Sunday, June 25, 2023

Day 16 - Denver, CO to Salt Lake City, UT

 All good things must come to an end and here we are...  

We left the hotel bright and early and headed home. We made a stop in Laramie, Wyoming and voted for the Marsha Vilven Award. It was a beautiful day so we had to take a picture:

We passed around our tour yearbooks for everyone to sign. It was a bittersweet ride home.  Ed was with us in spirit on tour and Flat Ed was there sitting in the front row of the bus. 

Hanging out on the bus the last day:

Trying to get the cross stitch done!  

At last we arrived in Salt Lake City where we unloaded the bus, the luggage, and bells for the last time this season.  We set up in the church like we have for the last 2 week. Finally when everything was ready to go we went into the gym for a potluck with our families. We were all so excited to see everyone we didn't take any pictures.  Oops!  

After dinner we got dressed and headed to the last concert. It was packed with family, friends and Wesley Bell Ringer fans. The Beauty and the Beast medley was exciting as we had a special guest:

The seniors nailed their song, Hotel California, and were given a very enthusiastic standing ovation.  Then it was time for awards. The Marsha Vilven Award is given to the ringer who contributed the most to the choir over the year. This year the choir chose James as the recipient.  Good job James!   

The Honor Bell is given to choir members whi provide exceptional service to the choir. This year honor bells were given to Conner, James, Lily and Zooey.  Thank you for being such greater ringers and ambassadors! You all definitely deserved these honors:


Sadly, the last concert had to come to an end.  We took one last picture as the 2023 tour group:


We had an incredible time on this tour and had the opportunity to experience so many things: NASA to New Orleans, plantations to Pensacola, beaches to Bamahenge, Country Music Hall of Fame to Charleston, Savannah to Sumter, and the list goes on. 

Thank you to all of the ringers, their families, supporters, members of CUMC, alumni, Gina, Terry, and especially Katie. This is an amazing organization!  See you on tour next year!

Day 15 - Wichita, KS to Denver, CO

We played our last concert in the road in Wichita, spent the night in host homes, and started our journey toward Colorado. There were some games on the bus to help pass the time.

And some napping:

We had a choir dinner of delicious perogies:

Then it was off to Meow Wolf, an interactive art exhibit. It was an incredible place that really has to be seen in person to experience it. We had a great time exploring on our last night on the road:

We spent a few hours there which was so fun. After that we headed to the hotel and had some time for swimming.

The drive from Denver to home is a long one so we had to meet at the bus at 6:45am. Hotel breakfast wasn’t open yet so they put together grab and go bags of muffins, fruit and yogurt for us. Hard to believe tour is almost over and we'll be home soon. 

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Day 14 - Morrilton, AR to Wichita, KS

We packed up the bus in Morrilton, Arkansas and headed to Kansas. We had to drive through Oklahoma to get to Wichita so we were in 3 states today, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Oklahoma is home to Braum’s ice cream so we made sure to stop:

We also made a fun stop at a gas station with a dog park. We had to pose with a pup:

We played at First United Methodist Church in Wichita which was a beautiful building.

The organist demonstrated the organ for us and the sound was so impressive.  

The church made a taco bar dinner for us and we had Braum's ice cream sandwiches for dessert. 

We had some visitors for this concert. Dave Haun, ringer 56 who lives in Austin, Texas who played with Terry, tries to come to a concert whenever he can. This year he made the day-long drive in a car instead of his motorcycle. It's always nice to have alumni visit:

We also had some Manning family from Oklahoma come to see Conner ring for the first time. They made a 2 hour drive to see us:

Tonight was the last time staying at host homes this tour.  It's always fun to compare stories in the morning. Part of the fun of tour is having the opportunity to talk to new people and learn about them. Conner spoke with an engineer from an aviation company who recommended he apply for an internship they offer for engineering students. You never know how ringing bells may influence your life!

This morning we are heading to Denver for our last night. We'll see everyone on Sunday for the home concert!

Day 13 - Nashville, TN to Morrilton, AR

Today we had long drive day from Nashville to Morrilton, Arkansas  To  liven things up a bit we hit a grocery store for supplies and went to a state park for a picnic

Standing on the table to try and avoid ticks:

Lily loves lettuce!

Chloe found a turtle:

After our fun park adventure we made our way to Morrilton, Arkansas.  This is the 4th time we have played at this church. They are a very welcoming group and made us spaghetti for dinner with lime sherbet and cookies for dessert.  We earned two more standing ovations tonight. Everyone was impressed with our fine group of ringers.

Some of the group stayed at host homes and some stayed at the church. Some of us who stayed at the church went geocaching for some late night fun:

Tomorrow we have another long bus ride to Wichita as we make our way to Salt Lake City.