Sunday, June 26, 2016

Day 15 - Loveland to Lander Wyoming

Day 15 - In the middle of today’s drive we stopped for the choir lunch.  The site was Rose’s Lariat, a tiny Mexican restaurant in Rawlins Wyoming.  It didn’t look big enough to accommodate our group, but in fact they did a great job of getting the food out.  Lunch today was on the choir, a thank you for everyone’s hard work. 

Then we briefly passed through Lander and stopped off at the Sinks, and the Rise. This is a spot where a roaring river disappears into the ground, only to make its way through the earth and bubble up again a quarter mile down the road.  Beautiful and educational and geological.

We arrived at First Methodist in Lander for the concert, enjoyed a wonderful meal and the kids played another great concert.  They earned another mid concert standing O after Stars and Stripes. 

Here are some photos to send you on your way:

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Day 14 - Denver to Loveland Colorado

First, a bit of choir expectations.  We treat hotels just like we do host homes. In the morning rooms are expected to be clean and beds made.  The Wesley Bell Ringers will be back again this way some day, and we want to leave a positive impression everywhere we go.  One pic of a hotel room as we were leaving is included below.

Another choir tradition took place this morning as Katie took all the Seniors and Super Seniors out to brunch since we didn't need as early a start.  Day 13 was our longest travel day of the trip, day 14 the shortest.

Once underway we stopped in the morning for a tour of the Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory.  We got a really interesting private tour of the facility, and were released into the gift shop.  The prices were more like an outlet store, so of course we all bought enough tea to last through the next decade.

We then traveled on and stopped for some free time at Boyd Lake State Park.  This was a nice lake and park.  Today was the annual tour picnic.  A selected group of kids go with Ed to shop for all the fixings.  Lunch was great.  The highlight of the afternoon was meeting Joe, a 60's throw back who joined us for a fun game of volleyball.  It was a really nice and relaxing afternoon.

We then made our way to First Methodist in Loveland, which is Steve and Bev Goodier's church.  Steve and Bev remembered many choir members from when they were much younger and it was great to catch up with them.   The choir got ready in the children's hall.

The choir played a great concert to our largest crowd of the trip.  They got another standing ovation after the star spangled banner, as well as at the end of the show.  Jenn, Marco and Ryan all had family and friends at the concert. Former ringer and Katie's friend Annie Wallin also made it to the concert.

Janette worked with Steve at CUMC and then at the District Office and Eric and Janette, along with Alicia and Alexis stayed at their house.  Steve and Bev have been at Loveland for a year and are very happy to be back in a church.  Bev's health issues have been resolved and she is feeling great.

Steve gave a great talk and prayer to send us on our way on Day 15.

In some museums, photos aren't allowed. Fortunately that isn't the case today:

Lucky 13 – A travel day with an important stop. Lawrence to Denver

Day 13 - Today was Alicia G's birthday and she came on the bus to find the birthday fairies had decorated her bus seat, and the choir treated her to a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday to You.

Just an hour out of Lawrence we stopped off at the little town of Wamego.  The Wamego City Cemetery is the resting place of Marsha Vilven, one of the original 9 Wesley’s.  Marsha passed away shortly after graduating from the choir, and funds donated to her memorial we used to purchase a special set of bells.  For many years there were two distinct choirs, the Wesleys, and the Marsha Vilven Memorial Choir.  Later they merged into one, and the Marsha Vilven award was created out of respect to Marsha, who was a hard working and important original choir member.

This is the most important recognition the choir gives, going to the single ringer who did the most this year for the choir, as voted on by the members of the choir.

Following a short devotional by Ed, the story of the dragonfly in the stars, and a prayer by Katie, the choir voted for this year’s Marsha Vilven award by Marsha’s graveside.  It is a secret ballot and the award will be announced at the home concert.  It was a special moment and memorial for the choir.

Seven hours of drive time later we arrived in Denver in time for the kids to be cut loose for dinner on 16th street.  Swimming in the hotel pool followed, and we wrapped up our longest travel day of the trip.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Day 12 - Through the gateway to the west and on to Lawrence Kansas

We started day 12 with a short drive to the Gateway Arch.  We traveled up in tiny pod elevators to the look outs 630 feet above the city.  Our driver Zack tagged along.  The construction of this remarkable monument is fascinating.  Eric got it rocking from one side to the other.

On the way to Lawrence we stopped off in Kansas City, not that one, the other one, for Katie's favorite ice cream - Glace Artisan.  If you ever get there, try the saffron and rose petal, not to be missed.  Gina also offered roadside haircuts, right in front of the barber shop by Glace.

We were greeted warmly in Lawrence and the kids played another wonderful concert to a responsive and appreciative audience.  This is the Walzel's church. Bob was out of town but we were thrilled to see Marcie.

Back when they painted portraits, they just left off the imperfections.  No photoshop needed, not that it's ever needed.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Eleventh Day - Cincinnati to Chesterfield Missouri, just outside St. Louis

Day 11 - After the morning drive we stopped at Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby.  We toured the museum, saw a retired thoroughbred, lots of crazy hats and someone may have taken some dirt from the actual racetrack.  We saw a newly installed movie on a screen that wraps around you 360 degrees.  You sit on a stool that you can rotate to see the movie from all angles.  Very cool.  It is apparently the most advanced digital screen in the world.  Kids, and some adults, dressed up as jockeys and climbed on horses and had a good time.

After a longer afternoon drive, made more entertaining because of a wonderful care package sent by Marci Fjelstad, we arrived in Chesterfield for tonight's concert.  It was another lovely church with a beautiful sanctuary.  The choir is performing in some amazing places on this tour.  We had our first pasta dinner, appreciated by all, and had a goodish crowd for the concert.  

The kids have gotten a standing ovation at every concert, but tonight they got two - the first after their no sheet music rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.  

We welcomed a couple of former ringers to the concert.  Dave Haun, who makes a trip to see the choir nearly every summer, drove up from Texas.  In total he's traveled over 20,000 miles over the years to attend concerts, over 16,000 of them by motorbike.  This year it was an over 800 mile trip by car.  Dave brought his daughter from Texas, and former ringer Stephanie Liebman also attended with her family in tow.

Jenn had friends and family in town for the concert as well, and Terry Waite's mother in law came and said hello to everyone and Mike Hampton's cousin was also in attendance.  

Ed reminded everyone who is really in charge.
See if you can spot the several places in which we photoshopped these images: