Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Midwest Geneaology Center

Despite our scary evening, in the morning we decided to go to Independence, Mo and visit the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and to check out the Midwest Genealogy Center. The weather was still gray but no storms predicted.


The Truman Library and Museum is a beautiful and imposing building made of Missouri stone. There is a modest fee – well worth the investment. 

The Museum highlights Harry’s young life, meeting Bess and his various careers, his political career and Presidency. There are good displays showing how the country changed over Truman’s Presidencies. Our President was a farmer, he was well acquainted with hard work – which made him a fine (if misunderstood) president. 

We all remember that President Truman ordered the atom bombing of Japan on the prodding of his Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

Not everyone may remember that when Truman ordered General Douglas MacArthur out of Japan, Truman may have averted World War III – a hydrogen bomb fueled wars that could have had devastating environmental and human consequences. 

You see, MacArthur wanted to go to war with China because of their incursions in Korea – then all one country. China and the Soviet Union (who possessed the H-Bomb) had signed an alliance agreement, if one were attacked the other would spring to its side with a vengeance. When the Joint Chiefs and President told him “No”, he went to the Republican leadership (in a letter) and made his case for war. Worse, MacArthur fried to feel-out whether the Republicans would support a bid for Presidency, should he run. By that time though, the General’s Army had suffered terribly at the hands of the Chinese, so many lives had been lost that his popularity was at an all time low.  General MacArthur’s letter was read aloud to Congress. That was effectively the end of his career.

I had to wonder what might have been had China and the Soviet Union been defeated – nothing to say that would or wouldn’t have happened. How would world politics have been affected? How would our lives have been different?

The information and chronology on Truman is vast because Bess saved all the letters he wrote, Truman kept a daily diary and took extensive notes at any meetings and of course, a President’s administration keeps every jot and tittle. I liked his referral to the White House as the big white jail! He couldn’t wait for his last term to end. 

This site made our “Highly Recommended” list.

We ate our picnic at tables outside the Library and made our way over to the Midwest Genealogy Center, intending to check it out. We ended up spending the next two hours there! 

Barb: My Mother’s maiden name is Clark. My grandfather, a great lover of history, used to claim a relationship to either George Rogers Clark, a Revolutionary War hero or his brother William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery. Since we’d been checking out Lewis and Clark Trail sites along the way, the question again came up: Am I related to either of these illustrious Clark’s?

This genealogy library seemed to be a great place to investigate the claim. Long story short, after spending a total of about eight hours over 2 days on computer and database searches; looking at 1850 and 1860 census reports; archived deeds, wills and probate records; birth and death records; newspaper articles and checking every book about Clark found in their extensive collection, I can (alas Grandpa) say we are not related to either George Rogers or William Clark. 

I was able to trace back to my 3x great-Grandfather John E Clark born in Virginia in 1817. (Both of the other Clarks were born in Virginia as well.) Couldn’t easily get back any further working in that direction. So, I started looking at offspring of William and George Rogers. Dear Brother, Letters of William Clark to Johnathan Clark by James J Holmberg, 2002 was an invaluable source of footnoted information I could use to fluff out all the birth and death details. George never married and there is no record of any children. William had 2 wives and a total of 8 children; the first born in 1809 and the last in 1826. None of them were named John E, so mystery solved. I descend from a normal family of Clark who have no national claim to fame!   

Liz: Since I have an extensive genealogy file on my mother’s side, I delved further into my dad’s. By choosing to stay to the Wharton name – the male side – the time flew by with discoveries. I was able to find my grandfather’s parents, his father’s family and the next generation up. That’s five generations, including me. The place I got stuck was in Spotsylvania, VA (near Fredrecksburg) in 1812. I’ll have to visit churches and cemeteries on site to find more. At that time, census records were really only tax documents – how many white indentured & un-indentured males, how many of the same for females, how many slaves, how many cattle & horses and how much land. On the last census found, it listed my third great-grandfather’s estate with a net worth of 400 pounds – under the Crown, it was 1812 after all.

A fun, engaging and very productive time was had by all. 

At home I made smokey tempeh (the marinade is amazing), quinoa and salad. With no weather interruptions, we slept the night through sweetly.

