2018-trip-eastcoast Research Archives

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Day 38/39 – Tues/Wed June 5th/6th: Road Home – Epilogue

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<– Day 37 – Monday June 4th: Up and Over the RockiesOVERVIEW –>

Day 38 & 39: Day 38, Tuesday, was my birthday. We spent the day in Salt Lake City doing almost nothing. We spent some time in the park and I played some guitar. Later, we went out to dinner with my boys. On Wednesday, we drove home to Pasco. Naturally, we had a hiccup: Our Verizon hotspot died (it was pretty old), so we stopped at where our trip started, the Verizon Store in Twin Falls, Idaho. We made it back to Pasco at 4pm PST, very tired.

I want to thank EVERYONE who welcomed us into their homes, offered advice on where we should go, met us at the Reunion, gave us tours, shared their jeeps and stories, purchased our posters and t-shirts, gave us gifts, donated money, bought us or made us dinner, and interacted with us along the way. Without ALL of you, these trips that we make would be far less interesting and enjoyable. Seeing jeeps is fun, but meeting people and seeing new places are the best parts. So, thanks for allowing us to be a part of your worlds, even if briefly.

TRIP STATS: 9,751 miles through 24 states over 39 days. Below is a rough map of the trip.


That’s it for the 2018 East Coast Willys Reunion trip!

<– Day 37 – Monday June 4th: Up and Over the Rockies | No More Additional Posts

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Day 37 – Monday June 4th: Up and Over the Rockies

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<– Day 36 – Sunday June 3rd: Leaving The Plains | Day 38/39 – Tues/Wed June 5th/6th: Road Home – Epilogue –>


Lincoln looking down upon us at a rest stop along I-80.

Day 37: On Monday we drove from Denver, Colorado, to Salt Lake City, Utah, with a short stop in Cheyenne, Wyoming.


On Monday we drove from Denver to Salt Lake City.

We thanked our new-found cousin Gary and his wife Kathy for hosting us, then off we went to find a place they think serves the best Bagels in Denver, the Woodgrain Bagels. They didn’t have a very wide selection of bagels, but they had the proper chewiness. I enjoyed them (of course, Ann can’t eat them because of her gluten issues).


Along with a half-dozen bagels, I bought some poblano cream cheese. Oh boy, was that excellent!


Coincidently, the bagelry and numerous other nearby shops and houses are located at the old Lowry Air Force Base. Ann had spent time there (as did Bob Christy). Needless to say, Ann was shocked at the transformation of the base from one with endless goose excrement (she remembers having to march through goosepoop) into a place with a museum, restaurants, beer garden, high end shops, and storage facilities. It was quite disorienting.


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Day 36 – Sunday June 3rd: Leaving The Plains

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<– Day 35 – Saturday June 2nd: Following the Western Cattle Trail | Day 37 – Monday June 4th: Up and Over the Rockies –>


Buffalo Bill shooting a Buffalo sculpture at the Buffalo Bill Cultural Center in Oakley, Kansas.

Day 36: On Sunday we drove from Garden City, Kansas, to Denver, Colorado.


Sunday’s drive from Garden City, Kansas, to Denver, Colorado.

Our day began unexpectedly. While driving to get some coffee Ann noticed a guy in a 3rd story hotel window changing clothes with his back/butt to the window, and I mean almost pressing up against the window. The morning sun was shining right on the window, so he wasn’t hard to see. What happens in Garden City, stays in Garden City?

As we drove to our first destination, Monument Rocks, I learned I was in trouble. It turns out, Ann had a dream about me accepting a job to do a reality show with Trump and Kelly Ann Conway. Kelly and I had to pretend we were married. For some reason, Ann wasn’t happy about this arrangement. Thankfully, her short term memory is awful and, once I found some caffeine for her, she’d forgot all about it.

We had a problem as we drove north. Neither my iPhone nor our Jeep’s nav system was giving us the proper turnoff road for Monument Rocks. I’d mapped out several times on my computer, so I knew approximately where the turn off was (there are actually two of them, but the southern one doesn’t have any signs along the highway). Fortunatley, Ann tried her Android and it found the turn off just in time. (for those traveling from the south, turn right on Dakota, just across from the Keystone Gallery. Dakota becames 450, then Elk, then Gove E, then turn left — north — on Gove 16).

This photo shows the drive up Gove 16 from the south:


Here’s what we saw as we approached Monument Rocks:


The chalk formations are on private land and several signs ask visitors not to climb the cliffs. The early morning sun and blue skies made for some neat photos.

