Friday, July 29, 2005

Phoenix, Santa Barbara, Back, and Beyond!

Howdy from Texas! Well, actually, we’ll be in Texas when I am able to access the internet and post this, but right now we’re driving through Arizona and I’m in the back seat of Josh’s Suburban typing on Jonathan’s new lap top. Yes, once again Jonathan has a new lap top. While at our hotel last weekend, Jonathan went online and found a laptop for sale in Phoenix. During the AFHE convention, he met up with the lady selling it and – once more – found a great deal! Um, yeah. A souvenier of sorts.

Speaking of the AFHE conference, I suppose I should take a few lines to fill you in on that. It was a great conference and it was good to meet up with some old and new friends there, too. From a Resounding Voice perspective, sales were somewhat down compared to other conferences… until the last hour or two. Then, not only were sales up, but some of the equipment went down!! So there was a bit of a line there for a while, but everyone was really nice about it, for which we were thankful! We were grateful for the opportunity to serve the Arizona homeschool community at this conference. There were a lot of great people there that it was a pleasure to work with.

Sunday we dropped off the trailer at the home of a family in Phoenix, and then hit the road for Santa Barbara. After several hours of driving through the brown desolation along Route 10 in western Arizona, we neared our destination.

The next few days were spent enjoying the hospitality of Aunt Emily, Uncle Michael, and cousins Erica, Anna, and Daniel. Josh had to fly out Monday evening to head to Virginia so he only got in on a little of the fun, but during our stay we enjoyed strolling through town, visiting the beach, kayaking in the Pacific Ocean, driving and hiking in the mountains, boating on Lake Cachuma, stopping by the Nojoki Falls, walking along the wharf, and playing card games, sitting around chatting, and sharing tasty dinners together! It is a beautiful area and we had a great time with our California cousins!

Thursday morning, it was time to head back to Phoenix on the next leg of our journey which brings us towards Texas. We arrived back in Phoenix in time to share dinner with David & Valerie Monk and their family. The Monks are on the board of AFHE, the organization that sponsored the conference the last weekend and had graciously invited us to spend the night with them before heading on. We enjoyed lots of good conversation and were grateful for the opportunity to get to know them better.

This morning it was time to hit the road again. We picked up the trailer and are now on our way to El Paso, TX. Tomorrow we plan on visiting Carlsbad Caverns and then start on our way down to San Antonio, Texas! Josh will join us again in San Antonio, and right now he doesn’t have a cell service at his hotel, so we’re just hoping he’s okay!

But now, here's a more interesting report from our trip – pictures! We've taken over 700 pictures so far, so this is really a very conservative selection...

Blogging en route!

Lake Cachuma

Hiking among castle ruins before Lake Cachuma

The Boys

Picnic on the lake

Lake Cachuma

Uncle Michael at the helm

Uncle Michael shows Josiah the ropes

An out house boat?

Captain Joseph


Nojoki Falls

Santa Barbara

With Aunt Emily

Santa Barbara

Aunt Emily and Daniel on the wharf

Jonathan with Ben Franklin... in Santa Barbara

Uncle Michael launches Josiah...


The beach

Launching the kayaks

Dinner in the backyard

Working at the AFHE Convention

At the Grand Canyon

The family!



On the Road!

Now we can say we've been there... although we didn't purchase anything! :-)

In Tucumcari, NM with our friend at Howard Johnson...

Trying to get a connection...

Experimenting with the binoculars near the Grand Canyon



"Mountains" in southern Arizona

Saturday, July 23, 2005


Hi Everyone!

Just thought I'd take a quick minute to let you all know that we are safe and sound in Phoenix. One day of the AFHE conference down, one to go! So far the conference side of things have gone just great... other than that they have the sound from all the rooms fed into one room so we can have all our equipment together. Great, right? Well, yesterday they locked us out of the room! Thankfully the guys had gone over a few minutes before the session started and were able to get in and everything going within a couple minutes of the start of the session.

We'll post a bunch of pictures when we get home or later on this trip as I've got to sign off soon and head over to the conference center, but here are a few quick highlights.

Sunday and Monday driving went great. Monday night we stayed at the "legendary" Howard Johnson in Tucumcari. As usual, the proprietor recognized us as we pulled up and had the papers all ready for Josh to sign us into the same rooms as always when he went inside. As Josh checked in, he ducked back into the office behind the counter and said, "Oh, you left a shirt, tie and pair of pants last time you were here. I knew you'd be back..." Sure enough, there was Jonathan's long-lost shirt, slacks, and bow-tie. He had saved it since we had stopped by on our way home from Albuquerque this past April! We all got a good laugh out of that!

Tuesday morning Josiah woke up with a fever. Thankfully, he didn't get any other symptoms, and no one else picked up his fever.