Steamboat Arabia

2/27/2019 – Watkins Woolen Mill State Park, Kearney, MO

It’s Memorial Day. We spent a lazy morning doodling around with things. Barb worked on a solution to a crushed 12v plug problem. We cleaned house and explored the park some.  This afternoon we went to the Steamboat Arabia Museum. Highly Recommended! Steamboat Arabia

Really interesting story of how five guys and their families decided to go treasure hunting for a the Arabia in a cornfield in Kansas. They found the Arabia (with no outside funding or archeological help and no money for curators), dug down to her well preserved remains and brought to us her 200+ tons of cargo – most of it undamaged.

The Museum hosts the largest collection of frontier goods anywhere in the world. Not a gigantic scale museum and laid out by the discoverers in department store style displays (remember, no curators or archeologists involved?). The Museum has a very small lab, preservation techniques and more than 3/4 of the collection yet to preserve. 4000 pairs of boots and shoes for children, women and men in a variety of sizes, for instance, will take the next 10-15 years to process and preserve. 

We sniffed perfume that we well preserved in the anaerobic environment deep beneath Missouri River mud. One of the discoverers said (in the movie) he ate a pickle and it was as sweet and crisp as it was when it was shipped! I know I wouldn’t have done that but Susan would have. Anyone else want to volunteer? 

The museum was happy to provide a transcript of the talk the guide gave and closed captioning for the film. I haven’t mentioned how important those gifts are to me. I’m severely hard of hearing. Movies and some patterns of speech flummox me! 


This evening as we planned our visit to Independence, Mo, cooked and ate dinner, we were serenaded by the evensong of several thrush calling the day to end. Ethereal. 

Our etherial evening was interrupted by that screeching tone on our phones “TORNADO WARNING TAKE COVER IMMEDIATELY.” Having become ‘old hands’ at this tornado stuff, I grabbed my pill case, Barb grabbed our important paper clutch we slid into our ruby slippers and drove to the bathroom.

No rain, rumbles, sky gray zip to dark, lightening, deluge.  Every 15 min, I peeped out the door (no water, 1/2″ water, 4″ water…) and within 45 min, there was only a drizzle and the sky had gone back to gray. Okaaaaaaay.

Luckily the Memorial Day crowd (over 300 people) was gone. There were 12 of us in our shelter (B & I had our own shower room, lol). Our camp hosts were troubled, 300 people crowding the two bath buildings?

At least the night was peaceful. Rainy but no more squealing phones.Tornado 2:27:19 1.JPG

Next day the camp host reported that a tornado had touched down 1.5 miles (road, not crow flies) away from where we were sitting.

If nothing else, Barb and I are intrepid.


Westerly to KC

2/26/19 – I-70, IL13, IL10 and devolving roads from there to Watkins Woolen Mill State Park

Yup, we’re on the way to Kansas – even though we needed Ruby Slippers back in Cahokia, IL. We still have those slippers with us – just in case.

This morning we got up early and walked the cats, a misnomer really, they walk us. Walked around the site and ate breakfast (my home made granola) and hit the road. Tonight we camp at Watkins Woolen Mill State Park for our last nights in Missouri. Watkins Woolen Mill State Park and Historic Site.

We’re members of Harvest Hosts – a group of vintners, brewers, lavender growers, cattle and horse ranchers, goat farmers… well you get the idea. It’s a membership thing we paid to try. When the water issue was happening we tried to book a stay at Arcadian Moon Winery & Brewery near the exit for State Hwy 13. It didn’t work out. We happened to be passing Arcadian and planned to go north on 13… so, we had to stop. Harvest Hosts

The property is very pretty, the wines are sweet and the ‘dry’ wines are off dry or under-sweet and not dry. But the flavors were there and they are a brewery. Barb tried the Nickel Down, an Irish red beer. I tried Ginger Beer. Both had their merits. The beer was a nice light red style. The Ginger Beer was all about ginger and not about sugar. I wished I hadn’t left the growler at home! 

We ate some of a terrible GF Margharita Pizza (uncooked bottom of pre-made crust) and sent off some Marco Polos. The owner comped the pizza, a fair thing to have done. We’re on our way again.

I often write while Barb drives and vice versa. No sense using up exploring time or staying up late when the road is fairly boring. However, I’m reminded of my SHIFT, discussed earlier. Definitely when writing, I’m transported in time, backwards and out of the moment. 