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Day 35 – Saturday June 2nd: Following the Western Cattle Trail

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<– Day 34 – Friday June 1st: The Route of Confusion | Day 36 – Sunday June 3rd: Leaving The Plains –>


Hanging out with a local in Dodge City. It seems I wore the right shirt today.

Day 35: We spent Saturday driving north from Clinton, Oklahoma, to Garden City, Kansas. Unbeknownst to us most of the day, we were roughly following (from Clinton to Dodge City) an old cow drive trail called the Great Western Cattle Trail. Our route:


On Saturday, we drove from Clinton, Oklahoma, to Garden City, Kansas.

Western Cattle Trail (and the other major trails):great-western-cattle-trail

We began the morning with one last Route 66 task: visit the Clinton Route 66 Museum. The outside of the building was cleverly done as a vintage-looking Route 66 motel:
2018-06-02-clinton-route66-museum01Inside the lobby, we found signs, a car, gas pumps, and other items.


To enter the museum portion, it costs $7. Once paid, visitors enter through a set of doors. Among the sights that greet visitors is this large map showing Route 66, along with some early history of road as it relates to Oklahoma. The museum claims that Oklahoma has more original road than any other state. That certainly seemed like a legitimate claim given the length of the road within Oklahoma..


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Day 34 – Friday June 1st: The Route of Confusion

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<– Day 33 – Thursday May 31st: Getting Our Kicks on Route 66 | Day 35 – Saturday June 2nd: Following the Western Cattle Trail –>


This Route 66 sign was just installed in El Reno a month ago.

Day 34: On Friday we drove from Clarmore, Oklahoma, to Clinton, Oklahoma.


On Friday we drove from Claremore, Oklahoma, to Clinton, Oklahoma. Multiple times we hopped on Route 66, but it proved elusive at times as well.

We started out Friday hunting down the Will Rogers statue in downtown Claremore. It didn’t take long to find it. Having read two biographies about Will, one thing I learned is that he was an early day blogger, always traveling with a laptop typewriter and writing when he had a spare moment. I can relate. So, I thought I’d show him how we do a selfie. He was a natural.


In fact, between our glasses and the hardware in our laps, you can barely tell us apart … (Hint: I’m the one with the ball cap). I could tell right away he liked me. After all, he never met a man he didn’t like, or so he said once.


Thanks to Derek Redmond for sneaking up behind me and taking the photo of me.

Our next stop was the Will Rogers Memorial Museum, which is also in Claremore. On our way, we passed this mural. Below I show two of the three panes (the third has been hidden by a tree).


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Day 33 – Thursday May 31st: Getting Our Kicks on Route 66

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

<– Day 32 – Wednesday May 30th: Little Town, Big Ideas | Day 34 – Friday June 1st: The Route of Confusion –>


This section of Route 66 between Miami and Afton, Oklahoma, is the last surviving section from 1922, though this probably is better put: the last surviving easily accessible section. It’s 9ft wide and bordered by cement curbs (though the curbs are even with the road.

Day 33: On Thursday we drove from Ellisville, Missouri, to Claremont, Oklahoma.


Our drive from Ellisville, Missouri, to Claremore, Oklahoma, part of which we did on Route 66.

Late Wednesday night, we repacked our jeep, as Ann and Jim had done a deal for some sewing items. A big thanks to Jim and Tracy helping my wife forget all about our day-1 trials (and for dinner).  Thanks also to Jim for the tour around west St. Louis and along the world’s longest strip mall. Whether it’s true or not, I can attest it is long. I was also impressed with the variety of local restaurants and grocery stores. For example, Lion’s Choice, which I test on Thursday afternoon, served a much higher level of roast beef on a hoagie bun. Even better, they offer a gluten free bun with roasted turkey, perfect for my celiac and beef-protein sensitive wife. We hope to return to St. Louis and explore that city in the future.

On Thursday morning, we continue our journey west, following Jim out to Craig “Mr. TheFcConnection“‘s place. It turns out his home is the kind of place that would make Daniel Boone happy, deep in the country. First, it was out a country highway, then we ventured down a long gravel road. Next, we had to cross the kind of cement bridge that might make a city dweller nervous.


Finally, we had to climb a long, steep driveway that only jeepers could love. It was at the top of said driveway that Craig had prepared a welcome of his own for us.



