Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Taquamenon Falls

Not sure what possessed me to think it was a good idea to drive to the UP in the middle of winter, over the bridge in high winds.

But the falls sure were pretty.  And the company ain't half bad either!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Yeah, not the best idea

But Noah can now boast of his first bloody nose!

Mother of all Christmas gifts

Set up in the living room.  Right before bedtime.  Not sure what exactly we are thinking.

Stuck in a snow bank

At the in laws!  Finally made it here.  Merry Christmas!

The cavalry has arrived

At 3 AM Grandpa and Grandma rolled into Cleveland in their mighty steed.  My inlaws are the best!  Of course, Paige told her Dad that if he didn't "rescue" us, we were just stuck.  Talk about manipulation!

We are now rolling down rainy but decent highways towards the so called "holy land."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cleveland rocks!

Just cancelled our flight.  Now stuck in Cleveland...

Let's see...

-Ella just about broke her face because she wouldn't let got of my hand going down the escalator.  And Levi was holding my other one at the top.

-Levi just pitched the mother of all fits in the subterranean tunnel (echos REALLY well) on the middle of the moving sidewalk (where there is NOWHERE to hide.). Brief pause in between the two sidewalks to strap them back in their seats.  Then push them the remaining 100 yards with both boys screaming at the top of their lungs.  "I WANT TO GO ON THE MOVING SIDEWALK!!!!!!". Oh well, we will never see any of those horrified people again (let's hope...)

-Finally....a nice, long, dead end hallway (with NO witnesses). It's probably a good thing too, since let's just say they have some nice rosy rears.  Finally got them calmed down.

-Ate some pizza and watched Boz.  Now playing happily in the waiting area.  Although our flight appears be delayed.  Freezing rain here in Cleveland.  Not letting flights come in.

-Got myself a large Starbucks.  Should be able to keep up with them for hours.

Benadryl II

First flight was great.  Boys slept a long time.  Ella watched Looney Tunes.

Now for round two!

I love Benadryl!

So far so good

Let's hope so....

Here goes nothin'

Driving into the airport now.  Pray this goes well.  Seriously...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The motorcycle diaries

No, this isn't a post about Che. In response to my post about my dad, his cousin Larry just sent me a bunch of pictures and the story of their cross-country motorcycle trip. "Uncle" Larry is now my favorite first cousin once removed! I've posted the story as he wrote it below, with comments from the peanut gallery in orange. I've posted some of the pictures in the story below, but there are a bunch more here.


Some time ago, you posted on your website a request for people to offer memories of your father Don. One of my fondest memories includes your father because it involved one of my first adventures as a young adult.

In the summer of 1971, I had just finished up my Junior year at Dordt and Don had graduated. We both owned motorcycles, Don a 650 Kawasaki and I a 750 Honda. We decided it was time for a long road test. We originally planned on a two week trip, but during the course of the trip, it got extended to more than three. We packed sleeping bags, eating utensils, pots, pans, food for breakfasts and suppers, a duffel bag of clothes, $120 in travelers checks and about $30 in cash In mid to late July, we headed west.

Larry on the left, Dad on the right, both straight out of the '70s!

Our first destination was to Colorado to see Pikes Peak. We took this leg of the trip through Nebraska and during this stretch we got our first hints that this was not going to be Don’s best experience in life. Don was wearing the flip-up style sunglasses that were beginning to be popular back then and in our second day of travel, the sunglasses caught a gust of wind and flipped off his head. He bought a second pair later that day.

By the end of day three, we made it to Pikes Peak, staying in parks and free camp sites along the way, cooking our own meals. The road up Pikes Peak was still partly gravel then, and our bikes ran rather poorly in the high altitude, but we made it up and down without incident and enjoyed a cold but fantastic view.

Larry on the left, Dad on the right. Not sure why my Dad's teeth are freakishly white in that picture!

Leaving Colorado, we headed next into New Mexico, taking I 25 into Albuquerque, then I 40 toward Flagstaff, AZ to see the Grand Canyon. Our night in Flagstaff proved interesting. We entered Flagstaff with cold weather setting in. It was obvious we would need sleeping bags that night, but rain was also looming. We knew we needed shelter, but there were few options available. We finally opted for the local A&W Root Beer drive in, waited till they closed and slept under their car awning on the concrete, a hard but dry bed.

Campground in New Mexico

Grand Canyon

The next day we continued down I 17 (We experienced the 110 degree heat of Phoenix with our leather jackets and the heat pounding us from the pavement.) and I 10 to Tucson to stay by Mary’s parents. We spent the next two or three evenings there, not sure exactly how many, and while there, we went with Mary and her sister to Nogales, Mexico, as well as a short hike into the desert. We also got a first hand experience of an Arizona flash flood. One of the nights we were there, it poured and the streets became rivers. Mary’s father took us for a ride and showed us the rain run-off and how the streets were used for drainage. It was quite amazing for Iowa country boys used to seeing the rains soak into the ground.