This blog writing thing is a struggle – to both experience explorations fully and to try to share those with you. Still working on it… if you have comments I’d love to hear them at TwoGalsGo@gmail.com. Perhaps another intrepid blogger has words of wisdom?

Lewis & Clark + Cahokia Mounds

2/24/2019 IL.

Camp Dubois, ILL & C 5

Yesterday afternoon, after trying to solve the no-water-problem, we made the necessary calls, stowed the power cord and drove a short distance down the road in East St. Louis to the Casino Queen RV Park. 

Interestingly, we learned about this option from the bartender, post-Arch, at Morgan Street Brewery while sampling a brew. Well, not sampling, not technically.

This park is not our favorite type (densely packed, mostly asphalt and white rocks with small trees interspersed between slots for RVs), but it’s dry and not contaminated. And it’s just a short hop over the Eads Bridge into St. Louis.

It was a lazy morning, walking Rudy and Dash (brush, brush, brush) and doing some work on the RV. Barb got the box out for Adventure Caravans Catalogs to go on the front of the rig and I wrote and planned the coming days. 

Our explorations today are in Illinois. We’re off to visit Camp Dubois – the launching point for Lewis and Clark’s expedition.

Camp Dubois Interpretive Center is pretty unassuming from the parking lot. Later the  realization dawns that acres and acres of trees were cut down to build the Fort, smoke meat and build the flatboat. The portion of the site that we see now is minuscule compared to the camp at the time. Their website shows and tells much:


This site is enough of a destination we recommend building a trip around it and other Prehistoric Earthworks of the Mississippi Valley. Make this a major stop because the museum is terrific! Craftsmen built the fullsizeoutput_1303flatboat cutaway while builders put up the museum around and over it – in fact, over the full mast and sail of the flatboatL & C 2


One of the reasons Pres. Jefferson ordered The Corps of Discovery to make the expedition.

Lewis & Clark 1

 Captain Lewis had to learn apothecary and doctoring, surveying and map making, flora and fauna and celestial navigation. He and Captain Clark had to carefully choose the men to accompany them for the skills they brought.

One of the men who worked as hard and was as respected as any other was York, Clark’s slave. After their return York asked for his freedom and Clark said no. It was another ten years before York was granted freedom and could return to his wife and children.

They built a fort replica in around 2007.


The falling down Fort Dubois Replica

Our guide said the builders forgot to strip the bark off the logs, the bark guided water and bugs into the wood and today the fort is a wreck of its former self. There is a good replica of a settler’s cabin, though. L & C 6

The family who would have lived there were said to have had 11 children (you know how fullsizeoutput_1306historians like to put stories to replicas).



With that number of bodies I bet they never needed blankets in the loft.



No surprise here…

For most of the expedition game and fish were plentiful but while at the Mandan Village, Fort Mandan, when wintering over food sources got thin for the explorers. Their climb through the Sierra’s also presented them with terrible hardship and they were reduced to eating their horses and trading for dogs to eat. The one food source that sustained them and kept food interesting through the whole journey was a version of today’s MRE (Meals Ready to Eat) or hiker foods. Portable Soup

There were several recipes for this gloop. Sailors and explorers had been using the stuff for a century or so. Lewis purchased 193 pounds from a Philadelphia cook named François Baillet. Check out this National Geographic Article about the history of Portable Soup, amazingly it has a mention of The Great Dismal Swamp, one of our previous destinations:


From Camp Dubois we journeyed a few miles to go back in time. Cahokia Mounds UNESCO World Heritage Site took us to AD 700 through AD 1200.

We thought Poverty Point UNESCO site was impressive in it’s size and generations of builders who kept the vision of the final creation alive…  Holy catz! Cahokia Mounds State Park (etc.) is mind-boggling!Cahhokia 6

The site was once so vast everywhere the eye passed there were houses and as many as 20,000 people! The height of the tallest mound (156 steps – we counted) is flat on top. The view would have allowed the Sun God or Chief to see anything coming for miles.


Please, watch the movie and check out the picture gallery, click “Like” anywhere you can, if you do. It helps other people find this site.

L & C 7

Bronze bas relief entry doors.

