Going to try a simple trip log as a single Entry in this Blog, rather than as a separate Blog. Check the date in the Title to see if this has been updated. Will put newest info on top.
6/11 - I am back, rushed through the pass just before the snow started (yes, in June!) So a bit tired, but glad to be home. Piles of mail to sort, unloaded the RV, lots to do...
6/10 - Probably the final entry, bad internet last night and I'll probably be home tonight or tomorrow, so shouldn't be much need for this journal going forward. Also found out a single blog entry is limited to 32k characters - which I've reached, so had to delete a few lines near the beginning to be able to finish this up. So going forward, this is not the right way to do a travel blog - will just create a new blog rather then trying to fit it all into a single blog entry. Sitting at Les Schwab Tire center to get my front end checked, in Spokane at the moment - about 6 hours from home.
6/7 - I'm in Laurel, MT Walmart - got in 619 miles today, much better then yesterday. Had a headwind a lot, easy enough to drive through (unlike gusty side winds), but ruined my mileage. Stopped briefly at an overlook over the ND Badlands - didn't know they had them up here also! Should be home Monday evening.
6/6 - Very, very nasty winds all day (and yesterday, which is probably why I got so tired last night). Part of yesterday, I was headed due North - so had a tail wind which didn't cause any trouble. Then late in the afternoon, the road turned more NW and the driving became more difficult. Today was strong and very gusty - I couldn't drive more than 45 -50 most of the day, and even then bounced around like a ping pong ball. It was so rough, I had to pull over often and rest or otherwise unwind (walk around, etc.). Probably the hardest driving I've ever done - and boy do I hope the worst is over! I finally was able to get up to 60 briefly late this afternoon and felt like it was really flying. Only made it as far as Fargo due to the rough, slow driving, but expect things to go better tomorrow. Got about 1,400 miles to go - or in RV speak, about 28 hours driving (3 days). I'll probably stop in Cheney if I can get there before Will leaves and try to figure out where the car is....
Here are a couple of shots I took June 1st at Appomattox Courthouse in VA:
And here are a couple of shots from my visit with Uncle Bob and Aunt Madeline:
6/5 - Hm, I was sure I updated this after arriving at Bob & Madelines? Well, my brain is way past overloaded, so who knows. Had a lovely visit at their place and got through the genealogy notes more quickly than I expected, so it was also a productive visit. Hit the road this morning and got into WI, about 2 hours east of the MN border (decided to take I-94 just for a change of pace.) I was going to rest a bit then try to drive a couple more hours, but after resting have decided I'm just a little too tired so will just stay here for the night. Am at a Flying J - the RV's here seem to be parking on the opposite side from the semi's, so it should be a little quieter. May also take advantage of the nice little coffee shop/bakery for breakfast. Going to push it a little hard and try to get home reasonably soon (no more diamond mines I'm afraid...)
6/1 - Stopped in Charleston, West Virginia for the night. I'm heading home, but did stop in Appomattox Courthouse today, so that slowed me a bit. Otherwise fairly uneventful, had to drive through a thunderstorm for a bit, nasty gusty winds, but didn't last too long and as long as the lightening keeps missing me, I'll be fine. (Seem to be through it now, so maybe will be smooth sailing now?)
5/31 - Research is done for this trip, going to start for home first thing in the morning, with a visit in MI along the way of course. I don't know if I made much progress since leaving Maine, but have learned a lot more about our family history and about genealogy and libraries and such along the way. Kinda fun, but I'm ready to go back to work and the real world now! See ya'll shortly (hope I have developed too bad of an accent - it will go away, trust me.)
5/30 - Still striking out as to any major breakthroughs. Who would have thought the Stinsons would be easier to track down then the Johnston's? Our line anyway, there are plenty of Johnston family trees out there, but they don't seem to include our ancesters. I didn't do that careful of a job researching down in Richmond, so decided to head back there to give it one more shot before leaving the east coast. Will try the VA State Library tomorrow, then after that, start west... In a Walmart in Mechanicsville tonight, too far from town (I read the map wrong, ugh)... Hot and muggy out here (& buggy).
5/28 - I'm back in Pohick Regional Park, Richmond, VA was interesting but I didn't get any new info for our family tree. Going to visit Alexandria again tomorrow, now that I know who Reuben's parents were - maybe I can find something on them there. BTW - Got the rig serviced yesterday (LOF) so it should be as ready for the drive home as can be...
