by Barbara Taylor & Homer S. Sewell III
For our student friends in Pickens County you might find it an interesting geography lesson to keep track of our movements across the country on a map. We spent the summer working at Mount Rushmore in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. I dipped ice cream and fudge while Homer was next door in the gift shop getting his picture taken about a thousand times a day and autographing his book and others about ABE LINCOLN. It was a wonderful experience and I met a lot of nice people...employees and visitors alike.
As the summer drew to a close Homer and I discussed the fact that he had signed back up with the same agent he had in 1991 and would have him on the road for nine months. I really wanted to go with him on his tour, but knew we would need a bus or motorhome to do so. We started looking around for something we could afford. We finally found a good deal on a 28 foot Southwind. It has everything we need to live on the road...bathroom, kitchen, beds and guzzles gas at the rate of 5 to 7 mpg. It had an ugly 12 inch brown stripe all the way around it and we decided that needed to be replaced by red, white and blue. Homer and I bought several dozen cans of spray paint at the WalMart in Rapid City and proceeded to get the job done. We named it the 'AbeMobile' because Homer's twins, Kimberly and Jason had always called any vehicle Homer drove the 'AbeMobile'.
The end of August we packed it for the trip back to beautiful Pickens County. After some mechanical problems enroute, we finally arrived home at 3 AM Friday, September 4. We had one week to get organized, repacked and leave for our trip. We left Georgia Friday, September 11 and headed north to Dudley, Massachusetts to visit with Homer's mother and stepfather. We slept a few hours at a rest area in Maryland Friday night and then headed on north. We arrived in Dudley at about 7 PM Saturday evening just in time to have a big meal with Homer's mother and Bill. We visited with them until Sunday afternoon. We then headed south to New Jersey for Homer's first school. After spending the day with students in New Providence, New Jersey we then headed to Hicksville on Long Island, New York. If we ever thought traffic was bad in Atlanta you should see the mess in downtown New York! I hope we don't have to endure that kind of traffic ever again.
After that we headed for some beautiful scenery in Vermont. We spent two days doing schools Arlington, Vermont about 10 miles from Hildene, Robert Lincoln's home. We then headed south to Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania and spoke to students at Wyoming Seminary. They invited me to eat with them and the Principal presented me with two pens from the school. The building was over one hundred years old and the students and faculty were very friendly. Then on to Penndel, PA. On Wednesday, September 23 we visited with students at a 100 year old Quaker school in Lahaska, PA. In trying to decide where to park the AbeMobile for the night Homer was looking around and discovered an old cemetery adjacent to the school. I talked him out of parking there. People were buried in that cemetery all the way back to Lincoln's time. After school we took time to visit and ride one of the few remaining carousels in America. It was an exciting experience for me riding a carousel for the first time. I was like a kid again!
We then drove to Landsdale, PA. Then on to Maryland. We broke down again and while I spent a week keeping the AbeMobile company at a repair shop near Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD. We were within a few miles of John Wilkes Booth's home. Tim and Lisa picked us up and took us to dinner at the Golden Corral Restaurant. We had a nice visit with them and their four children. Homer rented a car and drove each day to schools in Arcola, Virginia, Huntingdon, New Paris, Houtzdale and Russelton, Pennsylvania. After eight days we had a new radiator and other repairs taken care of and headed out to Chardon, Ohio. We spent the weekend at Jellystone Park campground near Mantua, Ohio.
On October 6 we did schools in Rocky River and Lindhurst, OH then on to Poland and Richmond, OH. We were in Poland because of having met Linda and Bob at Mount Rushmore. They invited us to a nice dinner at their home. Friday, October 9 found us in Wheeling, West Virginia. We spent the weekend camping at White Water state park in Indiana. Monday found us in Liberty and the rest of the week we visited schools in Hope, Jamestown, Daleville and Ft. Wayne, Indiana and Tipp City and Ohio City, Ohio. On Friday, October 16 we moved north to Lansing, Michigan. After school Friday afternoon we drove about 100 miles to Port Huron, Michigan and spent the weekend with Guy and Joyce Bailey. We had worked all summer with them at Mount Rushmore and they had invited us to come spend the weekend with them when we got into Michigan. We had a nice relaxing visit with them, their children and grandchildren. We even took a trip across the bridge into Canada.
The week of October 19 we visited schools in Hartland, Rochester Hills, Napoleon, Ypsilanti, Dearborn Heights, Clio and Hazel Park, Michigan. We finished up in Michigan on Monday at Grand Rapids and headed west for the traffic congestion of Chicago, Illinois. It was not fun driving the AbeMobile in downtown Chicago. On Wednesday we drove back into Indiana to visit in Kingsford Heights. During World War II it was called Victory City and the town boasted a large factory that made munitions for the war. Then back to Chicago and more fights with traffic and rude people. We have found that the people in the north are not nearly as friendly and polite when it comes to letting you merge into traffic. We slept in the parking lot of the school and within a mile of the Sears Tower. Then south to Benson and back north of Chicago to Wheeling, Illinois. We spent the weekend camping at a beautiful, quiet campground called Potato Creek in Indiana. Homer changed the valve cover gaskets on the AbeMobile in hopes of stopping some oil leaks. We went for a walk in the woods and around the campground. The leaves are changing and the colors are beautiful. It has been cloudy and drizzling off and on all day.
It has been sad seeing crosses placed along the highways in our travels indicating those who have died in accidents. Please drive carefully so you or someone you love is not remembered by a cross on the side of the highway.
We hope all of you in Pickens county had a nice October while we've been on the road. We think of you often.
Until next time......Barbara and ABE signing off...