Guest Writer: To the Midwest: Another blog about travel to the CWS!

Coming from Les Penn’s perspective! Les and Sanford drove through the night to get to Game One…

OLE MISS, National Champions!

At 3pm on Thursday, June 23rd, Ole Miss played Arkansas for a spot in the College World Series Finals vs Oklahoma. 2 hours and 6 minutes later, Dylan DeLucia had thrown an absolute gem, a complete game shutout and Ole Miss was heading to the National Championship series!

By 6pm Thursday evening, Sanford and I were in the middle of making plans, plotting our travel, and preparing to travel to America’s Heartland. Sanford Moore is a great friend of mine from Jackson, Ms. Even though separated by years of wisdom, we share the same love for Ole Miss Athletics. I finished Ole Miss in 2009, and Sanford started in 2010. It goes without saying, we’ve both been through some heartbreak with our Rebs.

There is no short route from the Jackson metro to the Midwest. Sanford picked me up, and we left my house in Canton, at 9:15 pm, next stop, Omaha, Ne. 12 hours and 39 minutes away, 820 miles. We were on the way… to the as close to perfect trip we could imagine! Around Jonesboro, Arkansas we made our first gas/coffee stop. Not too long after that, was the start of Sanford telling me “alright go to sleep, get some rest, you have to drive soon.” I finally decided to listen and got a solid 45 min nap in not long after we crossed into Missouri.

We swapped, and I started driving about an hour outside of Springfield, Mo., by the time Sanford woke up, Springfield was barely in our rearview and that would be the total sleep either of us would get until after game 1 later that night!

Night turned to morning, and we needed to stop, stretch our legs and get some food. Welcome to Clinton, Missouri. Sanford did a quick google search and we went off the beaten path to a little restaurant called Chel’s: Bakery, Espresso, and Café. To enter Chel’s you walk in the Rent-To-Own appliance store and take a right. By 7:05 we had both enjoyed our Skillets (that weren’t in skillets) and met the happiest people in Missouri. Next stop, Plattsmouth, Nebraska!

We pulled in to Carson’s lake house at 11:02 am, we made it! Freshened up, had Ice Hole Butterscotch “schnapps from up north” for the first time and then Carson, Drew, Sanford, and I jumped in the taxi for a quick ride in to Omaha. First stop, Addy’s Sports Bar (this will be a reoccurring place for the rest of this story!) We weren’t even inside Addy’s yet, and I see Steve Martens who lives 4-5 houses down from, and was in Sanford’s Aunt and Uncles wedding (which was not known to either of us at the time.) Small world!

By 4pm we decided to head closer to the stadium and stopped by Rocco’s (because why not, we had to donate to the shot board!) And then ended up upstairs at Blatt’s until it would be time to go to the game. Note: All the restaurants/bars were shoulder to shoulder Ole Miss fans, as was the stadium. For the 24,000+ fans at the stadium each day, if Oklahoma has 1,000 total in Omaha, I’d be shocked!

GAME 1: WILD

6pm, and most likely the loudest HOTTY TODDY to start a game I’ve heard! We set in right field for game 1 and the best way I could describe it would be sitting in the student section of an SEC football game. Jumping on the Sooners early, the Rebs jumped out to a 4-0 lead. Okla did threaten a little and cut the score to 4-2 but then… well then craziness happened. First McCants, then Harris, then Bench… BACK 2 BACK 2 BACK HOMERUNS! The McCants HR obviously had the place going, then Harris hits an absolute rocket, I believe 430 ft… BOMB! And I’ll be completely honest, I was still celebrating the Harris HR when Bench decided to hit one to, it was all a fog. Pure awesomeness. It was wild.

Rebs win 10-3, one game away from the National Championship!

Sunday morning, we left Carson’s lake house in Plattsmouth and went to their main street area for breakfast. We went to, and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND… Mom’s Café. As Midwest as it gets, simply perfection… now back to downtown Omaha, pre-game!

Game 2: We are the Champions!

With a very kind gesture of my Uncle Tom, Sanford and I were able to upgrade tremendously for our game 2 seats. In club seats on the 3rd base side, we watched as Oklahomas ace, Cade Horton, retire rebel after rebel batter. We may as well do two things in this run to the national championship. 1, refer to game 3 against Arkansas as the DeLucia game. And 2, refer to game 2 of the finals as the Gonzo game! In the bottom of the 6th Gonzo started the scoring, hitting a solo shot to give the Rebs a 1-0 lead. The next inning, the Sooners would take a 2-1 lead. In the bottom of the 8th, Gonzo tied up the game by singling to right field to score McCants. Gonzo & Bench would both go on to score on wild pitches to give the Rebs the 4-2 lead to end it! The top of the 9th was fast… like really, really quick! Brandon Johnson was as dominant as he had ever been and Okla had no chance.