5/27 - Went to Stafford, VA to try to track down Reuben Johnston (b. 1767) parents, but couldn't locate them. However, the county clerk recommended the local library, which recommended the regional library in Fredricksburg, VA - and they found Reuben's birth record listing his parents. Unfortunately, they didn't have any other info on the, but also recommended the historical society in Richmond. Since Richmond was 50 miles further south (and 90 miles from the campground I've been staying at), I decided to locate a Walmart near Richmond and drive on down tonight, rather then go back to the campground and then have to drive to Richmond in the morning. So, although I've paid for the lovely campground up in Pohick, tonight I'm in Ashland, VA Walmart, ready to hit the Virginia Historical Society in the morning... At least I found one of the two people Uncle Bob asked me to help with.
5/26 - In the unlikely event anyone was hanging off the edge of their seat waiting to see what'd I do today - copped out, e.g. decided not to go anywhere and get chores done, cleaned up the rig, did dishes, laundry etc. Not much fun, but maybe necessary once and awhile. I went ahead and paid for the campground through Thursday night, so I have four days of research available in this area. Then I'll start west. Will that be enough? Will I get answers to all the burning questions? Of course not! Of late, I have learned just how tedious and difficult it can be to squeeze out little bits of information. Part of my objective for this trip was to learn about genealogy, the process, types of resources available, etc. Part of my objectives were to flush out the family tree on Mom's side of the family more. Both objectives well met. The last major objectives, to solve a couple of dead ends we have on dad's side? Not so successful. I still have this week, then must head home... One objective I didn't have (or didn't think I had) was that I've also learned a whole lot more about my family, it was one thing for Uncle Bob to hand me a CD with lots of data on it about family history, but a whole different perspective to actually get into it and learn it (some of it anyway). I have developed a huge new respect for the work that he's done for us all!
5/25 - I decided to go back to Alexandria today to do some sightseeing. Beautiful day, sunny and warm - lots of folks out and about. It's about 10 miles from the Pohick Bay campground to the metro, then a short (10 min?) ride by train to downtown Alexandria. There is a free trolley that runs from the Metro station to the waterfront, yesterday, I walked back and forth to the library. Today I took the trolley, walked around, took a few pictures and was generally a tourist. Then I toured a couple of the old buildings, the Carlyle House (Blt 1853, one of the mansions in town) and the Gadsby Tavern (blt 1785). Then, before heading back to the Metro, I decided to check out the locations of two homes built by Reuben Johnston (the first one, born 1767, d 1840) and see if they were still there. The one at 210 Fairfax S was gone, but the triple houses on 212-218 Royal St S was still there and in very nice shape (of course, I took pictures). Then I hoofed it another mile to the National Cemetery, also location of the First Presbyterian Cemetery and after getting lost a little, found the gravestones for Reuben Johnston (1767-1840) and his wife. The walking wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't splurged on some heavy books at Gadsby's... So all in all, a very nice day, but I'm tired and will hit the sack a little early. I'm really torn about tomorrow - I've got LOTS of stuff to stay in the rig and do tomorrow, but who knows when I'll be back out this way - way too much sightseeing to pass up (especially now that I've got the mass transit stuff figured out).
5/24 - Spent the day in the library in downtown Alexandria. Didn't get much of anything that Uncle Bob didn't already have - so not worth going back there. Research facilities are closed Sun & Mon (holiday), so may just sightsee or stay in and relax, not sure. Tues will try somewhere else perhaps.
5/23 - I visited the Morris Inn in Oxford, on the east side of Chesapeake Bay. It turns out that this is where Robert Morris Senior lived from about 1738 to 1750 (only the left 1/3 of the building is the original house, the rest was added later). Although I still haven't found out who Mary (Morris) Croxall's mother was, I've learned a whole lot more about Robert Morris's father (RM Sr). Anyway, splended day weather wise (finally). After pulling what info I could out of the Oxford/Easton area, I finally drove over to the Wash. D.C./Alexandria area. I am in Pohick Bay Regional Park in Lorton, VA - a few miles south of Alexandria. The main library is open Saturday from 9 - 5, so I'll be spending the day there tomorrow. Will stay in this CG probably through Thursday. Research wise, everything is closed Sunday and Monday and I'd like to visit Baltimore (Croxall's), Alexandria (Johnstons) and Stafford (Johnston) before leaving. Then will start for home, via Berrien Center, MI of course. During the week, I can take the train into downtown Alexandria, but on the weekend will have to drive to a subway station. Using Mass Transit on an RV trip works out OK, but takes a lot more research time... I'm running out of space in the RV to store all the paper I've collected...