Dad and Mom on the left. Mom looks like a little kid! But the appearance of Nogales hasn't changed much in the past 37 years.

I had a great time while staying by Mary’s folks, although I’m not sure if Don did. In the evenings, I usually headed for bed early, figuring Don might appreciate some time with Mary without me in the picture. However, Don was usually right behind me, calling it an evening. I never pushed the topic with him, but always wondered if he was trying to impress her parents or just play hard to get.

My mom was over the night you sent this and we were reading it together. She said that this might be the trip she got ticked at Dad, something about him trying to run over a Mexican! She said that she told him she didn't care if he ever came back again. I'm sure that made the hundreds of miles on a motorcycle well worth it! But obviously they worked it out eventually. :)

Back on the road, we headed toward Las Vegas. We arrived at night to the bright glow of the neon lights of the city of sin (as our parents called it). We rented our one and only motel room that night for our whole trip. We paid our $7.00 rent for our rundown room, chained up our bikes and headed out for our night on the town. We walked around through a few casinos, watched a few people gamble, headed back to our room and crashed. Riding bike was more fun.

From Vegas, we headed west to Los Angeles, to stay with our uncle and aunt, Ray and Edna Kiel. We stayed there for three nights while we spent a day both at Disney and Knots Berry Farms. I think this was the first time either of us had experienced a visit to a theme park bigger than Arnolds Park in Okoboji, IA. What an experience! But in getting there more of Don’s problems began to develop. His alternator was giving him problems and we needed an extra day for a mechanic to make an attempt to fix it. It got us out of Los Angeles.

We headed north on Highway 1 along the beautiful California coast. We spent the first day driving to Big Sur, a small coastal town made popular in the late 1960’s by the hippie crowd. We found a ditch just outside of Big Sur, rolled out our sleeping bags and crashed for the night. The next day we continued north across the Golden Gate Bridge, into San Francisco and drove our bikes down Lombard Street. Since San Francisco was not our kind of city even back then, we departed north, found a rest area and slept for the night. Somewhere in this stretch, Don lost his second pair of flip-up sunglasses. Two lost pair were enough, and he made the rest of the trip without sunglasses

The next day, our trip continued north up Highway 101 into Oregon. We enjoyed the great views of the Oregon coast line but because the trip was taking longer than we anticipated, we began traveling into the nights. On one such night, the temperature grew colder and Don stopped to put on more clothing. We got back on our bikes and again headed north, but about ten miles up the road, I notice his duffel bag was missing off the back of his bike. We concluded that he must have forgotten to strap it back on when he put on additional clothing and it had fallen off after we got back on the road. We circled back to look for it but in the dark found nothing. We decided that the morning light might give us a better chance of finding it and slept that night along the road. Bright and early the next morning we headed out to continue our search. No luck. Don’s duffel bag of clothes was gone, and he was down to the clothes he was wearing. I shared some of mine and we got by.

We continued north into Washington on I 5 to Tacoma without incident. We stayed the next evening by my then future brother-in-law, Dennis Visser. We continued the next day to Seattle and took in the site of the old worlds fair, including the space needle. After a day at the park, we finally headed east toward home.

The first day east, we decided to splurge for lunch and eat at a fast food burger place, I believe it was a McDonalds. We pulled off the interstate and coasted through the stop sign at the top of the exit ramp. I was leading, Don right behind and I am not sure what he was preoccupied with, but he was looking down at his gloves, not realizing I was turning right, crossing in front of him. He hit my rear tire, lost control of his bike and dropped it on its side. Although we weren’t going that fast, the fall broke his gear shift handle, put a few dents and scratches on his bike and put holes in the only jeans he had left after losing his duffel bag. We limped into the McDonalds somewhat discouraged.

After a quick meal, we again resumed our trip east, only for Don to realize a few miles down the road that his wallet was missing. Sure enough, he had left it on the table in the booth we were sitting in at McDonalds. We made a U-Turn and headed back, but were not surprised that the folks there knew nothing about the lost billfold. He now was down to the travelers checks he had in his coat pocket, without his drivers license. He had a scratched knee from the accident, but I suspect his spirit was hurting more. We rode the rest of the day pretty much in silence.

We continued on the next day into Idaho and Montana toward my future wife and in-law’s place in Manhattan, MT. We were intending to spend the night there, but about 40 miles from Drummond, MT Don’s alternator finally gave out. His bike was now dead and he needed towing. I took out a 15’ rope, pulled him into Drummond and headed for a local gas station where Don bought a used car battery which they would recharge during the night. We would stop by the next morning and strap it onto the back of his bike where his duffel bag once sat. He would bike the rest of the way home powered by a charge from the car battery. We headed out, me towing him to find a place to sleep.

