Yes, after several weeks I finally posted an update! In fact, I have several updates here which I've been working on lately. I've
been visiting my brother Don and his family in Manlius, New York, near Syracuse, for the past several days and have spent a lot of time here getting
caught up. I'm posting over 300 new photos since my last major round of updates 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 darn busy. Taking
a trip around the country can itself be pretty hectic, but then adding a website, e-mail, and digital photography processing 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 who've
stumbled across DelsJourney. I just wish I had more time to do it.
Before I left Portland, back in June, I had visions of blissfully relaxing in campgrounds around the country while leisurely 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, including from people who 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, please be patient with me in responding to e-mail. I currently have 42 e-mails from friends,
relatives, and website readers sitting unread and unanswered in my Inbox and am scrambling to reply.
I appreciate getting e-mail and will reply to every message I receive, but it takes me a while because I've been so busy traveling and writing about my
travels. Also, I don't have access to a modem very often, since I usually stay in campgrounds and not in motel rooms where I can plug into the phone
jack and access my mail.
My Trip So Far
Since leaving Utah six weeks ago, I've had 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 instead playing things by ear, so I probably won't get back
to the Northwest until late August or early September, a month later than I originally planned.
One of my goals for this trip was to visit southern Appalachia, a place that I'm not familiar with, and despite the hot and steamy weather there,
I had a great time (partly due to my steady diet of delicious Krispy Kreme donuts). Another goal was (and is) to do lots of family research on
this trip, and with the help of many kind-hearted folks in Mississippi, Tennessee, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, I've been doing that, as well.
A third goal was to take lots 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.
Another goal, as you may know, was to meet some of those wacky Survivor - Outback
cast members on this trip so I could get tips on surviving Australia's Outback, which I'm planning to visit soon. However, I missed the 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, 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 that old guy, Rodger. Oh well. Wisconsin is coming up, though, so I might look up Debb,
the pushy-but-sensitive prison guard. Poor Debb -- she married her stepson and then wonders why people think she's weird. Give her a
I finally learned how to create thumbnails. Thumbnails are small photos,
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
I've used thumbnails on all of my website updates. By using them, I've tripled
the number of photos that I can put on one page while cutting the page download time in half.
A Note About My Updates
I've been getting lots of e-mails lately from folks who are wondering when I'm going to update my website. I'm sorry for not updating
it more often but my trip has been hectic and there's been so much to do. I'm on the road for about 12 hours most days:
driving, visiting historic sites, taking pictures, getting groceries, and looking like a dork. I usually don't pull into a campground
until the early evening and then I make dinner by candlelight, process my 150-or-so digital photos from that day (download, convert
to .jpg, and rename), and plan my next day's trip while poring through my AAA TourBooks for ideas. By then, it's usually around
midnight and early 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, which is what I did in Austin, Roanoke,
and now at my brother's house here in Manlius, New York. I've learned that maintaining and updating a travel website is a lot more complicated
than I ever imagined, given the limitations in technology. That's probably why very few people have ever done it. So please be patient.
I've added some new pages to my website, including My Thanks This page includes a list of
folks who have made this trip possible. It's kind of like an acceptance speech at the Oscars, with all my "thank you's." But
I won't get all teary-eyed like Sally Field. "You like me. You really like me!"
I've also added several new pages in Close-Ups and have revised some of the older ones, especially since folks were
giving me flak about that comment I made about women from Tennessee. Hey, I never said that Tennessee women were unattractive (well, O.K., maybe I
implied it). Actually I met a lot of pretty women there. And, of course, I continually update my Humor
page with new funny photos that I see as I drive around the country.
Now, it's on with my update!
12 Days in Syracuse
I call this update "12 Days in Syracuse" because that's how long I've been here, getting caught up with everything. And I
decided to split this update into two sections because I have so many darn photos to post and stories to share. In my last update
(News: August 6, 2001), I had just arrived in Syracuse (actually Manlius -- a suburb of Syracuse)
to visit my brother Don, his wife Debbie, and their daughter Sarah. I've spent nearly two weeks here visiting them and seeing friends
in the Syracuse area, but now it's time to continue on my westward journey.
Don and Debbie
Above: Don and Debbie at their home in Manlius, with one of the many dinners we ate on
their back porch during my stay.
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. He even beat the pro golfer Johnny Miller in a high school tournament one summer when we lived (briefly)
in the Bay Area. Don went to Michigan State University where he met Debbie and they got married fresh out of college. Then
they spent four years in the Peace Corps teaching English on the sunny, palm-fringed atolls of Micronesia, out in the western Pacific
ocean. After returning to the U.S., they raised two girls, Caity and Sarah, and Don got his Ph.D. at Harvard, then he started
teaching at Syracuse University, which is why he's here.