It was wild, it’s honestly still wild! The Ole Miss Rebels won the National Championship! I wasn’t in Oxford in 2014 when the Rebs beat Bama, but was told by many, they’d never seen grown men cry about sports. I was there for this, and I know what they mean now. After the celebration in our seats with friends we ended up sitting by, we went down closer to field to see others. **Side not: Sanford was at the 2014 Bama game as a student & seen carrying the goal-post out of the stadium on ESPN.

Of course the party was only getting started, we eventually ended up back at Addy’s Sports Bar with Bill & Cossar Morgan for many celebratory drinks, the worlds best chicken wings and the spiciest mix-up on the wing menu! We ended the night at Moe & Curly’s where luckily there was a 2 hour wait on the karaoke list and that didn’t happen.

The next morning, at Sanford’s demand we were up and on the road by 6am, heading for central Ms. I can’t tell you much about the ride through Kansas City, and he can’t tell you much about the ride through Jonesboro. We both decided on the way back it really wasn’t that hard to sleep in the car. (And finding a neck pillow in the back seat!)

*Shoutout to the real MVP’s, our wives, Murray Ann and Hannah. Sanford and I neither one could have just up and left at 9pm Friday night and been gone all weekend without y’all doing all that you did/do!

*Thank you to Mrs Finney for letting us take your car! *Thank you to Carson for the place to stay!

TO THE MIDWEST! Hotty Toddy! Random photos!

Yosemite Adventure/ Glamping at AutoCamp

We love to travel. We love the USA 🇺🇸and National Parks! We were celebrating our 33 anniversary about 3 months late. We were all ready to go and I broke my pinky toe the night before we left – that didn’t stop us from hiking about 6 miles a day. So read along about our latest experience!

We have never been to Yosemite National Park, but when we had an opportunity to do so – we went with it! We bid on this AutoCamp ‘Glamping’ adventure at a silent auction about a year ago. We got to chose between Russian River wine country or Yosemite.

We flew into Fresno, rented a car and drove to AutoCamp in Midpines, CA. We stopped along the way at the grocery to get supplies for lunches and dinner! https://autocamp.com/yosemite/. We loved our airstream! (Pictures are at the bottom) It had everything we needed! The first morning we were up early. We made our sandwiches and headed to the Park for a day of adventure. It’s about an hour drive to get to the entrance of the park. We had made a $2 reservation on recreation.gov a few months ago. If you do not have a reservation you will be turned around. You then pay $36 for a 3 day pass. It’s a 2 lane mountain road that runs into the valley of Yosemite. If you get to the park before 6 am you don’t need a reservation or if you ride the bus. https://www.yosemitehikes.com/yosemite-info/ten-best-easy-hikes.htm

One of our favorite things we saw was Tunnel view. https://www.yosemite.com/what-to-do/tunnel-view/ It is magnificent! We hiked to the lower Yosemite Falls and it is dried up. Mirror Lake was too, but this is normal for August. The Visitors Center is very Informative. The Yosemite Village has a lot of construction going on. We stopped at Cooks Meadow and looked for climbers. We found a trail that you could walk along bottom of El Capitan. Olmsted Point is also worth the stop! https://www.yosemitehikes.com/tioga-road/olmstead-point/olmstead-point.htm

One of the Park rangers asked where we were staying and recommended we need to go to Yosemite Bugs for dinner. It was about 4 minutes from the AutoCamp. It is located at a hostel type place with a lot of cabins all around. It was delicious though! https://www.yosemitebug.com/

On the second day we decided to venture to the Tuolumme Meadows. It is a 8575-foot-high, sub-alpine meadow. It is located on Tioga Road. We parked at the Visitors center and hiked to Soda Springs. Beautiful views of domes and peaks! It’s an easy walk. We picnicked at The Parsons Lodge. It is open and it is where John Muir had his Sierra Club meetings. We meet 2 very young and friendly park rangers! We then drove to the Tuolumme Grove to see the big sequoia trees! It is a nice down hill hike to see them but coming back uphill was a doozy! On the way to the Grove we had come across a lot of road construction and had noticed this group of about 15 motorcycles. We came around a corner later and at first thought another road construction road closure but it was a motorcycle wreck. We were about 6 cars back .. it had just happened. My husband who is in the medical field went to help. The 2 men involved were both over 70 and from Germany. They didn’t speak English. We were there at least 45 minutes. Once a young park ranger walked up who was also stuck in the traffic said an ambulance was coming, so we decided we could leave. There is zero cell service but one man had a satellite phone and called 911. His phone didn’t work great but he was able to text 911. A little later we were hiking through the Tuolumme Grove we saw an helicopter 🚁, so we thought it might be one of the motorcyclist. One of the men had a broken leg and the other one had a broken pelvis but weren’t not sure what else. If you thought that might be the most exciting thing that happened well .. as we were headed back Jimmy spotted 2 climbers on Fairview Dome. It was very cool. We had been looking for 2 days but had come to find out it was too hot for climbers to climb El Capitan. It was about 104 during the day and 70s at night. We then came back to Autocamp.. after a full day we went for a quick dip in the refreshing pool and then to dinner in Mariposa at Savorys . We recommend it! Excellent service and food!