Wednesday morning Josiah still had a mild fever, but we all went over to the Grand Canyon to hike anyway. Just after we pulled into Grand Canyon National Park guess what we saw? A deer jump out in the road in front of us! We just can't get away from them. Jeanine - we didn't quite make it down to those spots with the good acoustics. It was so hot and with Josiah still getting over his fever and Mom wearing a knee brace to start with... Well, we didn't make it quite as far down into the canyon.

Thursday we drove down to Phoenix - deciding reluctantly to bypass the scenic route through Sedona and stick to the highways. They were bad enough. The temperature was 90+ degrees and rising as we drove up out of the Verde Valley. Of course pulling the trailer up an incline like that was a bit much for Josh's Suburban and we were only going about 20 miles an hour by the time we got to the top, and we had the windows down and the heat on... Nothing like it!

Phoenix. I wouldn't have guessed it, but so far Phoenix has the most residue of the Wild West than any other area I've ever driven through. New Mexico has the scenery of the old cowboy movies, but Phoenix... Well, as we entered town we passed road signs for "Horsethief Valley," "Bloody Basin," "Deadman's Wash," "Pioneer Road," "Carefree Highway," and the likes! No, they were not commercialized areas, and Phoenix does not have a "wild west" motif. It's just honestly what the roads and washes, etc. were called! :-)

Well, we've got to sign off here and head over to the Civic Plaza for another day of convention work! Adios!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Go West, Young Man...

...and bring your family with you, then fly to the east while they're still driving in the west, and then meet them back in the west...

Yes, friends, we are hitting the road once again. This time the whole family (all 8 of us) will be going, and going, and going. We leave tomorrow, July 17, and won't be back home until the second week of August. During that time you can contact us via our cell phones - if you have the number! We'll also try to check our email a few times along the way. :-)

I'm sure we'll post pictures and reports along the way, but here's our itinerary:

July 17th, afternoon. Leave. (That'll be the hardest part)
July 18-19: Drive!
July 20: Grand Canyon
July 21-23: AFHE Convention in Phoenix, AZ
July 24-28: Drive to and visit Mom's sister, Aunt Emily, and family in Santa Barbara, California
July 28/29: Drive back through Phoenix, stay with friends and drive on.
July 30: Carlsbad Caverns
July 31-August 4: Drive to and visit friends in San Antonio, TX
August 4-6: NTHEN Conference in Dallas, TX
August 7-?: Drive home!

In addition to what's above, shortly after arriving in Santa Barbara, Joshua will be flying out to Virginia to record the Witherspoon School of Law & Public Policy and then he'll fly back and meet us down in San Antonio.

As always, this schedule is subject to change, only we're praying it isn't due to any vehicle/animal accidents this time! :-)

Got to go pack! See you on the road...

Monday, July 11, 2005

Happy Anniversary!

Happy anniversary, Jeremy & Sara!
July 11, 2003

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Wild Blue Yonder

Check out Jonathan's Blog for an explanation of these pictures!

This is our house from above. We are the gray house in the trees just to the right of the pool.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Random Photo of the Random Moment Has Moved HERE!

Church Picnic!

What wealth there is to be found in family and friends! And what joy is found in celebrating and remembering God's gifts with them.

Friday night celebrated the 25th wedding anniversary of Paul & Kathy Knottnerus. We've known the Knottneruses for... 15ish years?

Saturday we spent in preparation for and anticipation of more celebrations. :-) Cooking, cleaning, game preparations, etc. were the call of the day.

Sunday, July 3rd... ah, what a wonderful day that was! Following our church service in the morning, we headed over to Milky Way Park in Harvard with our church family. We celebrated the blessings of liberty, independence and the Christian heritage of America, as well as the 7th anniversary of the day that our family sat around the living room with the Huber family for the first time... which meeting led to the forming of our church.

Food, fun, and lots of talking were the schedule for the afternoon! And, in spite of a strong, steady wind, and some scattered storms, we had a great time together.

One of many relays, the classic three-legged race.

Another picnic classic - the Egg Toss! Yes, they were real raw eggs.

The Egg Toss winners: Mr. & Mrs. Webb!

Dustin & Aaron won the water balloon toss - they had come in second on the egg toss.

The guys lined up rather eagerly for the whipped cream "pie" eating contest!

The fastest: Aaron, Josh, Sebastian...

The messiest: Joseph, Ryan, Seth, Ethan, Josiah

Tug o' War. Dad's win.

Boys win.

Post "war" boys.

Post "war" dads.

Not to be left out... the little kids tug!

And then it was time for baseball - though the rather extreme wind swayed the vote over to softball (12-inch) instead.

Oh, yes. And there was the treasure hunt that ended at the cooler of ice cream sandwiches! Yum, yum!

Relays, tug-of-war, baseball... all were beyond the abilities of a few of our younger church members who spent the time stealing each other's pacifiers, playing with "guns" and generally getting better acquainted with each other.