Tag Archives: Pennsylvania



A beautiful autumn day for a drive except for one thing… drizzle.  We saw beautiful autumn colors on the drive to Pennsylvania, except I couldn’t photograph them because of the drizzle.

I guess using de-haze on them would brighten the colors, but not enough to make it look decent.  Besides, the raindrops would make the image too soft.

Cuba Cheese

We stopped at Cuba Cheese, but didn’t get much.  One of the cheddars we got had a unique flavor, and was quite good.  The other was okay, but lackluster.

I brought bread slices to put the cheese on.  I’m glad I planned ahead.

At Jennifer’s House

We arrived at Jennifer’s house just a few minutes before the children got home from school.  It was fun watching them come home from school.  They grow every time we see them.

We enjoyed a nice dinner with them and time visiting with Spencer.  Spencer has to leave after dinner to go to Utah (where he works).  He has a long drive ahead of him.

They bought acreage in Utah to build a house.  However, they have work to do on their house in Pennsylvania and the children have the school year to complete.


Another Day Shot

Another Day Shot

Another day shot.  I did not expect to spend the day chasing tenant problems.  They took longer than I expected.

Most of the problems were electrical.  I replaced a small fluorescent light strip, a thermostat and a dual gang light switch.  The thermostat gave me the most problems.  The 22 ga. wires just didn’t want to stay under the screws.  I hate dealing with hardware.

At Home

At home Elizabethe informs me I can take Friday and do whatever I want.  But, guess what… Friday we’re driving to Pennsylvania to visit our daughter’s family.  Hey, but that’s a fun thing to do.

We decided to do our date night tonight because of our weekend plans.  Nothing like a cheap date to Taco Bell.

It’s funny how many people dislike Taco Bell out here.  To me, Taco Bell is the go-to food of my pre-teenage years.  I guess had I been raised on perogies they would be my go-to food.  (Elizabethe is the same way.  If we’re looking for something fast and tasty, I can sell her on Taco Bell easily.)

Road Trip Tomorrow

Road trip tomorrow to Pennsylvania.  It’s a long drive, but we break it in half with a stop at Cuba Cheese in Cuba, New York.  It makes it a bit more tolerable to drive for 4 hours.  Of course, the real treat is seeing our family when we get there.


Harmony with Becky

Harmony with Becky

We’re in Harmony with Becky… literally, we’re in Harmony, Pennsylvania.  It’s now the Oakland Township and is located across the river from Susquehanna, Pennsylvania.  It is a 2.5 hour drive from here via I-90 and I-81.

The drive down was through a heavy rainstorm.  We saw the everything we wanted to see outdoors and it remained dry.  When it came time to leave, it started to rain again.  And, again, it came down heavily.

Returning to the Site

Returning to the site is exciting since I played a role in the pre-dedication.  It was fun to see the homes now that the vegetation is starting to fill in.  It looks finished, whereas before it looked like it was under construction.

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Blackeyed Susans Growing at the Site

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Elizabethe and Becky and Sister Stackman in the Restoration Grove

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Harmony Chapel

They loaned an electric scooter to Elizabethe.  She really enjoyed being able to use it.  Too much walking takes the joy out of travel for her.

Drive Home

The drive home was very rainy.  At one point it came down so hard I could hardly see out of the windshield.  My phone sounded an alert for a flash flood warning as we were between Binghamton and Syracuse.

We stopped at Friendly’s and I got a shake, and Elizabethe and Becky got a frosty from Wendy’s (across the street).  Hmmm… I’d have a hand scooped shake any day over soft-serve ice cream.

Baptism Day

Baptism Day

Today is baptism day for one of our granddaughters.  We headed off to Pennsylvania at 7 a.m. so we could attend her baptism.  The 4 hour drive is becoming quite familiar.

We arrived in time to attend Priesthood and Relief Society.  Their small branch has more people than I expected.

After the meetings two people came up and said they used to live in Palmyra.  They named off several ward (and former ward) members like the Wards, Dahnekes, Denoskeys and more.  Talk about a small world.

I was asked to give the talk on the Holy Ghost — something I’ve done many times.  (In fact, I think I gave that talk at her brother’s baptism too.)

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Baptism Day

She was baptized by her dad, and then we headed back to Jennifer’s house.

They had the sister missionaries over.  One of them was from Twin Falls, Idaho, and the other from Logan (College Ward), Utah.    Both of them go home on Tuesday!  Talk about short-timers.


For my birthday present, Jennifer put us up at a B&B in Ridgeway, Pennsylvania (about 7 miles south of their place).  It was dark when we got there and hard to see the house numbers, but we found it.