One of my fondest memories of my teenage years is flying from my home in San Jose, California to Boston in 1976 to
spend Christmas with Don and Debbie in their small apartment in Cambridge. 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 something I'll never forget. It was so different from anything I'd ever seen and was a real eye-opening experience.
One evening, I showed Don and Debbie my truck's fancy stereo system with its 10 speakers
(plus subwoofer) and 200-watt amplifier, then I cranked up this song. This is The Manhattan Transfer
singing one of my all-time favorites, Boy From New York City.
I wish I had kept my eyes open on the flight back to San Jose, though, because someone stole my plane ticket for the connecting flight,
leaving me stranded in the Atlanta airport for two days. I nearly got hypothermia one evening while sleeping there next to the
large, sliding door, with sub-freezing air rushing in all night. The next morning I couldn't stop shaking for several hours,
and I still shiver when I think about that experience. Being a teenager, I didn't really know what to do, but my parents back in San
Jose thankfully sorted it all out and I finally got a plane ticket back to California.
I still remember my flight back to San Francisco because I sat next to the grandmother of NFL wide receiver, Lynn Swann. She was
going back home to South San Francisco and told me all about her famous grandson. She was a very proud grandma, hopefully as all grandmas
should be, and I could tell from her glowing stories that Lynn was quite a guy. I'm sure he still is.
Above left: Don and Debbie's house in Manlius, near Syracuse.
Above right: Don and Debbie with their daughter, Sarah, before Sarah's big weekend trip to Connecticut.
Above left: Don has always enjoyed fishing. This is in 1965 at Neah Bay, Washington. That's my
brother Dwight in the center and I'm on the right -- the smart one who's not holding any slimy fish.
Above center: That's Don six years later, during a family sailing trip in the San Juan Islands of
Washington, with a beard and 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 four-year stint with the Peace Corps in Micronesia.
Don has always loved catching fish. Even curved fish.
Above right: Don also likes fishing for pumpkins. This is Debbie, Sarah, Caity and Don, looking
for a pumpkin near Syracuse, during my visit in the fall of 1986. They're surrounded by a bunch of melonheads.
Cooking with the Iron Chef
Above: I spent a lot of time on their back porch getting caught up with my website
and email. That's their ever-faithful golden retriever, Cappy, watching out for apple-stealing squirrels.
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 off to distant countries to present 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. Each week it pits one
of the three Iron Chefs against a competitor in a 60-minute frenzy to prepare a five-course meal while commentators make insightful comments dubbed in
English. It's pretty hilarious.
Debbie, being the more sensible one, doesn't share Don's enthusiasm for "Iron Chef." She taught English to foreign students
(though not to any Iron Chefs) at Syracuse University for many years 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 well. They're both wonderful people, as are their
Above: I'm no Iron Chef, but I do make a decent chili. I often make a big pot of chili
when I visit them -- or two big pots, in this case. I've posted my recipe
Their daughter Sarah is a sophomore at Syracuse University and has lots of friends, so I didn't see her 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 Sarah out to dinner and we went to the deli at Wegman's grocery store -- yep, nothing but the best for my
niece. The best part about our dining experience was that it was 20 degrees cooler there than in their un-air-conditioned
house. By looking around the Wegman's food court that evening, I could tell which families in Manlius didn't have air
Don and Debbie's 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, over in Australia, 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 HER DRESS! I wanted
to put that embarrassing thought completely out of her mind, which I'm sure I've done. I like being a helpful uncle.
I had a nice visit with Don, Debbie and Sarah, as the photos here hopefully show, and spent most of my 12 days in Syracuse
catching up on my website and responding to e-mail. Don and Debbie have lived here for many years but recently Don landed
an endowed chair position at the University of Connecticut, so they've decided to move and were busy getting their house ready
to be put on the market. I pitched in whenever I could, trying not to do too much damage in the process.
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
extremely hot and humid. As always, I had a great time visiting Don and Debbie. And yes, watching "Iron Chef" was fun, too.
Above left: Here's "Iron Chef" Don grilling up some dinner.
Above right: Apples from one of their trees out back. I dug 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. Literally.
Above left: Cappy likes to keep a close eye on the refrigerator door, in case it ever opens.
Above right: Don blacktopping the driveway (and, eventually, his shoes), getting the house ready to be put on the market.