5/22 - I got to Oxford (not Oxbow, sorry) a bit late to check the town records and found out there aren't any private campgrounds in the area, the local Wal-mart doesn't allow overnight parking (city ordinance I think), and all the state parks in Maryland seem to be full (I forgot about the holiday weekend). So I drove all the way to Dover, Delaware to stay at the Wal-mart there (OK, it was only about 25-30 miles). Having been burned by lack of planning tonight, I called around and found a city park campground a little south of Alexandria for about $30/night and it's only a couple of miles from the train station. At this point, looks like I'll be leaving the NE sometime next week - can't do any research Sunday or Monday, so we'll see.
5/21 - Seems like inserting the daily entry after the photo's makes the new entries harder to find, so I'll try it this way instead. Yes folks, I am again going around in circles. I did go back up to Belvidere, NJ and located the house Robert Morris gave to his daughter, Mary and Charles Croxall. It gets confusing really fast, so I'll skip the messy details for now (it eventually became a Supreme Court case!) Anyway, the current owner was kind enough to show me through the house and share what he know - so that pretty much made it worth the trip. Am at the Wal-mart in Phillipsburg, heading south. Tomorrow I hope to make it to Wash DC area, which should be do-able. Plan to pass through Oxbow, just in case I get lucky (Mary Morris wise).
2nd Trip Photo's:
5/20 - Well, I did better today at the PA history/genealogical library. Didn't locate either of the ancesters I was looking for but at least got some interesting stuff I can use. This trip has certainly been a learning process! I have really developed an appreciation for how much time Uncle Bob has put into this, and I'm just scratching a little around the corners. The genpa library is such a huge repository of documents & books I could probably spend a lot of time there, but I need to get moving so will leave the area in the morning. I'm planning to head south to the Wash DC area, there is a slight temptation to go back to Belvidere first (another extra tank of gas however, so am still debating)
5/19 - Still batting zero in Philly for genealogy after spending about 4 hours in city archives. I can tell you that there are very few "Pearl's" in Philly! The archives don't have city records prior to 1860, so I just focused on the Pearl/Beveson connection, without luck. At least I've been there and know a little more about what the don't have. My only other planned stop in Philly for family history stuff is the history/genealogy society, which is closed Monday, so I went ahead and did some sightseeing at Independence Park. All tickets for Independence Hall were already given out for today (lots and lots of school groups here at the moment), so I took in the new "National Constitution Center", which was interesting if a bit overpriced, saw Ben Franklin's grave, and independence hall and the liberty bell from the outside (Philly seems to close down at 5 PM?). The genealogy center opens at 12:30 tomorrow, so I may go back to Independence Hall first, they're both in the same part of town. I plan to leave this area Wednesday, don't know if I'll go back to Belvidere NJ first or just head to Washington DC/Alexandria. I'm still trying to reach the historical society in Belvidere first.
5/18 - Took the train to Philadelphia today, the Library is open for 4 hours on Sundays, so I figured it was worth the trip to get the lay of the land, etc. Found out the Library has very little resources for genealogy research, so will try other avenues tomorrow. Oh yes, forgot to mention... Even though the library was a bust, hit pay dirt in Belvidere Friday - I just didn't realize it! Uncle Bob had told me about an 'estate' Robert Morris was said to give his daughter, Mary, and Charles Croxall for a wedding gift. I got mixed up however and thought he was talking about it being in PA or MD. So in trying to clarify this with him by email, turns out it was in Belvidere. In fact, Robert Morris founded and named the town of Belvidere and the "Robert Morris" or "Croxhall" house was one of the first (if not the first) homes in the town. It's described a little on their web site (also look under "Key Attractions" for a bit about the house). Guess I'll be heading back up to Belvidere, at least for a brief visit:
Belvidere Home Page
5/17 - No genealogy today, had to take care of some housekeeping (power supply for laptop died, problem resolved so may head in to Philly tomorrow - found out the Library is open Sunday from 1 - 5, which would be enough time to learn what my resource options are). In the meantime, I have collected a few photo's along this second trip (surprise, surprise) - I'll just stick all the thumbnails along the top - click to enlarge if you want to see/learn more...
5/16 - I'm in Port Republic, NJ - just north of Atlantic City. There is a Thousand Trails campground there where I can stay while attempting to 'do' Philidelphia. I did find the grave of Mary Croxall (Dau. of Robert Morris) in Belvidere earlier today, kind of surprising since she died in 1821 and the county records only go back as far as 1826...
5/15 - Lots of driving today, decided to check out Belvidere, NJ as the starting point to see if I could find out any more about Mary Morris (d. 1826 in Belvidere). Then will spent a few days in Philly, probably staying in a Thousand Trails campground just outside of Atlantic City and commuting. Am in Stephens SP, just north of Hackettstown, NJ tonight.
