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August 8, 2001 -- 12 Days in Syracuse  (Part 1) < Previous News  |  Next News >



Yes, I finally posted a website update.  In fact, I have several updates here which I've been working on while "on the road," but which I only recently finished.  I've been visiting my brother Don and his family in Manlius, New York near Syracuse for the past several days and I've spent some time here getting caught up.  I'm posting over 300 new photos since my last update in Utah, so I broke things up by writing entries for every few days of my journey.  Here's a list of my most recent updates in chronological order:

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to update my website or respond to any e-mail for a while because I've been so busy.  Taking a trip around the country can itself be pretty hectic, and then adding a website, e-mail, and digital photography on top of that makes things downright crazy!  My trip has been fun though, and I really enjoy working on the website and corresponding with folks... I only wish I had more time to spend doing it. 


Before I left Portland in June, I had visions of blissfully relaxing in campgrounds around the country while working on my website... yeah, right!  However, I'm sure that you folks slaving away at your jobs don't want to hear me moaning about my "problems," so I'll move on.  


A Note About E-Mail

I really enjoy getting e-mail from everyone, including people I meet on the road.  In fact, I got one this week from the doorman at the "Cheers" bar in Boston whom I met a few weeks ago.  However, I know I've already said this but please be patient with me in responding to e-mail.  I'm not trying to sound like Mr. Popular, but I currently have 42 unanswered e-mails from relatives, friends, and acquaintances sitting in my Inbox..  


I really appreciate getting e-mail and will reply to every message I receive.  It just takes me a while because I've been pretty busy.  Furthermore, I don't have a modem connection very often since I usually stay in campgrounds, so please don't get miffed if I don't respond immediately.  E-mail has an implied urgency that I don't care for, so I purposely treat e-mail like snail mail.


My Trip So Far

Since leaving Utah six weeks ago, I've had a lot of fun driving east to Virginia, then north to Massachusetts, and now heading back to the Pacific Northwest.  As I said earlier, I threw my U.S. trip schedule out the window and am playing things by ear, so I probably won't get back to the Northwest until late August or early September, a full month later than originally planned.  


One of my goals for this trip was to visit southern Appalachia, a place that I'm not very familiar with and, despite the hot and steamy weather, I had a good time there.  Of course, that was partly due to my steady diet of delicious Krispy Kreme donuts.  Another goal was (and is) to do a lot of family research, and with the help of many kind-hearted folks in Mississippi, Tennessee, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, I've been doing that as well.  I also wanted to take a lot of pictures around the U.S. with my new Canon digital camera, and I've now shot over 5,000 pictures since leaving Oregon two months ago.


As you may know, another goal was to meet some of those wacky Australia Survivor cast members on this trip so I could get some tips on surviving the Australian Outback.  However, I missed that evil Jerri in L.A., the weird, flag-waving Colby in Texas, the Doritos-loving Tina in Knoxville, Jerri's cute-but-evil twin sister Amber in Beaver, Pennsylvania (no jokes, please), and that lazier-than-thou guy, Nick, at Harvard.  However, I might go back to Boston to try to find Elisabeth because she was pretty nice, but I think she still has a crush on old Rodger.  Oh well, Wisconsin is coming up so I might look up Debb, the pushy-yet-sensitive prison guard.  Poor Debb: she married her son (well O.K., step-son) and then wonders why people think she's strange.  Give her a hankie. 


Thumbnails, Finally!

I finally learned how to use thumbnails.  Thumbnails are small photographs, such as the ones on this page, that are used to speed up download times.  If you click on them, they open up a larger, identical photograph.  After viewing the photo, you can click on the Back Arrow to get back to the previous screen.  


I've used thumbnails on all eight of my website updates since June 18 and on all of the newer "Close-Ups" pages, and I'll continue to use them on my website.  By using thumbnails, I've tripled the number of photos that I can put on one page while cutting the page download time in half, not a bad deal.


A Note About My Updates

I've been getting some e-mails lately from folks who are wondering when I'm going to update my website.  I apologize for not updating it more often, but my trip has been pretty hectic and there's been so much to do.  Most days, I'm on the road for about 12 hours (driving, visiting historic sites, taking pictures, getting groceries, looking like a dork, etc.), and I often don't pull into a campground until 8 p.m. or so.  In the evenings, I make dinner by candlelight, process my 150-or-so digital photos from that day (download, convert to .jpg, and rename), and plan the next day's trip while poring over my AAA TourBooks.  By then, it's usually around midnight, and the next morning I'm off again.