Talk about a well kept, elegant house!  This 1860’s house is immaculate inside and out.

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The Room We Stayed In


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The B&B We Stayed At


Big Rain Storm

Big Rain Storm

I woke to a big rain storm.  Thinking the noise was rodents running in the walls I thought, “How could such a nice hotel have rodents between the floors?”

It wasn’t rodents.  It was the rain hitting the windows.

I wanted to eat at the Marketplace, but it was too wet to walk, and too close to drive.  We checked out and began the drive back home.

Stopping every hour to walk around wasn’t difficult.  Once we got outside Philadelphia the rain stopped.  One of those stops was Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, where my high school friend Jack grew up.   We found a “Welcome”sign and I did a self-portrait to send to him.

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Wilkes-Barre, PA

Jack used to talk about the hardware store his dad owned in Wilkes-Barre.  He talked about the big flood that brought them to California.  He talked about the neighborhood he grew up in.  I felt a kinship to this city.  I wanted to stop, take this picture, and send it to Jack.

(Jack got the picture and asked what I was doing in his neighborhood.  I explained it was all for him that I stopped and took this picture.)

Another stop was at the New York Welcome Center.  I noticed there are no Hill Cumorah or church brochures about the historic sites.  I picked up information about placing brochures there.

Dinner Time

We got home around dinner time.  I nuked some leftovers and called it a day.  There’s no place like home.

Taco Bell

Taco Bell

Back in 1974 a good friend and I were working in the restaurant industry.  Taco Bell was a huge success in California, and I thought it would be great if we could bring Taco Bell to eastern United States.  I mentioned this to my friend who was from Wilkes Barre, PA, and he said, “They wouldn’t even know how to eat a taco.”  (Implying it was a bad idea.)

The closest Taco Bell to our house was about 10 miles away near the intersection of Auburn and Madison in North Sacramento.  My dad who had come to California before we moved there from Idaho, raved about this place where you could get anything on the menu for 19 cents and drinks for 25 cents.  The menu was simple:

  • Taco
  • Burrito (with hot (red) or mild (green) sauce)
  • Tostada
  • Frejolies
  • Bell Burger (a bun with taco meat on it)

That was it.  $1 would get you change and 3 tacos and a drink.  You could feed a family of four for under $5.  That was 1968.

So, by the time 1974 rolled around, this 18 year old was thinking about what to do with his future and I thought it would be great to save up some money with my buddy and buy a franchise or two in Pennsylvania, New York or somewhere in the northeastern USA.  But, my friend didn’t think it would take off.

Now I live in that area and Taco Bells are few and far apart.  The nearest ones to us are 12 miles away.  There are probably 6 McDonald’s for every Taco Bell in the area.  While I’ve been to a packed McDonald’s, there is seldom a line at Taco Bell.

This afternoon Elizabethe had an appointment down in Canandaigua and I went with her.  After her appointment, since we were close to a Taco Bell, we stopped there for dinner.

There were as many employees as there were people eating there.  I ordered a crunchy taco and some nachos.  The crunchy tacos haven’t changed much since the time when they cost 19 cents.  Now they are a $1 more.  The menu has expanded greatly.  You can get a crunchy taco, a crunchy taco supreme, a crunchy taco with steak or chicken, a soft taco, and so on.  It is ADHD overload just looking at the menu.

I’m not sure how well Taco Bell franchises are doing in this area, but I will say the food at Taco Bell is better than most so-called Mexican Restaurants I’ve tried here.  (There is a good one up in Sodus that serves authentic Mexican food, but many of the others… not so good.)

I’m actually glad I didn’t go in to the restaurant business, but it is fun to reminisce about the days when I wanted to bring Taco Bell to the Northeastern United States.

Big America

In the meantime, I’m lobbying

to bring the Big America Burger to USA McDonalds.  200 grams of ground top sirloin on a sesame seed bun.  It’s a two-fisted burger that makes the Burger King Whopper look small.  Yeah… so it cost $13-17 (US) for a Big America, fries and a drink.  It beats any fast-food burger we serve here.

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Eating a Big America Burger at McD’s in Tiberias, Israel


Year’s End

It’s hard to believe tomorrow is the year’s end. 2016 will be interesting given the political climate in this country.  I’m ready to close the door on 2015.  Life goes on.

Last Chance Pictures

Last Chance Pictures

Today are the last chance pictures of the Priesthood Restoration Site.  I’ve got to get the pictures uploaded by tomorrow so they can use them.

Elizabethe and I left the house around 8am and headed down there.  We got there and met a brother from the missionary department who walked us down to the Joseph Smith House and left us to photograph it.  I spent a good hour and a half photographing the inside and then went to the Isaac Hale home and did the same.