Late Woodland Indians formed the first settlements at Cahokia around 700 AD. From 1000 AD forward the Mississippian culture began. These folks farmed and lived in permanent houses. Because they farmed villages were able to support more people and the communities began growing. After 1050 AD, Cahokia had become a huge regional center. The site’s growth peaked from AD 1050 to 1200. The population by that time was 20,000 people and the site sprawled over 6 square miles – the largest community north of Mexico.L & C 3

Cahokia mound model 5:24:19

The complex was sorted around Monks Mound, the “largest pre-historic earthen construction in the Americas, containing an estimated 22 million cubic feet of earth. The base covers more than 14 acres, and it rises a total height of 100 feet.” Monks mound was named after Trappist monks who appropriated a nearby mound for their home from 1809 – 1813 (Lewis & Clark’s expedition launched in 1804).Baskets of dirt Cahokia 5:24:19


The Interpretive Center is one of the most comprehensive, well laid out, did I say comprehensive? It seems much larger than it is (and it is big!) through the use of displays that hide others, paths that lead to dioramas, tri-cornered displays and a small village encased in glass through which you can walk. We both felt it was one of the best we’d ever encountered, right up there with the Musical Instrument Museum in Scottsdale, AZ and it’s cousin in Brussels.Cahokia 4cahokia-2.jpg

After spending a couple of hours in the Center, we walked paths and took the (156, I’m sure I mentioned this before) stairs to the top of Monks Mound. Breezy, warm day with light and shadow cast by the mounds and by the poles in Woodhenge and the Stockade (examples).

Cahokia 3

Ancient Canoe.

Again, I felt infused with calm and this time, with hope. Hope that we in the US will come together in community, just as did the folk at Monumental Mounds Poverty Point State Park (UNESCO-WHC) and those at Cahokia Mounds SP (UNESCO-WHC) who united over the years to live in peace and build greatness.

By the by… Our family and friends contribute immensely to this blog. You all provide perspective and support. Thank you, Thayer for your Ruby Slippers texts during the Tornado Warning experience, we’ll use that! Susan sent us to her elementary school, on the way to Grant’s Farm and we got to look at the area where she lived for her first 11 years. Her brother still lives in STL and Susan told us about the area around Tower Grove Park, how it declined and is still being gentrified. It’s important to acknowledge our fellow travelers. We’ll share our visits and some remarkable things you all lead us to as we go along.

Stormy Weather

2/24/2019 – Still in Cahokia and going to STL today.

Well, did we ever wake up to a surprise! The storm left our RV an island in four-plus inches of water! Luckily Barb bought some rain boots before we left! Yowzers. About half the park is under water. This means that sewer… yup, underwater.

Barb quickly unhooked our water & put away the sewer hose. Then we made arrangements with the park to move the RV to higher ground. However…

The water lines in the park have been compromised, the water’s contaminated. So. We have 1/3 tank of water. We were planning to add water before we left.

Problem is… we leave the park on Saturday. We have a spot near Kansas City for Sunday & Monday but planned to stay in Jefferson City, Mo. Saturday night. However… Jefferson City got blasted by a tornado the night we hid in the storm shelter here so that option got blown up. 

UGH. We’re both working on finding a place to get water. Operational plan right now is to call the local police & fire departments to see if we can cozy up to one of their spigots. If that doesn’t pan out, we’ll call a church or two. Errg. No go so far…

Cahokia RV Parque allowed us to move to higher ground which made it easier to get in & out of the RV at least. We decided to economize on water.

However… the day was another action packed one in STL. We did the ARCH! And the museum beneath that awesome span (okay, I know that was trite and a cliche). For Barb, the best of the experience was the sun coming out and illuminating the arch in shining stainless steel glory. For me, it was the movie showing the men who actually constructed the arch and each part of construction. 

The Gateway to the West is as wide as she is tall. The tram to the top beckoned: https://www.gatewayarch.com/experience/  

Then we saw the movie about building the arch, then toured the museum: https://www.gatewayarch.com/experience/#museum

There has been so much rain, the beautiful riverwalk is under water. The riverboats don’t have passengers because there is no access – that’s under water. It’s pretty crazy.

