Fourth of July in Elkhart     This trip was like so many others I've taken in the past, except now it is much harder. I used to travel light and alone, pack my bag on Friday morning, then, after a stressful day, shed the stress and traffic as I left town. I'd drive as far as I could each day, and when time would allow, drop in on aging relatives and friends. 
     Now it is different--much harder. I call this my Grand Tour because I planned to see so many family and old friends. It had been five years since I visited
Wisconsin and many years since I'd seen some of the people I planned to see. I may not be able to take such a trip again. Diann Massingill, a custodian in our building, had expressed her desire to travel with me.  Beh was pressed with her business and couldn't go. So, I decided to leave July 14 and plan enough time so, with Diann's help, I could see everyone. Beh suddenly decided to go, moving the trip up two weeks, and I rushed to contact everyone. To my surprise, the trip fell into place quite well, and we were on our way.
7/1/00       Got a good start because Diann stayed over and Beh knew what to pack and stayed up late to pack it. I drove all day as we took I-10 to Louisiana, to I-55 north into Mississippi. We hit heavy rain four times; but each time, it turned hot and sunny again. The only leak was when I bent to exercise at a gas station and the cap to my full urine bag popped. Luckily I was outside at the time.
     We arrived early to the brand new Jameson Inn in Grenada, MS.  My cousin, Danila Ousley, had called five places before she found this new one in the busy resort town. The breakfast room was superb, and the bathroom was the best of our whole trip. 
     After we cleaned up and got some food, Danila, Jeff, and their hyper little son came to see us. I showed them how I worked the ramp. It quit working the next morning. Fortunately, it is easy to operate manually.
Jameson Inn

Jameson Inn in Grenada, MS

With Beh at Grenada

With Beh in Grenada

 
Jeff and Danila Ousley

Jeff and Danila Ousley

At Bruce Hull's                                                                                   at Grant                                                                                               Village

Nancy, Alan, and Bruce Hull

7/2/00       It was cool and traffic was very light through Memphis.  Beh began driving when we left Nashville. At Bowling Green, I plotted a course north on scenic 259. It took some doing, but we found 259 by taking several other roads.  As we drove up and down through farms and villages, it reminded me of West Virginia. The cemeteries were adorned with fresh flowers and little houses close by the roadside presented a mural of rural America.
     The connecting road to 88 was shorter than I thought. Uncle Bruce Hull's place was just ahead on the left--or so I thought. Three miles later, we stopped at a bait shop/gas station to ask where Decker Road was. An old pickup, spewing steam and water, pulled up, and a group of blond occupants spilled out.  I yelled out for help, and a blond guy with no shirt, a drawl, and an inbred look, said he didn't know, but went inside for help. Shortly, he came out and told us to go the three miles back. 
     Sure enough, where I'd seen Scruggs Road, Decker Road split to the right a half block from 88. We were looking for 442.  We passed 500, then, down around a barn to 800; so, we turned around.
Back at 500, we met a pickup. The guy in it said he lived there but didn't know Bruce Hull. He said that Decker Lane was the third blacktop road to the left. We headed back where we'd come and soon arrived at the bait shop again.
     I called Uncle Bruce on BehÝs cell phone--got him twice--got  cut off both times.
Diann at Roger's House

Diann Enjoying Roger's Lawn

     Diann decided to go in to call. She came back with directions to the opposite side of 88. Back the way we'd come to a side road, left to Decker Lane, then Bruce's mailbox told me where they were. My MapQuest maps were good, but I should have known when the computer changed Decker Lane to ýRoadţ.  We lost an hour, but got reacquainted with my surprised Uncle after 25 years.
     He and his wife, Nancy, are retired eight years from Chicago. His thirteen acres comprise a project with garages and sheds joined to his mobile home with decking all around. He has an ATV, small bulldozer, rust free '54 Plymouth, pontoon boat, and his son Larry's dragster for projects. His son, Alan, has Ryder's syndrome (cartilage deterioration) and stays in a small house on the property.
Diann on Steps

Diann Descends from the Back Deck

     We arrived in Louisville to a spacious Motel 6 room with a tub--I couldn't take a shower. I called Behram Randelia again, but no one was home.
     We found something to eat and settled in for the night.  Daraius called.  He was house sitting for his parents, who were touring China for ten days--my bad timing.
     They almost hadn't gone. Xerxes was married in June. His bride is Russian. He has a degree in English. Both are continuing on to graduate school. Soon after the wedding, Daraius felt weak and couldn't breathe. He had an inverted heart at birth, heart surgery as a baby, and now, at 29, a pace maker inserted. He may have to get a new heart valve in the future. 
     Cyrus, a civil engineer, has spent the last two years in Alaska working on projects and pursuing his loves, hunting and fishing.
Beh on Lawn

Beh Enjoys the Lush Lawn

While Roger and Friend Carry My Ramp


Ron and Beh

Getting Ready to Ride 

Diann on Boat

Diann's First Ride on a Pontoon

Roger and Friend                                                                             Inn

Roger Gets Us Underway

7/3/00      We got a good start the next morning and arrived early to Cincinnati. As we passed Riverfront Stadium on I-75, I urged her to pull off into the river front area so that we could see the pig sculptures, but Beh pushed on to a gas stop with no pigs. 
     We arrived a my cousin Debbie Goessel's home in Dayton at 11:20. Debbie had emailed me that she'd have lunch for us. She wasn't there. We waited in intermittent rain for over an hour. After talking to two neighbors and following one to her workplace, we left. Debbie emailed us after we got back that she forgot we were coming and went grocery shopping. 
     We had good road through the Indiana countryside.
Watching one dark storm cloud, we passed what appeared to be a funnel cloud extending from it--I'd never seen that before--watched it for a few miles.  We arrived at Roger and Sue's in 5 o'clock traffic. Roger used a folding table to get me into the house, then onto the deck where they had been playing cards with another couple.
     They decided we should go for a pontoon boat ride, so it was down off the deck on the table top, then down the lawn to the boat. The table was too wide; but with a little push, I was floating. It was a gorgeous evening as we followed the shoreline and Sue and Roger described the houses to us. Some of them belong to Sue's family. We saw Sue's son, Robert, and his new jet boat, capable of over 70 mph.
     Roger pulled the glass doors off the guest room shower and Sue found a plastic chair for me to sit on in it.  Everything worked well until I got up to transfer from the chair to my wheelchair.  The plastic chair flipped upside down, making a terrible racket.  Sue came running, wondering if I was all right.
Rob, Sue's Son's New Boat
 

Rob, Sue's Son, Shows off His New Boat


 

Home on the St. Joseph River


Beautiful Homes Line the St. Joe River

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