On the last day we headed back and parked at Upper Pines campground. We rode the bus to Mirror Lake. It was basically dried up and sooo many gnats! The walk to it is paved and nice. We then rode the bus to Mist Trail. We headed up to the Vernal Falls footbridge. Vernal Falls is barely flowing. The path is straight uphill but only .8 of a mile .. we were dying but made it! We then headed on down and it took no time! We then took the bus to see the Ahwahee Hotel. https://www.nationalparkreservations.com/lodge/yosemite-ahwahnee-hotel/

We had heard all about it on a podcast about Yosemite and wanted to see it. It’s old and beautiful. It’s at least an hour and half into park with no traffic. After another full day in the Park we headed back. We went for a quick swim then we decided to buy a pre packaged dinner that the AutoCamp makes for you to cook at your air stream. It was so fun and delicious (pictured below). They gave us a s’more kit for our anniversary and we cooked those too! #33yearsandcounting

If you are interested in going to an Autocamp here is a link. https://fbuy.io/autocamp/finneymoore

Pics from AutoCamp

Lake Tahoe~Resort at Squaw Creek ~January 2022

Beautiful! We loved it! We had never been to that part of the country. You fly into Reno ( We used Rodney Perry with AllStar Transportation to get us from the airport to the resort.He also ran an errand one day for me by going to the ATT store to get me a charger-Highly recommend!) The drive from the airport is about an hour southeast to the Resort at Squaw Creek. https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/california/resort-at-squaw-creek/rnodh. The resort is at the ski mountain which is now called Palisades. Lake Tahoe is half in Nevada and half California. It’s the second deepest freshwater lake in the US. It is in between Reno and the ski mountain. Kinda… We explored all around there.. Tahoe City and Truckee and the Olympic Village. The 1960 Winter Olympics were held there.

First day we did a little snow shoeing after getting our skis rented for the next day. Then we ate at Fireside Pizza https://firesidepizza.com/ in the village. We recommend the Thai Chicken pizza.

Coffee from coffee shop in the Village.
Snow shoeing in the meadow which is also a golf course.

Next day sking. We skied our way across the mountain toward High Camp. Up at High Camp there is an Olympic museum and an ice skating rink! We ate lunch up there at The Granite Bistro. https://www.palisadestahoe.com/events-and-activities/dining-and-apres/granite-bistro. There is an aerial tram that you can take or just ski there. We did both. It’s at 8200 elevation. Here are a Few sking pics! We ate dinner that night at Garwoods https://www.garwoods.com/ and I’m still thinking about the hot salted breadsticks with whipped butter on the table!

The next day Jimmy skied with Matt and his kids and Francy and I explored Tahoe City. It is a tiny town on the Lake. We happened upon a local poke bowl hole in the wall place for lunch called Blue Fish http://bluefishtahoecity.com/ . After that As we were walking around we stopped in Mountain Slice https://www.mountainslicetahoe.com/ for ice cream. It was delicious. Nice local place,. The homemade pizza smelled amazing .

Jimmy, Matt, Brooke, Will and Kyndel at lunch on a ski break

Next day I went snowshoeing with 2 guides from The Resort. It was the Lake Shirley hike. It’s a 3 mile hike. I’m not sure how far we went but we we gone about 2.5 hours. We saw a lot of beautiful waterfalls. We were hiking up the back of High Camp.

The beginning
The ending!

The last night we ate at Six Peaks. It was located in the hotel lobby and was 5 star dining! Everything was delicious!

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods is a popular natural landmark nestled at the foot of Pikes Peak on the west side of Colorado Springs. It is known for its massive red rocks sticking straight out of the ground – it was quite impressive!

Kissing Camels

No Climbers on the day we were there! It was very windy!

This is called Siamese twins.

Balancing Rock

Balanced Rock, poised above the park road at the Garden of the Gods, defies the laws of physics as it balances on a sloped ledge of sandstone. The famed boulder, appearing in publications around the world as one of the best examples of a balancing rock, is the most famous rock formation at the Garden of the Gods!