Next stop was the new Visitors’ Center.  There I photographed the new displays, followed by the nice theater and chapel.  After that, it was a walk through the Priesthood Restoration Grove (love it in there).

I took about 300 frames, and both Elizabethe and I were getting hungry.

We met our friend Matt Baker at a local restaurant where we enjoyed a nice meal, and then it was on the road back home.

The site opens on August 29th, 2015.  It is worth the drive to Pennsylvania (from Palmyra) to see the new site.

Visitors from Pennsylvania

Visitors from Pennsylvania

We had visitors from Pennsylvania today at church.  It turns out many of them volunteered help at the Priesthood Restoration Site.   We talked about the site and I told them I was heading down there tomorrow to photograph the site one last time before it opens.

It is scheduled to open next Saturday, 8/19/2015.  Tomorrow Elizabethe and I will go down there and I will photograph it.

We had stake priesthood meeting tonight.  I was asked to play the organ.  After the meeting President Brighton gave a wonderful talk.  He didn’t beat around the bush but came right out and listed things we all should be doing.  I very much appreciated his candor and instruction.

After that, the missionaries came to dinner.   It was just them as Jennifer and Spencer and family are down in Pennsylvania looking at property.

Some how, the bottle of cayenne pepper got labeled Chili Powder.  As a result, the dish I made was VERY spice as cayenne is very hot and chili powder is not.

It was okay.  The sister missionaries liked it, and Elizabethe forced it down with lots of sour cream.  It was tasty, but even for me it was a bit spicy.


First Photos

First Photos

The first photos of the new Priesthood Restoration Site were shot today.  On assignment from the Church History Department, I drove down to Harmony, Pennsylvania, to photograph the site.


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Priesthood Restoration Site

The first thing I did when I got there was walk through the restoration grove.  Like the Sacred Grove, we d not know exactly where the events transpired, but in this general area (see photo above), the Priesthood was restored.

It was a spiritual rush to realize I was the first person to photograph this site for the church.  The importance of the events that took place here struck deep inside my heart.  And soon, this site will be open for all to walk and ponder about those events.

After my walk, I went to the re-constructed home of Joseph and Emma Smith.  Today this home backs up to railroad tracks that separate it from the Susquehanna River.  It was behind this home on their property, in the Susquehanna River where Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdrey were baptized.


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View from Back Window of Home

We took a late lunch at a little diner in Susquehanna.  A comment was made about the chalkboard in the diner.  It quotes a scripture.  One of the men said something to the effect, “Sadly, you wouldn’t even see that in Utah.”

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Scripture on Chalk Board

I think we overwhelmed the staff by coming in with such a large group for a late lunch.  But, that only gave us time to talk and get to know each other.

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Church History Group

From there it was back to the site to work.  While these guys have PhDs in things like history and archaeology, they do some hands-on dirty work too.  The first task was to get the well sweep installed and working.

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Well Sweep at the Hale Home

You’d think it would be simply installing a poll on a pivot to lower the bucket in to the well.  Wrong.  The lever has to be counter balanced and because the angle changes as you left and lower the bucket, the bucket has to hit the hole in the well box just right.

Perhaps there is a joke in the making here about how many PhDs does it take to install a well sweep?

We took a late dinner and by the time we checked in to our hotel room it was 9:30pm.  My feet were sore and my body was aching.  These guys worked me hard and I was just taking pictures!

Eastman House Shoot

Eastman House Shoot

I went on an Eastman House shoot tonight.  Greater Rochester Professional Photographers had a short tour and then we had a couple of young ladies model for us in the gardens.

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Anna – One of Our Models

Since my leg break, I haven’t done a lot of outdoor portraiture.  The accident has very much set me back and it has been hard getting back in to the swing of things.

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Another Portrait of Anna

This all made for a very long day with my networking group, grocery shopping and all.  Then, when I came home I had to pack for my trip to Pennsylvania tomorrow.

I loaded everything I could think of in to the car.  All of my cameras, my lights, my tripods, and stuff.  I wanted to be 100% prepared for this photo shoot.  This was going to be the first time this site has EVER been photographed.  That’s right, I wanted to make sure I had all the tools to do the job.

It’s over a 3 hour drive from here to there and I want to get there in time to have lunch with the crew, so it sounds like I’ll have to leave at 8am and skip my networking meeting.

Tonight I need to charge all my batteries.  Okay, this isn’t a pun.  I have a bunch of LiIon batteries for my cameras and lights that need to be charged.  Thus, I need to charge my batteries — literally.