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Day 32 – Wednesday May 30th: Little Town, Big Ideas

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<– Day 31 – Tues. May 29th: Nous aurons toujours Paris | Day 33 – Thursday May 31st: Getting Our Kicks on Route 66 –>


Jim’s showing Ann the finer points of using the emboidering functions on this sewing machine we bought from him. He’s renaissance man of many talents!

Day 32: On Wednesday, we drove from Paris, Illinois, to Ellisville, Missouri.


We pulled out of the Ogle’s lovely Country Bed and Breakfast by following some picturesque back roads. This one was particularly pretty.


Our first stop of the day was the little town of Casey. To get there, we traveled down I-70. Normally, we’d have likely bypassed a town like Casey unless it offered something unusual. The residents of Casey understood this, so in December of 2011, to help draw in some traffic, the world’s largest Wind Chimes were installed near the town’s center.

As word about the chimes leaked, travelers began venturing off I-70 to investigate them. Realizing the potential of having big things, more items began to appear in Casey. According to one woman I met, the influx of visitors ramped up quickly, bringing in unexpected cash and visibility.

Now, the town has multiple “largest” items, along with some other goofy items. Participating businesses offer a checklist for visitors so they can be sure not to miss them. The town’s website touts its “Big Things in a Small Town“.


Signs direct visitors:


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Day 31 – Tuesday May 29th: Nous Aurons Toujours Paris

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<– Day 30 – Monday May 28th: Grilling in the Rain | Day 32 – Wednesday May 30th: Little Town, Big Ideas –>


David, Russ and Ann in front of Russ’ “Alaska Or Rust Shrine”. Russ lives in Paris, Illinois. The Post title is a French translation of the famous line from Casablanca, “We’ll always have Paris.”

Day 31: On Tuesday we drove from Charleston, West Virginia, to Paris Illinois.


On Tuesday May 29th, we drove from Charleston, West Virginia, to Paris Illinois.

On Tuesday, we started from Charleston early, as we had a long drive to Paris. Our first stop of the day was Huntington, West Virginia, for gas. It turns out the city is considered by some to be an epicenter for opioid addiction. We saw this firsthand.

In Huntington, we randomly chose a Speedy Mini-Mart just off the freeway. As I gassed up the jeep, Ann went inside for a bathroom break. Of the 10 people I saw either milling about outside at the edge of the station’s property or having parked and walked inside, 6 looked addicted to something (funky skin color, haunting eyes … something wasn’t right). Inside the Mini-Mart, The conversation between a customer and the cashier included the difficulties of coming down too fast. We couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

A couple hours later, we headed into the heart of Louisville from the east, then turned north to cross the river into Indiana. This sent our nav system into a panic, partly because, according to our nav, we were not longer on a bridge. Instead, we were driving on the river itself. The nav system restarted navigation several times trying to make sense of the situation. It took a couple miles before everything righted itself.

Sometime later, while still heading north, we spotted a sign for Goat Milk Stuff. The billboards looked intriguing enough to learn more, so we took a short detour.


There are two buildings, one for goat-based health and beauty products, and the other for goat-milk related products and sweets.


The place wasn’t packed with foods, but what was there tasted good. As goat cheese goes, it wasn’t very “goaty”. Instead, the cheese was smooth and tasty. The store offered free samples. We left with garlic goat cheese.goat-milk-stuff1

Bob Christy, this is for Mindy, for you 🙂goat-milk-stuff2

With our goat needs satisfied, we left for Paris Machine, a business started in 1944 by Russ Lawton’s grandfather. Russ, along with Cowboy, accompanied us on the trip to Alaska last year with Charlene, the yellow Jeepster.

To make sure Ann and I didn’t miss his shop, Russ put out a couple beacons near the entrance.


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Day 30 – Monday May 28th: Grilling in the Rain

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<– Day 29 – Sun. May 27th: The Exley House Curse | Day 31 – Tuesday May 29th: Nous aurons toujours Paris –>


Me, my cousin, and Ann.

Day 30: Monday we drove from Chester, Virginia, to Charleston, West Virginia.


On Monday May 28th we drove from Chester, Virginia, to Christiansburg, VA, then on to Charleston, West Virginia.

We said good by to my cousin today, but not until we’d done a few more chores around the house. We didn’t finish everything, so I guess we’ll just have to return soon!?!


About the time we were going to leave, the heavens opened, unleashing a torrent of rain upon our heads. Using umbrellas and a shuttle system, we managed to keep most of the stuff dry. I’m not sure how I ended up carrying the one small bag, while she had my backpack and my guitar, but she’s Army tough. So, you need not worry!