A crazy thing happened as we were strolling under the railroad bridge, down the cobblestone street. We discovered a van wedged under the 8′ ceiling of the bridge. We set about letting air out of the tires as a gaggle of kids on field trip from Tennessee worried and joggled around the bus. Several guys showed up and took over so we skedaddled off to Morgan’s Brewery for a beer after all that hard work.


St. Louis

St. Louis

2/23/19, St. Louis, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri


St. Louis (STL) reminds me of Portland, Or (PDX, lol).  With many the bridges over the Mississippi River from East St. Louis, Illinois to the huge and sprawling mass of St. Louis Missouri on the other side. 

We stayed at Cahokia RV Parque, it’s across the river from STL and is so convenient. Lots of folks seem to live there, working folks with kids and retirees. There’s a restaurant adjacent to the park (they have decent BBQ). It’s not in terrible shape – the pedestal was wired correctly, the water system was PVC.

First night at Cahokia RV Parque, we got to run from our RV into the park tornado shelter when sirens went off all around the town (party atmosphere prevailed). It was an experience to hang out with parque folks for an hour in a bathroom. It was pretty tense for those with small children. The shelter was filled with people, kids and dogs and I had a moment. Our cats wouldn’t tolerate the dogs and tension but we felt terrible leaving them. Boy, did it thunder! Water poured from the sky and flash-bulb-lightening lit everything up!


We went over one of the bridges yesterday to make our start time at Grant’s Farm. Barb had arranged a ‘Meet the Clydsdales’ tour at the Budweiser/Busch training and retirement facility.IMG_1694


Barb & working gear.IMG_1696




Jack. He’s going off to do family photos for a couple of hours… he’s semi-retired.





From a couple of yearlings to Ace, who at 13 has been retired for 3 years we met ten horses.

Ace works 4 photo shoots a day, 3 days a week to earn his keep. BTW Ace only weighs in at about 2100 pounds. Ace, working hard:IMG_5262











Ace’s foot – My foot:IMG_5251

The horses train for the first five years of their lives before they’re put in a Hitch. A hitch is the whole Magilla – 6 or 8 horse teams pulling the Budweiser wagon with two guys and a Dalmation. 

Training starts when they’re 4 months old they learn the halter and gradually they learn to comewhen called, barn manners, to tolerate noise and crowds of people, how to go in the trailer & back into position and how to pull in harness. Each horse’s personality, coloring and temperament are carefully considered before they’re chosen for a hitch. Ever
y horse
learns to work in each position in the hitch.




These are Clydesdale working shoes…





This is Roger, he’s a three year old.


Hitches are regional – that way the horses don’t have to travel so far to show off at events. Travel! Boy do these guys (they’re all geldings) travel in style. Their trailer is a huge 58’ semi, six horses ride on rubber floors and are snug in stalls. It costs $74,000 to fire the tractor up and pull the horses anywhere. IMG_5264 Trucks travel in caravans of three with a nine passenger van for handlers following. They stop every 150 miles sothe horses can relax from the noise and vibration. Trailers are not heated or cooled – it’s better for the horses to acclimate as they travel than to be pampered on route and struggle when they land.

IMG_1710You can tell that I was enamored of the whole experience. B and I are still talking about how much we learned and enjoyed loving on the huge animals – did I say that a newborn foal weighs more than I do? Yup – they’re big. 

I stand about 16 hands, adult Clydesdales stand 19  hands to pull the hitch.






That wasn’t it for the day! We went to lunch at The Corner Bar and Grille – salads “to die for”. Then hustled off to the local Frank Lloyd Wright (FLW) house – the Kraus House.  https://ebsworthpark.org/

Barb and I hunt for FLW houses on our routes and have enjoyed each one we’ve visited. There are a number of recurring themes in the houses we’vetoured – the idea of compression and expansion, angles, wood finishes, fibers, furniture and colors. Recurring themes but each house is completely unique.

Wright brings you into spaces through narrow passages that have relatively low ceilings. You’re usually surrounded by local materials – stone, water, wood. Most of the houses we’ve visited are full of triangles, hard points and light sneaking in through large central skylights. Unfortunately, few of the organizations that own the houses allow photos indoors.

