she arrived at Orcas Island, WA on the 20TH. She did not take any photos between Haigler and Orcas.

The Buffalo Bill statue at Oakley, KS, and a general view of the Sand Hills between St. Francis, KS, and Haigler, NE.

Above, A typical view of downtown Haigler, NE.

Right, a carved statue next to the fire house in Haigler.


Char’s sisters, June West and Thelma Kallam, live on Orcas Island, as well as two nieces, Marcia West and Debe Hansen, and their families. Orcas is part of the San Juan Island group north of Seattle and just off the southern tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. It is accessible by ferry from Anacortes. She spent two weeks there, starting back east on 4 June. The trip odometer registered 3620 miles when she departed Orcas.

The home of Cynthia Fugate and Marcia West at Sea Acres and of the view of the bay from their house.
The home of Dick and Debe Hansen and the view of Rosario Bay from their house.
Left, Char and Marcia paddling in the bay. Photo by Cynthia Fugate.     Right, Dick Hansen.
“The Altoft,” home of June West at Olga.     Right, a carved statue and a former boat in June’s yard.

The return trip took her over scenic Route 20 across the North Cascades, past Grand Coulee Dam and across Idaho, Montana, and the Dakotas. Her immediate destination was Minnetonka, MN, home of daughter Stephanie Brondani and her family. She took her time and made several stops the first day and then pushed through to reach Minnetonka on the evening of the third day, 6 June. She spent nearly two weeks there and started homeward on 19 June.

Waterfall above Rt 20 near Diablo Dam. From the topo map we judge it is probably the John Pierce Falls on Horsetail Creek.     Right, bridge over Ruby Arm of Ross Lake and surrounding mountains.
Mountain views on the approach to Rainy Pass on Rt 20. Note how little snowpack remains for so early in the summer.

Char on the east side of Washington Pass looking southwest.   The peak at right is Liberty Bell Mountain with Early Winters Spires to the left. Early Winters Creek is in the gorge to the left.     Photo by Chris McGlenn

Columbia River below the Grand Coulee Dam.   The dam is visible in the distance.
Left, Char with grandchildren Kevin and Julia Brondani.   Photo by Altair Brondani
Right, the Brondani family: Altair, Kevin, Stephanie, and Julia on 19 June.

Mooney Hollow Fiddle, late afternoon on 19 June. This eye-catching sight is at Mooney Hollow, Iowa, on US 52 along the Mississippi River north of Davenport. According to the legend near the base, not legible in this photo, it was painted by Glen Ehlinger in June 1982. An internet search turned up only one resource, a travel log by Ted and Colleen, a couple who were biking around the country in 2003. This link covers a whole month of their travels. Scroll down to 6 July to see their brief report on the fiddle.

After leaving Mooney Hollow, Char paid a brief visit to Doris Erickson and her daughters in Springfield, IL, then arrived home late in the afternoon of 20 June. Her trip odometer now read 6941 miles. She enjoyed the trip immensely and was glad she had decided to drive. I was glad to see her home safely!