All packed, we began our drive toward Christiansburg, where we planned to meet with Chris. After our onboard Navigation failed us, Chris rescued us via the phone … side note: It’s a mystery to me how driverless cars will ever be expected to successfully navigate our world 100% of the time. I can’t tell you the number of times Ann and I have had multiple nav systems going, yet still managed to navigate places incorrectly because of GPS/Road/Nav flaws.


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Day 29 – Sunday May 27th: The Exley House Curse

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<– Day 27 & Day 28 – Fri/Sat May 25th/26th: What is Happening? | Day 30 – Monday May 28th: Grilling in the Rain –>


Repalring the hall light.

Day 29: We spent much of the Sunday working on my cousin’s house near Richmond, Virginia. She bought it a year ago and has discovered it is a little more of a fixer-upper than she’d planned. The more time she’s spent there, the more she’s found odd things. She blames it on the previous family, calling it the Exley house. Why doesn’t something work right? That’s because it’s the Exley house.


Me explaining that there are two kinds of shower heads, Speakman heads and all others. She had a Speakman and didn’t realize how good it was (IMHO). In fact, it’s the biggest one I’ve seen, having 8 water jets.

I felt like we ran into the Exley curse when repairing her downstairs toilet. The toilet had a flap that wouldn’t seal. What should have been a 30 minute job, something I’ve fixed in other places, took multiple attempts over two days. I don’t have time to write up all the sordid details, but after the fifth time of removing the tank, I took everything apart and rebuilt it one more time. That finally did the trick.


The list of to-dos … we won’t finish them all, but we made a good dent.

Needing a break from the craziness, we went for a short walk at Marymont Park, then drove to Petersburg to eat some lunch and then see the Trapezium house, which is odd. Learn more in the video below.

On Monday, We’ll be heading for Huntington, WV; Tuesday will take us to Paris, Illinois; and Wednesday will bring us to St. Louis.

<– Day 27 & Day 28 – Fri/Sat May 25th/26th: What is Happening? | Day 30 – Monday May 28th: Grilling in the Rain –>

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Day 27 & Day 28 – Fri/Sat May 25th/26th: What is Happening?

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<– Day 26 – Thursday May 24th: Architecture & Organs | Day 29 – Sunday May 27th: The Exley House Curse –>


On Friday we drove from Philadelphia to Chester, Virginia.

Day 27 & 28: On Friday we drove from Philadelphia to Chester, Virginia. I made a major miscalculation with this decision, as half of Philadelphia decided to head to the beaches early for the Memorial Day Weekend, so the 5 hour drive I expected took 9 hours.

We saw a few interesting things, but mostly it was a long drive in traffic. The drive on the Chesapeake bridge-tunnel was pretty neat. And, I thought that would be the most interesting thing we’d see.

But, no, it wasn’t.

As we drove north on I-64 through Virginia, about where Yorktown is, I was going 70mph in a 60mph, just keeping up with traffic, when this car roared up in the lane to my right, traveling about 85-90. Then, two other cars pulled up behind them. Finally, a noisy (muffler leak?) early black Chevy Yukon(?) appeared to our right in the slow lane, passing us and running at about a 2 O’clock angle to us, several car lengths ahead of us.

Suddenly, the rear driver’s side wheel started smoking. Then bits of tire started shooting across the highway. I slowed, not knowing what would happen. Then the tire exploded (no way he didn’t hear and/or feel it), flying across the middle lane and into our lane. The Toyota truck ahead of us didn’t have a chance and ran over the tire roughly.

I’d slowed enough to dodge the tire, but I wasn’t so much watching the tire as I was the driver, because he wasn’t slowing down. He was still driving about 55mph without the tire, bits of tire still flying off his rear rim. And, he didn’t seem to care that the tire was gone.

The Toyota truck that had hit the tire moved from the fast lane to the middle lane to either (1) complain or (2) notify the driver that he was missing the tire. Apparently, the driver didn’t care, as he never slowed down.

Seeing my chance, with a wide-open fast lane, I floored the jeep and created a large amount of distance between me and the Yukon.

Ann suspected the guy may have stolen the Yukon and didn’t want to stop driving. I don’t know why he wouldn’t stop, but it was one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen.

So, we landed late in Chester at my cousin’s house. We spent Saturday helping her fix some things around the house. Other than that, we’ve been working on my cousin’s house in Virginia. That’s a nice change of pace.

