Sunday, July 3, 2016

Day 17: Home Sweet Home

Another annual Short Family Reunion has come and gone. We made it home at about 7:00 PM EST. We had another rainy day but made it home safe and sound. As with every trip of this sort, it is good to be home, but we miss all of our loved ones that we were able to spend time with. It is so hard having family spread all around the world because it is so hard to see them as often as we would like. I am thankful that we live in the day that we do so that we can stay connected so much easier.

I must admit, I have a real trooper for a wife. She was an awesome passenger and partner for 5,202 miles on the back of a motorcycle. This trip was a little bit more challenging than some of our others because our communications system between the helmets started acting up and we were not able to communicate as much as we would have liked. By the end of the trip, we had no connectivity at all. We are already talking about some of our next trips on the bike and one of the first things that we will replace will be this system.

Final results of the trip!

This year we traveled through 12 states.

For those of you, who followed our journey...Thank You! Remember, life is about the journey and not the destination. Enjoy the journey and share as much of it as you can with your loved ones.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Day 16: Rainy Day

Today was another long day, running about 530 miles. Fairly uneventful except for about 400 of those miles being in the rain, sometimes misty and sometimes hard. As with every long distance ride, we have to always plan to be flexible. On our first full day headed East we had 104 degrees most of the way and today mid-60's and rain. We live in such an awesome country with so much variability. I love so much being able to freely travel around at will.

A beautiful rainy summer day in Nebraska.

Laura took a picture of my view during the ride.

Ah, the joy of finishing up a long ride at dinner with your lovely wife...and of course she has the camera!

We ended up dropping back down to 80 so that we would miss the storms.

Day 15: The Adventure Home

Today was quite the adventure as we started our main push for home. We rested in a little longer than normal, which was probably a good thing. The route we chose was a little more direct so that we could optimize our time. That too seems to have been a good choice. The weather was beautiful in Cody and for most of our drive across Wyoming. The fun started as we entered into Nebraska.

See that red hook by Gering? We followed the edge of that storm as the GPS vectored us through the countryside. Laura kept wondering if it was going to drop into a funnel cloud. We only encountered a few sprinkles along the way, but apparently the core of the storm dropped 3-4 inches of rain along its path.

Laura's snapshot of the storm.

We made it to our destination, North Platte, Nebraska, about 11:00 PM just to find out that all of the hotels in the entire town were booked. Traveling on a motorcycle in this kind of variable weather makes it a little difficult to book ahead because you never know when you might have to stop early. Fortunately we found a hotel in the next town and put in a little over 600 miles. It looks like the adventure will continue as bad weather continues to settle in on the way home.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Day 14: Yellowstone National Park

One of the things that I enjoy so much about riding a motorcycle is that it puts you right in the middle of your surroundings. Today we spent most of the day riding through Yellowstone National Park. I would encourage everyone to put a visit to this park on their bucket list. I will let the pictures below tell the story.

The day started off looking like we might have a rainy day. We had a couple of false starts and ended up with beautiful blue skies most of the day.

First stop was some of the smaller geysers and boiling mud pots. Having grown up in Northern California and oft e visiting Mt. Lassen, an active volcano, this area brought back many memories.

Here is a panoramic view of the area.

Nothing like a giant pot of boiling mud that looks like boiling paint.

This water is so clear that you can easily see the boiling steam over 25 feet down. However, this water hole is both boiling water and has a high acid content...deadly.

Of course, no trip is complete without a viewing of Old Faithful. We were able to view it within a few minutes of our arrival.

We were able to see moose,

bison...up close and personal,


a grizzly bear eating a bison carcass, and deer. Unfortunately, these latter ones were not able to be photographed.

It was an awesome day and a short distance day, although we were on the bike most of the day.

Yesterday and today's route.

Day 13: Our Longest Day

Wednesday, we headed out from Eagle Point to see if we could get back on track with the route that we originally laid out. Our destination was Idaho Falls, Idaho. We made it...736 miles in about 14 hours. Definitely a long day, but worth it.

The forest areas of Oregon.

Mt. Thielsen, one of the many volcanoes in this part of the country.

Sunset somewhere in the middle of Eastern Idaho.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Day 12: Trip Detour

Today we left my mother's home and headed out on our trip home. This is always the hardest part of the trip. I know that we miss each other and saying goodbye is always so hard to do...wait there is a song about that. We have chosen to alter our trip home from our original plan. If I have learned anything with al of the mission trips that I have been on it is to be flexible. While at my mother's we found out that the property that used to be their home in Eagle Point, OR, which is now a rental, was not being taken care of by the property management group. My sister and her husband decided to head there today and do some landscaping clean up. Laura and I decided that since we were here we would route through Eagle Point and help out. So today was a day of gardening in Oregon. We will do a long ride tomorrow to get back on track for our trip home.

Northern California is really a beautiful area. Here is Mt. Shasta. Highway 5 to Oregon comes up on the south end of the mountain and wraps around on the west side. Wonderful views for a couple of hundred miles.