Pikes Peak—Summit

We made it to the Summit today! Yesterday it was only open to 11,000 feet and this afternoon they opened it to the TOP —14,115 feet! So we took off. It was a VERY EXTRA scary drive. It’s 19 miles total! I prayed, leaned into the middle of the car, held my breath, couldn’t talk, and prayed some more. My hands were sweating. My husband did a fabulous job ..but it was still one of the most scariest things we have ever done! I really can’t describe the roads and switchbacks. There was no railing, but it was icy and very windy. My favorite thing was the beautiful scenery. You could see for miles.

Here are some pictures that I took. I have more on my good camera, but these are iPhone pictures from mine and my husbands phone…

this is a view from the 13000 feet stop(mile marker 13)

I was a nervous wreck. It felt weird standing up. Almost like I was on a ride at the fair.

14,115 feet! We did it!

This is from the top right where we parked our car.

Just beautiful!

Cool and Windy! Notice construction crew behind us working on new observation deck and cog railway.

Mile Marker 18.. Usually big horn sheep are in this area.

We didn’t see Big Foot

Its $15 per person to drive up this scenic highway, and it is worth it!

A long weekend in Washington, D.C.

One of my husband and I’s favorite place to visit is Washington D.C. I loved there during college and went back after college .  We lived there again  when my husband was in his fellowship training and one of our sons was born at Georgetown,  my sister and her family live there, my son and nieces live there, and this summer my daughter is there interning!

Each time that I get to go DC I like learn or see something new! This time was the Renwick Gallery.

I had heard of it before but never had the chance to go. On Saturday morning, my son picked us up and we headed there. We got there before it opened, so we walked around the White House waiting for it to open.

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Selfie at the WH

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320 mirrored stainless steel rods that are LED LIGHTS in grand stairway.

Cool hanging glass that lights up differently each time.

The coffee mugs were made for veterans.

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David’s Best Temple. A glowing sanctuary..every tiny piece of carved wood is where people have written personal notes.

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Michael Sherrill sculpture

As well as seeing new things, I love to go back and visit some of my favorite museums. One of them is is the National Portrait Gallery – I could spend all day in there!

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Elvis

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Michelle Obama

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John F. Kennedy

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Barack Obama

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George W. Bush

My daughter is interning in a Mississippi Congressman’s office and she gave us a lovely US Capitol tour! 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

My 2 children, who both work on the Hill.

Jefferson Davis, Mississippi

Appropriations committee room in the Capitol

One of my husband’s favorite places in D.C. is the sculpture of Albert Einstein, which is next to the National Academy of the Sciences. He makes sure that each time we visit D.C., we make a stop.

Of course, one of our favorite things to do is go to wonderful restaurants! From The Tombs to the Tune Inn to Rasika to The Plume at the Jefferson to Succotash and to Central and Rosa Mexicano — they were all delicious!

Seared tuna

Sisters

The Jefferson

Rosa Mexicana

Tune Inn Capitol Hill

Succotash


But the BEST place we ate was Rasika!
It is an Indian restaurant that was one block from our hotel .. the crispy spinach was unreal!913B52B5-8FE1-49DA-9922-2149772368E1We enjoyed our long weekend in D.C. and can’t wait to go back soon!What is your favorite place to visit/eat in D.C.? I am open to any and all recommendations!

Yellowstone Adventures

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My first time to Yellowstone was an adventure! The fields and farms we passed en route to Yellowstone were the most amazing color of gold! We entered on the Western side.  It was a girls trip and we did the whole Western loop in 24 hours. We stayed in the Park at a very eco friendly hotel called Canyon Park. I stuck a picture of the cute bear soap from the room! It was new and nice. Alot is closed this time of the year. The whole park closes next week!

We stopped in Ashlan Idaho for a root beer float at Frostys drive-in on the way . We think it has been featured on Diners,Drive-in and Dives.

Then on toward the Park! We saw bison first! Then elk . It was a great grandfather and 5 ladies. No one was pulled over looking at them. I’ve never seen anything that big. The grandfather( I assume) hid so it was hard to see him or get a picture. I think his horns were the size of a small WV. We saw a lot more elk but nothing compared to that first group we saw! When we were leaving we did see a male elk bugling and chasing 2 female!

We came upon 8 or so cars pulled over next. and it was a mama and baby grizzly! They were amazing to watch. They were right next to the road!img_1901

We were on the way to see Old Faithful and had to get there on time. It erupts every 90 minutes. There are MANY geysers in the Park but this one is the most predictable.img_1902

I highly recommend going to Yellowstone. But go when the tour buses aren’t around. This was a great time! It is a wonderful National Park and makes me proud of America! 🇺🇸

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Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

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Friendly tourist

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Grizzlies