<– Day 26 – Thursday May 24th: Architecture & Organs | Day 29 – Sunday May 27th: The Exley House Curse –>

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Day 26 – Thursday May 24th: Architecture & Organs

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<– Day 25 – Wed. May 23rd: Steel, Strings & Sellersville | Day 27 & Day 28 – Fri/Sat May 25th/26th: What is Happening? –>


Wurlitzer Pipe Organ at the Macy’s in downtown Philadelphia. Ron scored us a visit to see it and the Wanamaker Organ. I don’t know how these things happen to us …

Day 26: We spent Thursday guided around Philadelphia by my cousin Ron Emrich. Having worked in building preservation for most of his life, he is well acquainted with the city’s architecture. We walked down to the first hospital in the country, then checked out Reading Market, where we relaxed and has some launch. Next, we visited the former Wanamaker store, now Macy’s, which houses both the largest organ in the world and a Wurlitzer. Ron got a behind-the-scenes tour. It was a wonderful journey on a beautiful day. Ron will soon be making us some ‘Ron’garitas, followed by some South American food at a restaurant 30 feet away. So, this is the only post for Thursday. Friday we leave for Richmond.

Shown here is Washington Park, one of multiple large parks in downtown Philly:


Here’s Ron and I in front of a mural made of Tiffany glass. It was almost destroyed, but has since been turned into a Landmark. Ron and I are connected via my great great great grandfather Jacob Emrich (he still has the family name of Ron Emrich).

And, of course, Independence Hall:


We looked at a variety of things on our way to the Reading Market. Here are a few photos from the market:



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Day 25 – Wednesday May 23rd: Steel, Strings & Sellersville

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<– Day 24 – Tues. May 22: Rain N’ Fog in Coal Country | Day 26 – Thursday May 24th: Architecture & Organs –>


Heading out to dinner with Chuck and Laurie in their CJ-2A. It was perfect weather for a drive. in my hand is a step ladder so we could get Ann in and out of the jeep.

Day 25: We changed up our plans for Wednesday and it all worked well.  We drove from Bethlehem to Philadelphia, with our Jeep’s navigation steering us through north Philadelphia, precisely the place folks said we shouldn’t go. Thanks Jeep-Nav. Why it didn’t take us onto the Interstate is beyond me.


Wednesday’s drive from Bethlehem to Philadelphia.

On Tuesday night, after looking at the Crayola Experience more closely, we decided that it might be geared too much for kids. So, after doing some research, we chose to visit the fairly new National Museum of Industrial History, followed by the Martin Guitar factory.

We started at the NMIH, located inside one of the original Bethlehem Steel buildings. There were plenty of reminders that the effort to restore/retain the Bethlehem buildings was an ongoing process.



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Day 24 – Tuesday May 22: Rain N’ Fog in Coal Country

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<– Day 23 – Mon. May 21st: From Summer Santa to the Police Academy | Day 25 – Wednesday May 23rd: Steel, Strings & Sellersville –>


Jerry and the MB he turned into a Follow Me Jeep years ago.

Day 24: Tuesday we drove from Hershey to Drum, then south to Bethlehem.


On Tuesday we drove from Hershey to Bethlehem.

We began the day with a visit to Hershey’s Chocolate World. It’s a place we’d tried to visit back in 2013, but it had closed in anticipation of the construction of a new and improved(?) Chocolate World. Ann spoke fondly of the the place and her disappointment at not sharing it with me in 2013. So, you can imagine that she was pumped to finally be getting to see it again, something she hadn’t experienced since she was a kid. What could possibly go wrong with that scenario??



With entrance photos taken, perhaps the best part of our adventure was about to take place. As Ann walked toward the front doors, one of them suddenly opened, followed by a voice, “Ann, it’s so nice to meet you.”

Now, it’s important to know that one of the things damaged when Ann suffered her TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) is her ability to recognize faces. So, she has a really hard time remembering faces. Thus, when confronted with an unexpected welcome, she quickly get’s confused, wondering if she should know the person or not. And, given we’d just come from the reunion, she wasn’t sure if she should know who this stranger was.

In this case, she wouldn’t have, as the stranger introduced himself to me as Gordon. According to Gordon, he hadn’t realized we were going to be in town (he’s from Carlisle and is a fan of John’s Restaurant as well). Since he’d read that we’d planned to stop at Chocolate World, he thought it would be fun to stop and say a quick hello while on his way to Walck’s in Bowmanstown, Pennsylvania, to pick up some parts for his CJ-5. Ann and I were both humored by the gesture.


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Day 23 – Monday May 21st: From Summer Santa to the Police Academy

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<– Day 22 – Sun. May 20th: Hittin’ The Road | Day 24 – Tuesday May 22: Rain N’ Fog in Coal Country –>


Ann thought she should sign me up for the Police Academy. She has some strange ideas sometimes, but what the heck. I’ve never done that!

Day 23: We had a short drive on Monday, going from Harrisburg, west to Carlisle, then turning back east for Hershey.


On Monday we drove from Harrisburg, to Carlisle, and then to Hershey.

On Monday morning, we headed for John’s Hideaway Restaurant, a favorite morning destination of Bill, a retired PennDOT employee. Bill’s been going to John’s place since Reagan was in office (if my math is correct). And, I can see why. The family owned restaurant serves a good breakfast at a fair price. The restaurant is situated close to the local college, but apparently the nearby students aren’t searching out the classic diner. Too bad, as they are missing out! I doubt anyone else around town can beat the quality of food at the prices John’s offers.

2018-05-21-breakfast1 2018-05-21-breakfast2

In retirement, Bill’s decided to grow his beard out. One of his grandchildren thinks he looks like Santa and frequently tests that hypothesis by tugging at his beard. I can see why he might be mistaken for Santa, as he’s a jolly fellow with a twinkle in his eye. Of course, he’s a bit more svelte than his plumper counterpart; but, perhaps he’s just sporting Santa’s summer body (Kind of like Tim Allen in Santa Clause)?

Bill really enjoyed his time at PennDOT, but now in retirement he says he is too busy for a full time job anymore. Part of the reason is that he’s too busy restoring vehicles. To show us what he’s done, he took us to his mountain retreat, where he has a couple of garages on a nice chunk of property. It’s a place for him to escape and pursue projects that interest him.

The first vehicle he showed us was his recently restored 1947 CJ-2A. It’s a beautiful jeep that Bill enjoys driving through the local mountains. It’s got an MD Juan body that needed quite a bit of reworking to fit correctly. He did a very nice job with it.



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Day 22 – Sunday May 20th: Hittin’ The Road

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<– Day 21 – Sat. May 19th: Mr. Infamous | Day 23 – Mon. May 21st: From Summer Santa to the Police Academy –>


Sunday’s drive from Aurora to Harrisburg

Day 22: I’m hoping to have some regular updates for Tuesday morning …

We said our goodbyes on Sunday and drove from Aurora, Ohio, to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. We’ve got a tentative schedule that depends on whether a few folks have time to meet with us. So, as always the situation is fluid.

We know for sure that we will be going to the Hershey’s Chocolate World on Tuesday morning and the Crayola Experience on Wednesday morning. Wednesday/Thursday nights we will be staying with a cousin in downtown Philadelphia. Friday we hope to be driving down through Delaware. Memorial Weekend will be in Richmond, Virginia.


Tentative schedule from Monday May 21st through Monday May 28th

This is the tentative schedule for after Memorial Day Weekend. Stops include potentially a couple readers, a couple stops at Alaska Or Rust Crew homes, Route 66 Hall of Fame, a few Route 66 places, Will Rogers museum, Dorothy’s House in Kansas, Monument Rocks. We think we’ll be back home June 6th.


From Monument Rocks, we’ll take I-70, then cut up to Salt Lake, then home.

<– Day 21 – Sat. May 19th: Mr. Infamous | Day 23 – Mon. May 21st: From Summer Santa to the Police Academy –>

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Day 21 – Saturday May 19th: Mr. Infamous

• CATEGORIES: Alaska Or Rust Trip, Features • TAGS: .

<– Post Trip Items: Alaska Or Rust!! 2107 …. The Book –> | Post Alaska Or Rust Item: FCA Brazil’s Video of Hugo Vidal –>

<– Day 20 – Friday May 18th: Reunion Day 1 | Day 22 – Sunday May 20th: Hittin’ The Road –>

UPDATE: This almost-one-year anniversary was the final event of the Alaska Or Rust Crew.


About half the Alaska Or Rust Crew. There were drinks and plenty of laughs on Saturday night.