We found a church lawn in Drummond and rolled out our sleeping bags. Our bikes got the neighbors nervous and along about 2:00 AM the local police were shining flashlights in our eyes telling us we needed to move on. We packed up and followed them to a city park, me towing Don. We did not get a great night of sleep.

The next morning, after breakfast and a quick stop to put the battery on Don’s bike, we were off to Manhattan, arriving at Sharidee’s place without further incident. Don shed his clothes which my future mother-in-law patched and washed, and for the first time in about a week, Don was wearing something clean. We spent the next few days there and included a trip to Yellowstone Park. Our trip was almost over.

"Aunt" Sharidee in the pink

After the third night in Montana, we headed out early the next day for home. Since Don’s bike was now running on battery, we were pretty much limited to day time riding (head lights would drain too much battery) and we wanted to make it into the Black Hills before getting home the next day. We toured Mount Rushmore, got his battery recharged, and headed to the nearest campground where we cooked our supper and crashed for the night.

Larry on the left, Dad on the right

Up early again the next morning we headed out for one last day across South Dakota, anxious to get home. Finally at supper time, we at long last were back. It was now mid August. Our trip lasted almost 3½ weeks, totaled between 5,000 and 6000 miles and included 13 states. We began with roughly $150 in cash and travelers checks and returned with money left. Gas for each of us was less than $30. We slept one night in a motel, ten nights by friends and family and the rest out under the stars. Most breakfasts and suppers were cooked over charcoals on an open grill. We had lived an adventure and were back safely.

Upon Don’s arrival home, I believe he parked his bike in his dad’s garage and didn’t move it again until the following year. At least as far as riding went, for the time being, I think the long wearing trip got the best of him. But for years after when we reminisced about our trip and the troubles he encountered he would get that half-smile look on his face with one hand on his hip, his head a little cocked to the side (you may know the look I’m referring to) and almost say: “Yea, wasn’t that one of the greatest times.”

I can totally see him saying that...

Note the battery strapped to the back rack, the lack of duffel bag and sunglasses, and I really like the upside down FrostyOs box strapped to the back :)

Apparently Dad's luck never changed after his first big road trip. I can remember many mishaps on family road trips... flat tires with one odd sized lug nut, dead hamsters in the trim panel of the Datsun, brakes going out coming down the hill from a campout, or getting towed from Gallup to Phoenix in a broken down van. We always seemed to have some memorable experience if Dad was on the trip.

Thanks for the story Larry. It was awesome...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Early Addink Christmas

(Warning: This post has lots of pictures. If you are sick of looking at pictures of our kids, or were looking for some humorous story about them discovering new bodily functions, you might as well skip this post...)

Since we are headed to Michigan, we had Christmas early with my Mom and sisters. Grandma had a big agenda planned for the day. They all met us near our house for breakfast, and then we headed to McCormick Railroad Park for some fun.

A carousel ride...

The first ride on the railroad. Ella and I rode in the miniature cattle car. I thought there was something slightly disconcerting about locking people into a cattle car, even if it is a train ride at a kid's park.

Then we hit the slides. You would think we had given Levi a triple shot of asthma meds, as wound up as that kid was. He kept saying "Dad, watch this! I'm going to be crazy!" Only when he says it, he is going to be "craaaaaaathy!" You've got to envision the slightly mad look in his eyes as well. If he makes it to 16 without some severely broken bones, I will be amazed...

Levi, in his first crash off the slide... ...and he bounces right back up.

Noah, mid launch off the end... ...and down the bumpity slide.

Levi's "craaaaaathy" face! Spirals down the whole slide!

Through the miracle of Photoshop... Levi in triplicate!

And Noah and Levi racing for the launch off the end...

The second train ride...

Third train ride, this time on the mini-mini-train...

Noah, returning from his quest to capture a live pigeon (No, he was not successful.)

Throwing leaves in the air is what passes for a snow shower down in these parts.

Paige got a new phone for Christmas. So if you have Verizon, give her a call. Unlimited long distance!

Decorating the gingerbread house.

Ella and Noah really got into the decorating part.

Levi? Well, he really got into eating the decorations...

And finally, the part they had been waiting for all day long...

They got waaaaaay too many gifts for a bunch of kids who already have a playroom full of toys. Apparently I am powerless to stop it though. The biggest hit by far was the digital cameras. Grandma got them each one of these little kid digital cameras. The picture quality is worse than a cell phone, but they don't care. They ran around the rest of the night (and the next day) documenting everything. And I mean everything. Mom, Dad, baby brother Luke, their other presents, sippy cups, table legs...

(This is literally only about half of the pictures they took.)