Fortunately, everything at my mother's rental was not as bad as it had sounded like. Here are just a couple of before pictures. We were able to get most of the landscaping cleanup taken care of today. Linda and Nick will finish things up tomorrow by putting down some weed barrier and gravel in the bare areas and finishing up by finding someone new to manage the property and the landscaping.

The after shots of the same areas. 

Tomorrow we continue our trip home by heading to Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Here is the route so far for our trip.

Note: you can follow the route of our trip at You need to select the trip name in the upper left-hand corner, then Adjustments and select All Days to see the whole trip.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Day 11: Transition Day

There are no pictures for today. Today we heading back down off of the hill and back into the valley to my mother's home. Today we started getting ready for our departure tomorrow. It is a continuation of the bittersweet day we had yesterday knowing that we will soon be saying. "Goodbye!" to the rest of our loved ones. Distance can be so deafening at times. I am fortunate that we have the technology that we have today and that I can stay connected with my loved ones even over the great distances. Tomorrow we say our final goodbyes for this trip and start the journey back to our home.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Day 10: Bittersweet Day

Today was that day of the family reunion where we are all very settled into spending time with each other, eating great food, and beginning to realize that some of our loved ones will soon be heading back to their homes. For me, this is always a bittersweet day for I know that my children and grandchildren that have been able to make it to the family reunion this year will be gone by the end of the day. You never really understand how much you love someone until you are separated from them by both time and distance.

Today was also the day that we did all of our family portraits which are always a complex and busy event. The majority of the family left throughout the day and the rest of us will be heading out tomorrow. As always, it has been a blessing to be able to spend time with family.

My family that was here this year. We are missing two of my children and their spouses, two of Laura's children and their spouses, and five of our grandchildren.

Here is Shelbie with a snake that she caught. It was fun watching the kids catch snakes, frogs, and even crawdads.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Day 9: The Fun of Our Family Reunion

Today was the first full blown day of the Short family reunion. Everyone that could make it this year is here and we are in full swing. This is our 20th family reunion and it is something that we all look forward to each year, especially my mother.

This is Olivia, our granddaughter. Olivia will be three in August.

Shingletown, where we are having our reunion, is a small town in Northern California. One of our family members stopped at a thrift store downtown and came back telling us that everything was super cheap. Most of us went back and had a blast shopping around. We also stopped at a craft fair going on.

Alex in his new duds...fortunately he left them behind.

Everyone thought they were going to go swimming but when they found out that the pool was only 65 degrees they changed their minds.

More S'mores!

One thing that my mother loves doing each year is having everyone share about their past year. We do this by family. This is my youngest sister and her family.

My brother and some of his family. A few are missing due to youth sports activities.

My older sister and her family.

This is half of my family. My daughter in Georgia and her family, and my son and his family in Southern California could not make it this year. Laura's daughters are also not here because they are in China and Ohio.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Day 8: Annual Short Family Reunion

Today we headed up to the small town of Shingletown, CA. This is a small town at about 3,200 feet elevation. The days are about 15 degrees cooler than down where my mother lives, which makes this a much more comfortable environment for the weekend. We have been able to find a wonderful place with individual cabins for the families. Here are some pictures from today.

The cabin that Laura and I are in.

My mother (left), my sister-in-law (middle), and Laura just hanging out.

My sister-in-law, older sister, Laura, and my mother.

My brother (left), brother-in-law, and younger sister (right).

We never go hungry.

Last year we introduced Smores to the family reunion and the tradition has continued.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Day 7: Getting Ready for the Family Reunion

Tomorrow we head up to the Shingletown area for our family reunion. This is an annual event and a great opportunity to get caught up with most of the family. Those who live farthest away often have a difficult time making it here, but we all do our best. Today was our shopping day to get everything needed for the weekend. For Laura and me this is especially needed because we cannot bring much here with us from Ohio on the motorcycle.

Since we did not do any additional travel today, here are some more pictures that will tell a little bit more of my story.

A little more of my history. This is a picture of Zuckweiler's Department Store from the 70's. I worked here while I was in high school selling shoes and doing janitorial work.

This is the view from my mother's deck. The dark trees in the middle is here orchard comprised of almonds, peaches, nectarines, apples, lemons, oranges, and others. At 87 she is still tending her orchard on a regular basis. The other trees are my brother's pomegranate trees.

The pond viewed from my mother's deck. There are fish in this pond. Some of the local grandchildren come over to fish and release here.

The view down my mother's back porch. The house in the background is my brother's house. He is a contractor and built both his house and my mother's house.

The front entryway to my mother's house. Every day she is out there tending to her flowers. This time of year she is out there at 6:00 AM to beat the heat. This time of year triple digit weather is the norm. The highest that I ever saw it when I was a youth here was 122 degrees.

We also visited the cemetery where my father has been laid to rest. Memory Eternal Dad.