Day 21: Saturday started at 5am and went to 1am Sunday morning. It was great to meet so many fans of my wife (I think she’s more popular than I am) and, of course, fans of eWillys. I appreciate everyone’s support, including the purchase of the shirts, books, stickers and posters. I nearly sold out of everything, so that helped cushion Day 1’s purse theft. Much appreciated! Here are some photos that Ann took (as I had no time):


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Day 20 – Friday May 18th: Reunion Day 1

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

<– Day 19 – Thurs. May 17th: No Rain Yet … | Day 21 – Saturday May 19th: Mr. Infamous –>

UPDATE: Site was down for a while earlier today. The squirrels that power the state-of-the art server went on strike for more peanuts. We tossed in some salted ones and everything is back to normal.


Stacy, Russ and I chatting about Alaska Or Rust.

Day 20: Friday was the first day of the reunion. The expect rain didn’t show. It was busier than expected. It was great to meet so many readers! On Saturday, the rain is expected in the afternoon, but hopefully that stays away again. Late Friday evening, some of the Alaska Or Rust gang hung out under our awning. Naturally the conversation digressed from plutonium and radium issues to corncobs, butter and body parts. Alcohol may have played a part in that. We sure did laugh.

Here are some photos from earlier in the day:

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Day 19 – Thursday May 17th: No Rain Yet ….

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

<– Day 18 – Wed. May 16th: We’ve Arrived in Aurora | Day 20 – Friday May 18th: Reunion Day 1 –>

Day 19th: We’ve picked up some cool things along the way on our trip, some of which we’ve added to the decor of our room. We’ll add some more before this weekend is over.


Ann spent much of the day stuffing Spring Willys Reunion participant bags with various freebies with Bob’s wife Mindy.

Bob and I snuck away in his CJ-3B to go visit the local Jeep dealership. On our way this car drove past us, then thought he’d show off his muscle. His ability to outrun an-f-head power jeep with a hydraulic lift was impressive, lol.


We were going to the dealership, because Bob thought he was picking up a few give-away items for the raffle, but it turned out his contact was gone today. However, Josh and some of the other guys were excited to see a vintage dually jeep outside.

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Day 18 – Wednesday May 16th: We’ve Arrived in Aurora

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<– Day 17 – Tues. May 15th: Cheese N’ Hardware | Day 19 – Thurs. May 17th: No Rain Yet … –>

Day 18: Not much to report. I spent Wednesday morning working on the presentation, then we drove to the Bertram Inn & Conference Center in Aurora, Ohio, which is larger than anticipated and very nice.


We knew we were in the right place when we spotted Bob Christy’s CJ-3B:


For the first time since we left Pasco, we unloaded much of the jeep in preparation for the Spring Willys Jeep Reunion this weekend. We enjoyed some fish tacos for dinner with Bob and Mindy Christy and caught up with them. I can’t believe it’s been five years since we’d seen each other in person!

After dinner, we finished off the evening by doing our laundry. Yep, an exciting day!

On Thursday I’ll be polishing up the presentation. We expect a lot of people to be rolling into the complex today in preparation for tomorrow.

<– Day 17 – Tues. May 15th: Cheese N’ Hardware | Day 19 – Thurs. May 17th: No Rain Yet … –>

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Day 17 – Tuesday May 15th: Cheese N’ Hardware

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<– Day 16 – Monday May 14th: Drive Them Jeeps! | Day 18 – Wed. May 16th: We’ve Arrived in Aurora –>


This is a real let down after driving jeeps yesterday! But, it is my first Amish buggy!

Day 17: We had another short drive today, going from Columbus to Macedonia, Ohio.


On Tuesday we drove from Columbus to Macedonia, Ohio.

I spent the morning working on my presentation, so we only did a few things today. Our principle goal was to head to Ann’s Aunt near Cleveland for a visit. But, on the way, we decided to visit two cool spots.

The first was Grandpa’s Cheesebarn and Sweeties Chocolates near Ashland, Ohio. Ann loves this place, so in 2013 we stopped here, but it was closed. This time it was open. She tells me that “Grandpa” still works the store, or was there the last time she and her mother visited in 2015.

Though we saw no sign of Grandpa, we did get to sample all kinds of cheeses and other items. Sure, most of the items you can get elsewhere at slightly lower prices, but by the time we sampled everything, we didn’t have to eat lunch. So, it was cost effective for us. We only bought 4 cheeses and some fermented eggs in beets.

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Day 16 – Monday May 14th: Drive Them Jeeps!

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<– Day 15 – Sunday May 13th: Great Scott, Another Jungle Jims? | Day 17 – Tuesday May 15th: Cheese N’ Hardware –>

Thanks to Rick and Paulette for letting us take their Jeepster for a spin!

Thanks to Rick and Paulette for letting us take their Jeepster for a spin!