5/14 - Today I spent all day and only went 30 miles or so. How do you manage that you say? Well, I left Salem, MA about a quarter after Nine this morning, got to Walpole, MA (Walmart), somewhat south of Boston about 8:30 PM. Last night and this morning I was trying to decide what to do - go do some sightseeing in Boston ($$$), start south to Philly, or ?? I decided on the or ?? this morning, rather impulsively perhaps. You see, I'm on some sort of learning curve on this genealogy stuff - as I was working on this stuff in Boston, I realized I should have gotten more stuff while in Bath, Maine. So, being as it's only 3 hours north of Boston, I drove back to Bath, spent 4 more hours in the library, then drove back to the Boston area on the way south to Philly. So I drove 6 hours and spent about the same as if I'd spent the day in Boston, but it was what I wanted to do.
5/13 - Wow! Quite an adventure today, I navigated the Boston Transit system and survived. I caught the cab to the commuter rail, then caught a subway to downtown. I was heading to the general vacinity of the BPL (Boston Public Library), but first wanted to check out this organization where I finally had dug out CKS's parents names, the NEHGS (New England Historical Genealogical Society), which is only two blocks from the library. Spent all day at NEHGS, so didn't make it to BPL, but probably got enough of what I was looking for anyway. Nothing earth shattering, but wanted to find out what kind of resources were available, etc. (a learning expedition). Unfortunately, they confirmed what I'd learned in Maine, only a small portion of genealogy type info has been digitized - most of the real work is time consuming and takes a lot of hands on research. But after picking up what I could, and running out of time..., I safely navigated back to the subway, then train, then back to Salem where the RV was parked at Winter Island city park again. When I got off the train in Salem, I decided to try walking back to the Rv so I could see a bit of Salem also. Since it was after 5, most of the shops would be closed, so I wouldn't be tempted to spend quite as much? I did stumble onto a bookstore which was open and was also going out of business so everything was 50% off - I left most of the books in the bookstore. The shops & museums about the Salem Witch Trials looked mostly like tourist traps, although I think a few do really focus on what really happened. They also have some really old homes & buildings and an area along the Wharf devoted to the maritime history of Salem, including a replica of a late 1700's square rigged sailing ship (the Friendship). Finally, I walked around the "House of the Seven Gables" (a real house, although Hawthorne's story was fictionalized). When I got back to the rig, I found I had new neighbors - a family from southern Germany was renting an RV for 3 weeks to tour New England and visit friends.
5/12 - Didn't go into Boston today as I had some bills, etc. to take care of. I did go into Salem to the Post Office, not a very parking friendly town (is that a Boston area theme?). Anyway, should be able to get a good start tomorrow. Depending on how things go, may leave area Wed or Thurs AM.
5/11 - I finally left Maine and am at Winter Island City Park (RV Camping) in Salem, MA. My plan is to spend 2 - 3 days in this area, take a cab to the Amtrak station and take the train to downtown Boston - see how that works. Took the slow way from Maine, Hwy 1 (rather then the turnpike), spent 3-4 hours in Ipswich, MA - where several of our ancesters lived, some while passing through to other destinations, a Cummings and Kingsbury for sure, I think also an Aldrich? (My memory is a little overloaded). Took LOTS of pic's in Ipswich, the Kingsbury house is still standing and on their 'walking tour'.
5/10 - Missed another day? Boy this blogging stuff takes self discipline (which I don't have much of...) Anyway, yes I did get to Augusta, ME and spent some time in the Library. I also spent some $$ on the photocopy machine! The library closed at 2 PM Saturday, so I took the opportunity to do a little more sightseeing. I'm in the Bath area again, thinking it's about a 4-6 hour drive to the Boston area, which I could do tomorrow. Part of me wants to stay a little longer up hear and dig out a bit more - but part of me wants to get moving. Will probably do the latter...
5/8 - Hmm, must have forgotten to update this last night! I spent yesterday in Bath, Maine, the birthplace of Charles K. Stinson. Got a lot of Stinson stuff in the Library, the town hall burned down in the late 1800's, which might be one factor it's been hard to track down info (it all burned up!). Went to a nice campground down the penninsula a bit and decided to do a little sightseeing this morning since I was so close. So I visited Fort Popham (saw several Osprey) and then the Maine Heritage Museum. I also did a little more follow up on the Stinson leads from yesterday. Plan is to spend all day tomorrow in the Maine State Library in Augusta, then head to Boston.
