Monthly Archives: January 2013



“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it.” Ferris was right! We hit Chicago right after a freezing rain that left everything covered in a thin coat of glossy ice and parked our bus for a couple of days right on Lake Michigan at the Great Lakes Naval Station. What a view but boy, was it cold!

The Museum of Science and Industry is the largest science museum in the western hemisphere and one that I remember visiting as a kid. Lots of hands on experiments and great visuals, including a 3 story steam tornado and the only German U-boat on display in North America. After seeing our own heartbeats projected on the wall, out-relaxing each other at Mindball, and dogfighting in their flight simulator, we closed the museum down, as usual. It’s a great museum, and well worth the visit, but Science North is still our favorite!

Further north on Lakeshore Drive, right near the heart of the city, is the Art Institute of Chicago, a combination school and art museum with an extensive collection. We saw everything from the Old Masters to Jackson Pollock, including Wood’s American Gothic, six (!) of Monet’s haystacks, Chagall’s America Windows, and of course, Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte. It’s a fun and diverse collection that includes known treasures and some decidedly odd modern art. A big plywood box deserves its own room? Seriously? Still, we loved the creativity on display: paintings, sculptures, furniture, photographs, videos and more!

We were excited to add the Sears Tower to our list of Really High Places We’ve Been Around the World. Alas, it was not to be, not because it’s closed or gone or anything, but just because they’ve changed the name! The Willis Tower just doesn’t have the same ring to it so we just kept calling it by its old name. It was awesome! We arrived just as the sun was setting and all of Chicago was lighting up. We leaned out over the city Ferris Bueller style and did handstands with a view straight to the street over a hundred floors down.

We had deep dish Chicago pizza and walked along Lake Michigan one last time. We wanted to stay but had to go. Moving on down the road – places to go, people to see!

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We had a week of fun, reunions, and bus frustration in Michigan as we got some electrical issues resolved and met up with old friends. As much as we love the U.P., we love some people and places in Troll-land, too. And did we mention that Michigan is The Great Beer State? Well, it is. 🙂

Our first stop was Detroit. While our bus was in the shop we took the opportunity to visit the Henry Ford Museum. A museum that celebrates transportation and invention, it features fantastic collections of cars, trains, flying machines and other innovations of the industrial revolution. We loved the Driving America exhibit: celebrating road trips since 1865! We saw the Kennedy limousine, the Lincoln chair, and the bus in which Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat. We helped to assemble a real Model-T Ford, toured the Dymaxion house, and saw the traveling Lego Architecture exhibit that included models of Fallingwater, the Empire State Building, and the Sears Tower. We had to drag Bridger away – I think he’s having withdrawals. No Legos on the bus!

We met with old friends in Canton, then turned toward Battle Creek and Coldwater to see one of my childhood homes and more old friends. From there, off to Berrien Springs to visit MORE friends!

Friends visited on the way:
Sarah and Lindsay – friends from our first time in Germany, we hadn’t seen each other in 17 years!
Claralyn – her beautiful farm, her great lasagna, and lots of laughs. Carson told us later, “I love how Claralyn is always laughing!”
Brad – my first friend, now a law enforcement dog handler and instructor in Battle Creek
Deb and Corey and the kids – 13 horses, a giant dog, and a warm, welcoming kitchen with homemade donuts. What’s not to love? We had such a great time.
Jeff (Wayman) and Twyla – with 14 guitars and three Xboxes this was a fun house! We met Pepper and Dash and reminisced about the old days (all the way back to high school!)

We spent two great days with Jeff and Twyla. Ayrril and I have known Jeff since high school and he and I were suite mates our first year of college at Andrews. They introduced us to pupusas, gave us a tour of the university radio station where Jeff is program director, and invited us to the local volunteer firefighter pancake breakfast. It was a great time and we loved having a chance for our boys to get to know them.

All of our wonderful friends make us love Michigan all the more. We were sad to leave but we’re looking forward to coming back!

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Happy New Year!

So, after a couple of months cooling our heels we are happy to be brushing off the cobwebs and getting our road legs back under us. That means getting back into the rhythm of life on the road, including posting tales of our adventures for all of you. We’ve got a lot planned in the coming months and we’ll be adding more pictures, more places, more often!

After a crazy fun Christmas with the extended Boggess family in Ohio, we decided to ring in the New Year in Pittsburgh. Every year they block off the downtown Cultural District for a parade, food carts, street performers, live music and more. We counted down to midnight with a fun crowd on Penn Avenue, watched a spectacular fireworks show launched from the rooftops of the surrounding buildings, then danced in the street to a great brass band. Hello, 2013!!

Ayrril has wanted to see Fallingwater since she was 12 years old so on New Year’s Day we drove to Mill Run, Pennsylvania to visit the Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece. It’s an amazing place- open, warm and inviting. Even the boys were impressed. It wasn’t quite as cozy as our bus but it was still pretty nice.

Now we’re back in Michigan visiting friends and seeing some of my old stomping grounds. You might be thinking, “Michigan? In January? Are you crazy?” We’ve asked ourselves the same questions but couldn’t drag ourselves away just yet. It’s cold but snow covered and sunny right now so we’re loving it. We’re headed to Chicago next but eventually we’ll turn the bus toward warmer pastures – after Chicago it’s Philly, DC, and then Key West bound!

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New York state of mind

Here’s the Boggess Notes version of November 2012, plus or minus a couple of weeks: we parked the bus in Carrollton, Ohio at my parents’ house (aka The Lake House); I traveled to Seattle and Portland for work; Ayrril, Carson, and Bridger traveled to Las Vegas, Kingman, Flagstaff, Silver City, Las Cruces, and Phoenix for the Thanksgiving break; we all met back in Ohio in mid-December.

Before settling in for what proved to be a white Christmas in Ohio, we decided to hit New York City for some holiday cheer! The original plan had been to hit NYC on the way down from Boston, possibly en route to Philadelphia, but we have always wanted to be here during the holiday season. It did not disappoint!

We flew out of Pittsburgh on Bridger’s birthday, took a cab from the airport to our hotel, and immediately hit the town. Every street had Christmas lights, the store displays on 5th Avenue were amazing, and Times Square was lit up like, well, like Times Square! It was beautiful. On Monday we gave the Birthday Boy control for a day and he took full advantage. He and Carson played for a couple of hours in an arcade on Times Square, we crossed the street to watch the new movie Wreck-It Ralph, ate burgers and fries at Five Guys, and lost track of time playing the new WiiU in Nintendo World at Rockefeller Center. Dinner was a square and a slice near the hotel. It was Bridger’s dream day, and not so bad for the rest of us, either.

Over the next few days we walked in Central Park, went to the top of the Empire State Building, visited the World Trade Center Memorial, rode the ferry out past Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, watched people ice skating under the giant Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, went back to Nintendo World for another round of family games, and explored the American Museum of Natural History. Somewhere in there Ayrril and I even found time to hit a pub or two.

Hurricane Sandy did quite a number on New Jersey and New York, including Ellis Island, which is now closed for repairs until at least October 2013! The Statue of Liberty is also closed to visitors due to storm damage but the ferry took us right by her island as a brief rainstorm blew in off the Atlantic. Looking back toward Manhattan, we could see Freedom Tower at 1 World Trade Center rising above the skyline. It’s due to be completed in 2013 with a final height of 1776 feet.

The World Trade Center Memorial site was beautiful and powerful. Two square pools sit where the Twin Towers once stood, with water cascading continually into their centers from beneath granite retaining walls inscribed with 2983 names. It was a moving reminder of how precious and fragile our lives are and how quickly everything can change.

On Thursday we took advantage of a beautiful clear morning to view the city from the Empire State Building observation platform. The elevator was amazingly fast at moving us from street level to the 86th floor, but even more amazing was the lack of any line to get in – no waiting! Then we hopped the subway back to Central Park for one last pass through the Christmas market near Columbia Circle, a final walk in the park, and then headed back to the hotel to check out. Rather than calling us a taxi for the ride to JKF, the concierge offered use of the hotel car service. We stepped out to the sidewalk to discover that the hotel “car” was a white stretch limousine. Score! We piled in and ended our New York City holiday in style.

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