The only time that I have to update my website, therefore, is when I stay in one place for a while, such as at Austin, Roanoke, and here in Manlius, New York.  In addition, I've discovered that maintaining a travel website is a lot more complicated than I imagined... which is probably why more people don't do it.  So please be patient.


By the way, if you notice any glitches, please let me know so I can fix them.  I'm writing this using FrontPage 2000 for use with Internet Explorer.  Other browsers may experience some difficulties since I'm still learning about web design and don't know all the tricks yet.


New Pages

I've added a few new pages to my website, including:

  • Trip Summary   This is a summary of my trip, for readers who just want a quick overview of what's going on.

  • My Thanks   This includes a list of folks who have made this trip possible... kind of like an acceptance speech at the Oscars, I guess!  But I won't get all teary like Sally Field.  You like me, you really, really like me!!

I've also added a lot of new pages in Close-Ups and have revised some of the old ones, especially since folks were giving me flak about that comment I made about women from Tennessee.  Hey, I never said that Tennessee women weren't attractive (well, O.K., perhaps I implied it), but actually I met a lot of pretty women there.  And, of course, I continually update the Humor page with new funny photos that I see as I drive around the country.


Now, on with my update! 



I call this page "12 Days in Syracuse" and I've split it into two sections because I have so many darn photos to post.  In my last update (News: August 6, 2001), I had just arrived in Syracuse, New York to visit my brother Don, his wife Debbie, and their daughter Sarah.  I spent 12 restful days there visiting them and seeing friends in the Syracuse area before continuing on to Oregon.  Don and Debbie actually live in nearby Manlius but not many people know where Manlius is, so I'll just say Syracuse.  


By the way, and I don't know how this got started, but Syracuse is one of many cities in upstate New York with a Greco-Roman name, such as Rome, Cicero, and, my favorite name, Pompey.  It's not pronounced "Pom-PAY," as it is in Italy, but just plain old "POM-pea."  That always cracks me up.


Don, Debbie and The Iron Chef

I've known my brother Don for, well, my whole life.  He won't mention it, but he was one of the best high school golfers in the state of Michigan, even beating Johnny Miller once, and went to Michigan State University where he met Debbie.  They got married fresh out of college and then spent four years in the Peace Corps teaching English on the sunny, palm-fringed atolls of Micronesia.  After returning to the U.S., they raised two girls, Caity and Sarah, and Don got his Ph.D. at Harvard, then started teaching at Syracuse University.


Here's that classic from The Hollies, He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother

Requires a RealPlayerIf problems, see Help.


One of my fondest teenage memories is flying from my home in San Jose, California to Boston, Massachusetts in 1976 to spend Christmas with Don and Debbie in their small apartment in Cambridge when I was in high school and when Don was going to Harvard.  I had grown up in the sunny California suburbs, so visiting Boston in the winter and riding the subways, going to the Boston Pops Christmas concert, and all the rest of it was a real eye-opening experience.  


I wish I had kept my eyes open on the flight back to San Jose, though, because someone lifted my ticket for my connecting flight and I was stranded in the Atlanta airport for a couple days and nearly got hypothermia while sleeping there next to the large, sliding door, but that's another story.  On the flight back to San Jose, though, I got to sit next to Lynn Swann's grandmother.  Wow!  I know you're impressed.   



Above left:  Don and Debbie's house in Manlius, near Syracuse.

Above center:  Don and Debbie with their daughter, Sarah, before Sarah's weekend trip to Connecticut. 

Above right:  One of our many dinners on the back porch.



Above left:  Some incriminating photos.  This is Don's high school Senior Day on the shores of Lake Michigan in 1965.  I think Don has some explaining to do, not just about the girls but also about the guy.

Above center:  Don six years later, during a family sailing trip in the San Juan Islands of Washington.  That's him with the beard and the curved fish... it had been in the cooler for a while (the fish, that is, not the beard).  This was a few years after Don and Debbie got married, during a break from their 4-year stint with the Peace Corps in Micronesia.  Don has always enjoyed catching fish... even curved fish.

Above right:  L-to-R, Debbie, Sarah, Katie (now Caity), and Don, looking for a pumpkin near Syracuse, during my visit in the fall of 1986.  That guy with the guitar is a distant relative of ours... a real melonhead.


Not to brag, but my brother Don is one of the leading authorities on teaching students and teachers how to use the Internet in classrooms, and he's always flying to distant countries to give papers.  His other passions include fishing, apple trees and, most recently, watching the Food Network's show, "Iron Chef," which I saw for the first time while visiting them.  For unenlightened readers, "Iron Chef" is a Japanese food competition filmed in front of a studio audience and each week pits one of the three Iron Chefs against a competitor in a 60-minute frenzy to prepare a 5-course meal while commentators make insightful comments dubbed in English.  It's all pretty hilarious.