5/6 - Keene, NH didn't provide much info re Mariatta & Francisco, I did get a copy of the marriage notice from the paper and learned they were married by a Rev. Zedekiah Barstow, most likely in the First Congregational Church. I did also find out the Castillo's actually lived in the house I visited yesterday in Westmoreland and some of their kids were born there. I decided West Windsor was in the wrong direction and wasn't that high a priority anyway, so took off to Maine instead. I'm at the Brunswick WM, just outside of Bath. May or may not find out more about CKS there tomorrow, then head up to Augusta where I'm sure there will be a lot. Should be leaving Maine about Friday.
5/5 - Stayed in Westmoreland, NH last night. Lovely country btw. Found out Francisco Del Castillo & Mariatta Aldrich owned a house there for about 20 years. They were living in Cuba, so not sure if they bought the house to stay in when visiting the in-laws or ??? Got pic's, a little more info on the Aldrich's maybe. Tuesday drove to nearby Keene hoping to learn a little more, but expect to leave here shortly and head up to West Windsor finally.
5/4 - Since finding a link between Charles K. Stinson and the Stinson ancesters was one of my prime goals for the trip, and since I was able to do that already using the internet, I feel I can relax a little and rearrange my priorities. When I saw a flier for the "Herkimer Diamond Mine KOA", and this ties into a daydream Mom had from the first trip, yesterday I spent about 5 hours digging for "diamonds" - (e.g. quartz crystals, but nice ones). Got about a tablespoons worth, probably worth about what the excursion cost me (KOA & entry fee's). Today I plan to visit Westmoreland, NH where the Aldrich's were from and then West Windsor, VT (just up the road a few miles) where Rev. James Irving Cummings died.
5/3 - OK, now I am officially behind schedule, somewhat intentionally? I am in Herkimer, NY. Pulled over early to spend some time getting organized and rearrange my NE visit, now that I know who CKS's parents are. Also, saw a brochure for a KOA campground here in Herkimer that had to be visited (for Mom's sake). Mom - check this out: KOA Herkimer Diamond Mine! Sorry I didn't know about this on our last trip. Of course, it will cost me $40 to get $0.50 worth of Quartz, but I just had to stop here.
5/2 - Made it to Batavia, NY, about 30 miles past Buffalo. Very bad weather all day, heavy rain, some gusty wind and lightening all around, so drove pretty slow and kept it safe. Saw one wild turkey.
5/1 - Sorry, forgot to log in last night. I visited with Uncle Bob and Aunt Madeline yesterday afternoon. Laura came by late last night, then she and Aunt Madeline left early this morning for Tennessee to attend Jame's graduation. Uncle Bob and I spent a little time on the genealogy stuff, then I hit the road this morning. I plan to stop by again after spending time in New England, hopefully to sync up files a bit. This stop was more just to say "Hi" and also to pick up some pointers from him so my trip east will hopefully be a little more fruitful. Today I didn't make much progress however, I was a little more tired than I realized (maybe the time zone thing finally hit me), so I stopped at a nice KOA in Toledo, Ohio early enough to get some chores done and make sure I'd get a good night sleep. Saw a fox yesterday morning when I first got to IL, just running along the bushes on the side of I-90. He wasn't as red as the ones in my neighborhood, don't know if it was the time of the year or if he was s different species.
4/29 - Made it to Illinois, I've driven slightly over 2,000 miles so far. I probably could have made it to Bob & Madiline's tonight, but was somewhat tired and decided I didn't want to mess with Chicago Traffic until I'd had a good night's sleep.
4/28 - Stayed near Wall Drug last night. I pulled over on my way into Sioux Falls, SD about 3:30 PM to check mail, etc. Drove as far as Worthington, MN (about 45 miles into the state) then decided to quit for tonight. Saw a couple of sand hill cranes, several western meadow larks and lots and lots of pheasants.
4/27 - It's about 6:30 PM in Rapid City, SD. I'll probably get another hundred miles or so farther east tonight, but am not sure there will be an internet signal (SD is pretty rural, even along I-90). Reasonably nice today, but windy. Not as many tree's as west of the continental divide until I started getting into the Black Hills. Still lots of antelope & cattle.
4/26 - Made it as far as Billings, MT today. Very beautiful driving, cool but clear and sunny. Night time temps about 40, daytime close to 60. There is still snow in the high Rocky Mountains, but not too much and the roads are clear and dry. I have seen a lot of raptors, some of which are red tailed hawks. Today I also saw lots and lots of prong horned antelope, some black tail deer and - get this, big horned sheep! They were climbing on the rocks where they'd cut away for the freeway, seems to make a nice rock face for them!
4/25 - Left Shelton a little later and more tired than I'd have liked, but made it to Sprague Lake, WA.