Day 16: Monday we drove from Cincinnati to Columbus, Ohio, via Roger and then Rick and Paulette’s places.


Monday’s trip took us from Cincinnati to Columbus, Ohio.

The first step towards facing your problem is admitting you have a problem. Yes, I have a problem. I have Jungle-Jim-itus. After saying our goodbyes to Scott, our first stop of the day was at Jungle Jims (just happened to be on our way, sort of). Our goal was to explore the gluten free aisle, then check out the coffee aisle. We were fairly well-behaved and managed to leave with only a few items.


When you need a map for a grocery store, you know you are in a big one!

Our second stop of the day was at Roger Martin’s house, where he plans on holding another Southwest Ohio FC gathering this summer. Since we won’t be around for that event, I got to have some early hands on FC fun. Roger’s been working on a green and gray FC-170. It runs great, but needs some more body work. He pulled it out of the garage and let me drive it around his property. I liked that it didn’t have a windshield!

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Day 15 – Sunday May 13th: Great Scott, Another Jungle Jims?

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<– Day 14 – Sat. May 12th: Ann Gets the Boot | Day 16 – Monday May 14th: Drive Them Jeeps! –>


Scott and I about to enter the newest Jungle Jims grocery emporium!

Day 15: Though we spent months planning the Alaska Or Rust Adventure, Scott Gilbert and I had never met until Sunday.


We drove from Lexington, Kentucky, to Newtown, Ohio, on Sunday.

As Ann slept, I started Sunday in Lexington, Kentucky, with a coffee run that turned into a cool donut find. I’m not a big donut eater, but the evil donuts at North Lime Coffee & Donuts seduced me into trying a couple: a chocolate glazed and a sprinkled donut. The Chocolate glaze was cut square, giving it a unique look, but the better one was the simple sprinkle donut. It turned out to be a heavy, yet tasty, not too chewy, but substantive treat.


Each day, North Lime puts out a display of the day’s donuts. This was from a different day than I was there (You can see many more pics on YELP):


instead of the old fashioned donut boxes, North Lime uses branded pizza boxes. I thought that pretty clever and a nice update for the college crowd, as this was near the University of Transylvania in Lexington.


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Day 14 – Saturday May 12th: Ann Gets the Boot

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<– Day 13 – Friday May 11th: Lawrence & Lubbeck | Day 15 – Sunday May 13th: Great Scott, Another Jungle Jims? –>

Day 14: On Saturday morning we went to the ER at the Veteran’s Administration in Asheville. The doc concluded that she might have some achilles damage. To be safe and to complete our trip, they put her in a boot.


Day 14 took us from Asheville, NC, to Lexington, KY.


From there, we drove to Lexington, Kentucky, where I spent the evening working on my presentation for the Willys Reunion. Since Hugo’s wife was injured in a fall just before they were supposed to leave for the United States, Hugo decided to remain in Brazil to care for her. Thus, I’ll be giving the keynote, where I’ll share both Hugo’s story and the story the Alaska Or Rust trip.

Tomorrow I’ll work on it some more, then head to Cincinnati to spend the evening with Scott Gilbert and meet his family.

<– Day 13 – Friday May 11th: Lawrence & Lubbeck | Day 15 – Sunday May 13th: Great Scott, Another Jungle Jims? –>

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Day 13 – Friday May 11th: Lawrence & Lubbeck

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<– Day 12 – Thurs. May 10th: Willys to Hawgs | Day 14 – Sat. May 12th: Ann Gets the Boot –>


Our welcoming party at Lawrence Elliot’s place. From Left to Right, Carroll, Ann, me, Van, Lawrence, Susie, and Phillip.

Day 13: I only had to drive for 20 minutes today. That was in the morning on our drive to Maury’s. For the rest of our drives, our Chauffeur and tour guide, Maury, took us all over the windy hills of Western North Carolina. I think he could make a living doing this with a DUKW and microphone. He was entertaining and informative! However, I suspect being an architect pays better, so I don’t see him changing careers just yet!

We started out the day by meeting Maury at his shop, where his GPW is located. The GPW, #58671, was drafted into the Army on August 25, 1942. Six years later, it landed in Maury’s hands when he purchased it from Tom Stanek, who’d done a restoration on it and learned that the jeep was a Bechtel reconditioned unit. Maury has written up all the history he’d uncovered on his GPW in a article titled “Tracing the History of GPW 58671”, which appeared in the Winter 2008 issue of Army Motors Magazine.

Here’s Maury giving us a tour:

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