Blog » The Grand Adventure The official blog of Fri, 22 Aug 2014 19:28:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Great, Great, Great Grand Adventure: Counting Numbers in Dallas Wed, 19 Dec 2012 07:01:01 +0000 Rob Brown Read more]]> Days like 12/12/12 make us feel like life is all about the numbers. Since we embarked on this adventure six weeks ago, we have been consumed by numbers like miles per gallon, time and distance to our next destination, exit numbers, entrance fees, opening and closing times, travel time and of course counting to make sure we have all five of our kids.

Now, as we keep rolling forward on this adventure, the numbers just keep growing. We are now in Texas, and as the largest state in the lower 48, it is full of really big numbers. To get to this point, we have now traveled over 4,000 miles, camped in seven Walmart parking lots, collectively lost two teeth, been hospitalized once, made at least 10 repairs on our motorhome, and eaten out 100 times more than we ever did at home. BUT, I am beginning to understand that our family history adventure is about so much more than the numbers. For example, we just visited The 6th Floor Museum in Dallas, Texas where Lee Harvey Oswald carried out the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. As I saw and heard the sights and sounds of that fateful day, I thought of when my Dad told me exactly where he was and how he felt just after noon on November 22, 1963. I gained a whole new perspective as I experienced the 6th Floor Museum through my Dad’s eyes.

As we continue to travel from place to place, I am most excited for the chance to gain a new appreciation for my current and past family’s experiences.  As we walk where they walked and visit the times and places of our history, our ancestors are becoming less like numbers and a lot more like living, breathing people with feelings just like us and that is what makes this an adventure we will never forget.

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Sophie trying her luck with a cactus 2 6th floor museum1 6th floor museum 3 Cowboy Stadium - Rob with Motorhome Front entrance 2 Cowboy Stadium - Rob with Motorhome - big view 1 Cowboy Stadium - Kathy and Sophie with Motorhome and Flags (1) 4 Cowboy Stadium with Motorhome]]> 3
The Great, Great, Great Grand Adventure: Broken, But Not Beaten in Little Rock Tue, 18 Dec 2012 18:21:09 +0000 Rob Brown Read more]]> Before we began this adventure, we talked to a number of seasoned travelers about our plans to go across the country in a motorhome as a family. We were surprised to hear in response from these road warrior veterans a number of warnings about the challenges of hitting the road. After our visit to Little Rock we believe every word.

We were trying to make up for lost time since we had stayed longer than expected in Memphis and Nashville, but we knew we couldn’t go through Little Rock without seeing Central High School and the Old State House. As we pulled into town, it was late afternoon and we went straight to Central High. We knew before we left home that this trip would give us opportunities to teach our kids about different races and cultures and the important principle that “all men are created equal”. We are never sure if our children really understand or remember much from all the stops we are making along the way, but for some reason, even though we were at what seemed like a pretty normal high school, they seemed to appreciate what the Little Rock Integration Crisis of 1957 was all about. We had already begun learning about the civil rights movement in Memphis when we visited the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot. Now, as we visited a school where children were affected by the evils of racism, it seemed to have an even deeper level of meaning for our kids.

Next stop was the Old State House and it was really beautiful, but unfortunately we didn’t have as much time there as we would have liked. We hit the road in the dark with our sites set on Dallas, Texas when we heard a strange noise and felt a big bump in the rear of our motorhome. We limped along the road and up the off-ramp into Benton, Arkansas until we could find a place to get our big rig out of traffic. It was here that we discovered that both of our rear airbags had broken away from the axle and needed to be replaced. To make a very long story short, we were stuck there in that parking lot for three days before we could get the part and the mechanic and the motor home all in the same place at the same time. It wasn’t a very complicated repair, but it was expensive, and not much fun hanging out under the motor home for several hours in the grease and the 27 degree weather. However, this cloud did have a silver lining. We also had more time to experience and enjoy Little Rock. On Saturday we went to The Big Dam Bridge, the William Clinton Presidential Museum and had a great dinner at The Flying Fish Restaurant downtown. On Sunday we made new friends at church and were invited to Sunday dinner at their home. Although it is a strange experience to camp in a parking lot for three days, the owners of the property were very kind and even called us on Sunday afternoon to ask if there was anything they could do to help us! All in all we look back on our experiences in Little Rock with a smile. We experienced another great city and overcame some difficult challenges that brought us closer together, and have grown to appreciate the people whose generosity, concern and kindness have made our lives just a little sweeter.

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14 Little Rock - big dam bridge kids 5 Little Rock Breakdown - Lucky's Tow Truck 8 Little Rock Breakdown - new parts have arrived 15 Little Rock - big dam bridge 6 Little Rock Breakdown - mechanics making the repair 4 Little Rock Breakdown - airbag shot2 7 Little Rock Breakdown - mechanics making the repair2 16 Little Rock - Flying Fish Restaurant 2 Little Rock - Sophie at Central High School 12 Little Rock - big dam bridge family3 3 Little Rock Breakdown - airbag shot 10 Little Rock - big dam bridge family 1 Central High School - Audrey 9 Little Rock - big dam bridge - Sophie 13 Little Rock - big dam bridge george



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The Great, Great, Great Grand Adventure: Nauvoo Blacksmith Shop – George Brown Mon, 03 Dec 2012 17:57:29 +0000 Rob Brown Read more]]> We had a great experience in Nauvoo, Illinois. Not only did we make some amazing family history discoveries on Kathy’s side of the family, but we were able to experience so many different trades relevant to the life of a frontier pioneer in the mid 1800’s.

One in particular was of most interest to us because of how it related to my ancestor George Brown. George Brown was a blacksmith in the 1800’s and after making this discovery it made our experience at the blacksmith shop in old Nauvoo so much more interesting. I felt like I could see into the past and understand what it must have really been like for my Great Great Grandpa Brown as a blacksmith. As someone who has owned his own small business for the past 13 years, I could see that in a lot of ways things haven’t changed very much in the last 150 years. I am sure that my great great grandfather had a lot of the same challenges running his business that I have had running mine. Customers must have wanted things done yesterday. I am sure that some of his customers probably paid very well, while some probably didn’t pay  at al. I’m sure that he had employees that needed to be trained and retrained to get the job done just right.

 I couldn’t help but wonder, while we were watching the blacksmithing demonstrations, what kind of a person he must have been. I wanted to know how he decided to become a blacksmith, was there someone in his life who influenced him to pursue this trade or did he discover at some point early in his life that he was good at the trade and so he stayed with it throughout the remainder of his life. This is what is so amazing about this trip and what is so amazing about doing family history. We make these insightful discoveries on and then we can go out the next day and live a little in the life of that very ancestor. As I look back over the photos we have taken so far on this trip, I feel like a sponge that just wants to soak in as much as I possibly can. I am grateful for the example of George Brown and for the contribution he made to the lives of those in his community and family and now for the contribution he has made to my life. Thanks Grandpa George!

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