The Kraus house, build for Russel and Ruth Kraus, is built in/of two intersecting parallelograms. There are cantilevered roofs racing out to sharp points over similarly pointy patios. Even grapevines planted behind the house, up the hill into which the house is nestled, refer back to the parallelograms of the house.

At 1900’ sf, the house has an expansive, high ceilinged living area, small angular bathrooms and the kitchen boomerangs around a dividing wall from the living area. This house is the epitome of Wright’s Usonian style. Usonian’s have abundant storage, utterly utilitarian rooms and, to me, economy of movement. Your eyes aren’t racing around, they glide around the sleek walls and shelves, over low furnishings and through lengths Wright’s leaded and colored glass doors that open to outdoor spaces that lift you into air and space (in one photo, I felt like I was sitting in space). 

We returned to the RV Parque for a restful evening and hopped into our loft. Boom! Crackle! Boom! Rumble… it went on all night! One of those times I’m okay with not being able to hear when my HAs are out – but even I was woken several times by the storm!

Vacation! On the Road

We left home on the 19th and chose (chose!) to drive what felt like 10 years, to Poverty Point Reservoir SP in LA. 

We have been going non-stop for 3 months. For example, we… cleaned out two storage units (property management stuff and some stored household stuff), put on a huge and organizationally complicated yard sale (which, without the help of our friends Sue and Marsh, Laurie, and Ray & Cindy, would have been impossible. Sue & Marsh really worked hard! We sure appreciated everyone’s help and the fun they brought to the sale), removed a cabinet & valences in the RV “living room,” built a cabinet and new valences and installed the lot. We hustled the whole time (with breaks to enjoy meals with friends, lol). By May 19th, we were both anxious to get on the road to get some rest!

While we were hustling, we got to see our doctors. I can’t believe my Nephrologist’s son is in high school, I started seeing Doug before he even got married! I got my Rx scripts changed to 90 day orders (yay!). Barb got tuned up by the chiropractor, the dentist and her doctor. We are cleared for take off!

Barb is the most steady, hard working and tolerant person – for 32 years she has managed, nudged and handled my moody, impulsive and non-linear self. I don’t know how I ended up so lucky!

Back to the choice we made to drive for ten years… Before we left, I got comfy seat cushions that lift our hips out of the valley in the el-huge-o captains chairs and new spine support “boards” to keep our shoulders from rolling forward in those self-same chairs.

And we used them for our first day out. This was a choice, mind. One we both intently regretted at about hour three, bemoaned by hour four and berated ourselves over by hour five. The instructions on the seat and support both say to use them for 30 days (or else!). Barb ditched the cushion right off and we figured out how to support the back support thingie for her. After the initial pain, the pair of supports work great for me.


We camped at Poverty Point Reservoir State Park. Nice park with plenty of space between sites. To get there, we drove through quite a rain storm. The park was WET.  We got in a nice walk and found a tree with these fungi hanging like little lanterns around it’s middle.

After hooking up the RV (A/C for the catz) and hopping in our toad, we set out to visit nearby Poverty Point Unesco World Heritage Site (PP).

Here’s the link to the park:http://www.povertypoint.us


Poverty Point was peopled from 1700 through 1100 BC. Yes, BC. That was the Archaic period. Before Paleo Indians. As did the folks who lived at Mesa Verde UNCESO World Heritage Site, the PP people disappeared from the site for no discernible reason to us modern day humans. 

Built on a geologic structure called the Macon Ridge, the mounds are tall structures. Built of what? Well, Macon Ridge doesn’t have any stone. The people carried a gazillion baskets or leather pouches of dirt from nearby areas to create the mounds – I am known to exaggerate, so please check the link I gave you. These peoples of the Archaic period scoured the ground clean before they laid the first baskets of soil down. They created thin layers of black, yellow and red soils as the foundation for each mound.


Poverty Point has no human remains. Folks lived there but did not bury their dead there. With no stone on Macon Ridge land, the stones found by archeologists were carried by people walking and in canoes from as much as 800 miles away.


I was astounded by the level of communication, united vision and community effort that must have driven people who lived miles and miles away from each other to create this place. It took the people 600 years to build the site – 25 generations. One unified vision to which people dedicated their lives. Reminded me of the united vision of the forefathers of the US… not that there aren’t huge challenges keeping the states and people in the US united now. 

One of the coolest things we saw were rock sculptures – most were under three inches tall – of women. I felt a charge of recognition and awe at these universal symbols of women’s power. 

The energy here strummed within me and I was left with a deep sense of calm. Barb left with questions, lots of them.

Thanks for reading along with us,


Perspective Shift

May, 2019.

It’s amazing what a perspective shift will do, isn’t it? Thing is… there I was in The Great Dismal Swamp, walking on a boardwalk, shooting photos and thinking about what I’d tell you… The next second, my eyes landed on a snake in a tree at my shoulder, about 10″ away. Kazam! I was out of my head and into that very moment. That second. That breath.

In the following days, as we continued down the road, I pondered the traveling perspective I occupied as writer of this blog. The realization that I’d been observing and cataloging rather than Being… hum, maybe that’s the wrong word… I’d not been completely present in and to the places and experiences I was sharing here. It gave me a disturbing sensation since I love writing, photography and sharing about our travels.

Much thought and conversation with other writers, artists and travelers later… I believe that with a perspective shift I can write about thoughts, travels and experiences and only if I breathe into and stay in the moment.

Style changes, timing changes… who knows what will emerge from the shift. In this case, SHIFT HAPPENS!

We spent some time at home. Had a huge yard sale… interestingly, the “tidying up” craze has changed the whole landscape of garage sales and thrift stores. Our sale was successful but we had lots of things left over. Habitat Restore couldn’t come pick up for several weeks – they were so booked up. Goodwill could come by in a week though.  Both businesses remarked that since the whole Tidying Up and Death Cleaning crazes (fads?) started they have been overwhelmed with folks’ stuff. Speaking of yard sales – we’ve spent hours on the yard and it is back to its former glory (I almost hate to leave it in its cloak of spring blooms) (not).

Somewhere in there, Barb and I decided to build a new cabinet to replace the useless 5″ deep magazine rack – cabinet across from the couch. After attempting to measure for it, we discovered we’d have to remove all the window valences around the cabinet to get accurate measurements.

Of course, we also had to remove the ones over the couch – so they would match.  The valences were tightly fit around HappiJacks that raise and lower the bed from the ceiling to sleeping height.  The cabinet fits between the valences. Upon closer inspection, we discovered the valences IMG_1560were terribly worn out. Backtracking to valence-landia.

If you RV, you know how overwrought some of the decorating inside can be… Ours was very colorful (dark greens, tans, blue and some pink in the upholstery fabrics). It seemed to shrink the sides inward – even though the windows are enormous. In the photo, you can see the jacks sandwiched between the valences.

Despite some misgivings about adding weight to the carriage of the Trek, we used 1/2″ Baltic Birch – a no gaps kind of plywood – with really pretty 5 layer edges. Barb made all the exposed edges soft half-rounds with the router. After sanding all the parts, we primed for staining and stained the wood with Simply White MinWax Stain. The soft glow of the wood comes through so the color is a soft tan shade of white.


As you can see above, everything has had to be custom cut and fit to each little area. It’s been a fiddly job. Luckily, Barb is super at building fine cabinetry and is, by nature, very detail oriented. I design and assist Barb with execution – tasks that fit for me.

Now that the project is finished, our RV seems so much wider, bigger and fresher. The cabinet parts are all ready for installation. Looks like we’ll have the project finished in the next few days.


New cabinet! And yes. That is a cat box cabinet to the left. The baskets are wire with woven webbing in two neutral colors. We got one set of three from Michaels and the others from Amazon.


We are delighted with how wide and open the RV seems. It’s really nice to look toward the front and not see the opening of the cat box! Can’t wait to see how the new storage baskets work out! We sure needed the space.

One of the things we’ll do when we eventually get to Arizona is get the RV weighed. We did reorganize the basement storage areas to remove unneeded items. With hope the added weight of the wood won’t make a huge difference.

Barb and I are both exhausted by the renovation, the yard, preparing the RV to go, packing – well, you know the drill. I need a vacation!

We’ll be on the road in the next few days, thankfully. Traveling to Montana and from there… well, I guess you’ll have to check back. We have a whole new focus to our RVing and I can’t wait to share it with you!

Breathe from your belly, and laugh from it too!