Debbie, being the more sensible one, doesn't share Don's enthusiasm for "Iron Chef."  She's taught English to foreign students at Syracuse for many years (though probably not to any Iron Chefs) and enjoys working in her garden during her spare time.  Like Don, Debbie is very considerate and thoughtful and she and I have always gotten along very well.  In fact, they're both really wonderful people, as are their girls. 


Speaking of their daughters, Sarah is a sophomore at Syracuse University and has lots of friends, so I didn't see her too much during the evenings.  She enjoys studying Latin and playing football (and has a heck of an arm).  One hot and sticky evening, I offered to take her out to dinner and we went to the deli at Wegman's grocery store... nothing but the best for my niece.  Actually they have a nice dining area there and, the best part, it was about 20 degrees cooler there than in their un-air-conditioned house.  By looking around the Wegman's dining area that evening, you could tell which families in Manlius didn't have air conditioning.


Their older daughter, Caity, lives in the Washington D.C. area now and will be getting married in November.  As it turns out, I'm going to be exactly halfway around the globe when she gets married, but I've told her that it's nothing personal.  I've also told Caity that as she walks up the aisle, DON'T TRIP ON THE DRESS!  Anyway, I just wanted to put that thought completely out of her mind, which I'm sure I've done.


I had a real nice visit with Don, Debbie and Sarah, as the photos show.  I spent most of my time here catching up on my website and responding to some e-mail.  Don and Debbie have been in Syracuse for many years but recently Don landed an endowed chair position at the University of Connecticut, so they've decided to move and they were pretty busy getting their house ready to be put on the market.  I pitched in whenever I could, not doing too much damage in the process, and had a good time helping out.  


After traveling almost non-stop for two months, it was nice to be stationary for a few weeks and to get caught up on things, even if it was pretty hot and humid.  As always, I had a great time visiting with Don and Debbie... and watching "Iron Chef."



Above left:  Here's "Iron Chef" Don grilling up some dinner.

Above center:  I spent a lot of time here on their back porch getting caught up with my website and e-mail.  That's their ever-faithful golden retriever, Cappy, watching out for apple-stealing squirrels.

Above right:  Apples from one of their trees out back.  I helped dig the hole for this tree several years ago and when the first crop came in, Don boxed several apples and Fed-Exed them to me in Portland.  They were Delicious.



Above left:  Cappy keeping a close eye on the refrigerator.

Above center:  Don blacktopping the driveway (and, eventually, his shoes), getting the house ready to be put on the market.

Above right:  I'm no Iron Chef, but I do make a pretty mean chili.  It's so mean that it's downright obnoxious.  I often make a big pot of chili when I visit them... or two big pots, in this case.  I've posted my recipe at Del's chili.


For the rest of my 12 Days in Syracuse, including stories about cemeteries, dead horses, and bloody sheets, see August 8, 2001  (12 Days in Syracuse: Part 2).




Next News

August 8, 2001  (12 Days in Syracuse: Part 2)



Previous News

August 6, 2001  (Manlius, New York)

July 23, 2001  (Middleton, Massachusetts)

July 22, 2001  (Boston, Massachusetts)

July 20, 2001  (Pomfret, Connecticut)

July 18, 2001  (Denton, Maryland)

July 16, 2001  (Cumberland, Virginia)

July 14, 2001  (Roanoke, Virginia)

July 9, 2001  (Sevierville, Tennessee)

July 8, 2001  (Fontana Lake, North Carolina)

July 5, 2001  (Manchester, Tennessee)

June 30, 2001  (Hohenwald, Tennessee)

June 29, 2001  (Corinth, Mississippi)

June 27, 2001  (Natchez, Mississippi)

June 24, 2001  (Austin, Texas)

June 20, 2001  (Canyon de Chelly, Arizona)

June 18, 2001  (Clay Canyon, Utah)

June 15, 2001 -- Part 2  (Zion Nat'l Park, Utah)

June 15, 2001 -- Part 1  (Zion Nat'l Park, Utah)

June 14, 2001  (San Diego, California)

June 11, 2001  (San Jose, California)

June 2, 2001  (Bellingham, Washington)

May 19, 2001  (Hillsboro, Oregon)

April 30, 2001  (Hillsboro, Oregon)

April 19, 2001  (Bellingham, Washington)

April 5, 2001  (Bellingham, Washington) 


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