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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Halstead, Kansas

We have been into a very miserable weather since we left home, for a week we had nothing but foul conditions, raining, windy with threats of tornados and very cold, we were coat right in the middle of a very large cold front moving East and in the Midwest of our country North until today, October 15 is the very first day that we have a very nice and sunny day. We are in the State of Kansas, in the vicinity of the City of Halstead.
 This little town of about 2000 peoples consists of a wonderful blend of small-town friendliness, safety, and "family", while also providing access to services and amenities normally associated with larger communities, one reason is the vicinity of a town called Newton about 10 miles east has restructured itself within the past few years, even has a Walmart now!
Founded largely by Russian Mennonite immigrants, the City of Halstead was incorporated in 1877 and named in honor of journalist Murat Halstead. With the hard red winter wheat (Turkey Red) they brought from Russia, the Mennonites established Halstead as a farming community, and built the Bernard Warkentine Mill (and as to day still there) at the confluence of the Little Arkansas River and Black Kettle Creek. A famous "pow wow" between the frontiersman Kit Carson and the Native American Chief Black Kettle had taken place some years earlier unexpected at this same confluence. About 10 years ago on one of our trips through the country, we found ourselves on a campground about 5 or 6 miles away from Halstead, and being as nosy as we are, we ended up roaming around this old little town and talking to people here and there, all of the sudden we were invited to a Ice Cream Social programmed for next day (will be Sunday) and of course we accepted the nice invitation. Sunday come along and we went to the park were the event was taking place, when we got there we found ourselves surrounded by about 250 to 300 people who were tremendously nice, treating us like we have been members of the community for many years. The home made ice cream was delicious and the towns people were the best hosts that we can remember, during the conversations we found out that particular site was famous because of the filming of the famous 1956 romantic comedy-drama ‘PICNIC’, which stared William Holden and Kim Novak, Rosalind Russell, Susan Strasberg and Cliff Roberson. If I remember correctly (I’m dating myself now) the picture was nominated for many academy awards and I think it won two of them the same year. We made lots of friends that afternoon, and we were invited to “really” visit the town next day chaperoned by the President of the Chamber of Commerce, who happened to be the Real Estate Broker of the town. Next day we saddled up on Willie, and to the town we went. We were introduced to the town history and shown some of the points of interest, and some the houses that were built around 1850s, two in particular called our attention to the point that we made an offer to buy one of them, (by that time we were kind of tired of Las Vegas) but the owners came back with a counter offer that we didn’t like, so two or three days later we left for greener pastures. We were about a thousand miles away, when we received a phone call from the Broker and she said that the owners had changed their minds and accepted our offer for the house, but by then we were too far away all ready, and as it happened we had changed our minds too, so we decided not to buy the house, we still think it was a good decision, one of the reasons for our decision was that the closest Hospital was about 35 miles away in Wichita and the other was that this beautiful little town is right in the middle of what is known to be the infamous Tornado Alley. Now remember this is……On my view only….

Monday, September 29, 2014

Pictures of our little town

I’d like to share some pictures from our little town and the area around it. This is the main street going into town.
More of the main street and some of it’s quaint stores.
Now we’re at the only light in town.
This is the Visitors Center – love the sculpture.

A bigger view of the leaf sculpture

After we turn the corner there are more shops

And this pretty sidewalk is one street further.

Here are some pictures of the changing leaves

My favorite trees


Before we start our 2014-2015 trip I would like to tell you a little bit about us, Bill and Carol, we are very happily married couple, God willing will have our 50 years anniversary this coming January first 2015. Out of our marriage, come five good looking and smart (like their mother) boys. We reside in Los Angeles, California, where we had several Fine Jewelry stores; the most important would be the one in Rodeo Dr. Beverly Hills, and the rest of them in the surroundings of the Los Angeles area. When we retired we moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, we live there for approximately seven years. After retirement we decided to start traveling around this beautiful country of ours in our 40 foot diesel motorhome and towing “Willy” the Jeep. On one of the trips to the East coast, we discover a beautiful little town in the Midwest call Nashville, (not the Nashville of Tennessee) in the southern part of the State of Indiana.
What fascinate us about this quaint little town was, that the heart of the population in it, is composed of very talented and well known  artists and because of the wonderful productions of these fine artists, (painters, sculptors, etc.) the little town of about 950 people, it is known all around the artistic world.  What can I tell you…we fell in love with the little town, and the friendly people in it!!
Almost two years went by before we found a house that we thought was perfect for us; it is perchd on top of a hill of 940 feet high, this hill it is supposed to be the highest point in Indiana, the rest of the State it is very flat. The home is surrounded by over 5 acres of all kinds of trees and about 4 miles from the center of town and it feels like living in the middle of a park.
After remodeling and adding this and that, the house ended up to be a 3 story home with about six thousand square feet of living space plus lots of decks surrounding the dwelling and from them we have a magnificent view of the surroundings . Our kids thought we were foolish for getting such big house, on our age, they said, we were supposed to be downsizing not the other way around. What can I tell you! In a way they were right, but we like it, and it has all kinds of room for all our hobbies, big stained glass space, huge (Carol’s) quilting area and jewelry making section and Bill’s wood carving shop and leather manufacturing space, and a one thousand foot garage-shop with any kind of wood working tools that you can think of.
So here we are, leaving in peace surrounded by good neighbors lots of friends, and lots of birds of all colors and kinds, deer, turkeys, squirrels, possums, raccoons, etc, but regrettably in the winter gets very cold here and snows, BBBBBRRRRR!!!, so usually by the beginning of October and after we watch the splendor of the trees changing color,  we saddle up in our motorhome and leave for warmer climes, usually the west coast of USA and Mexico, where after many, many years of going there we have made lots of good friends. So we are raring to go, departure day have been selected by October 7, I will get Alfy and Willy loaded and ready, and will be on the road again, and I will describe to you all about our adventures on this trip, so please keep in touch and tell your friends about my blog please.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Writing the book....

For several years I’ve been pushing (bugging) Carol about writing a book of our fantastic motorhome trip in 1978 to South America with our family. Was a wonderful adventure that changed all of us the way we look at our lives, and I thought it was worth sharing with everybody in the world. So without thinking of how much work was involved into writing and publishing a book, I plunged ahead into the project. It took about a year of our time but we did it…!  My wife had lots of notes and comments about the trip on her dairy, and many letters that she had writhen to my Mother in Law during the progress of the trip for over a year, I added my on thoughts and experiences and some of the kids recollections, and stared writing THE book. A number of times during the process, the wish that I had never stared, really crossed my mind, but the selfish inclination went away and the project went on, and as of today, a reality, the book is finish and published, and it is available in hard copy and E-book format for anybody who wants to read it, and hope enjoy it.
The book title is, ALL THE WAY TO ARGENTINA, it is the story of a family of seven driving a 24 foot motorhome, from Los Angeles, California following the Panamerican Highway all the way to Argentina and Brazil. Our motorhome, according to our knowledge, was the first ever to cross the Panama Canal in to South America.
 This reality brought about some funny and not so very funny experiences during the
Adventure. All of us learned something every day, and most important our kids did too, leaving for everybody the good feeling of accomplishment and unforgettable life understanding.