Thursday, October 12, 2006

Back Home in Iowa

Hi everyone. Kristin and I arrived back in Iowa yesterday afternoon.

I want to thank Kristin for taking me with her. I had a really great time with Kristin in Texas. I met so many nice people and saw many new things including cotton fields. I hope I can visit Texas again someday. But right now I think I had better get back to my school work!

Until my next adventure.....bye.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Happy in Texas

Hi everyone. I am having another great adventure with my friend Kristin.

Kristin told me on Sunday that I would see lots of airports and rental cars on this trip. Man, she wasn't kidding! Yesterday morning (Monday) I was in Amarillo. Last night I was in Lubbock And today I am writing to you from El Paso! See if you can find if you can find Lubbock and El Paso on the map.

I've visited these towns (and more) because Kristin is talking about the radio program. I asked Kristin to type up the list of the places she's speaking to on this trip.

Monday Afternoon - West Texas A&M University in Canyon
Monday Night - Texas Tech University in Lubbock.
Tuesday Morning - Coronado High School in Lubbock
Tuesday Afternoon - El Paso Community College in El Paso

Whew! That is a VERY busy schedule.

After we left Canyon yesterday, Kristin drove us to Lubbock. It took about 90 minutes to get there by car. Along the way Kristin said we had to make a special stop. I asked her where we were going and she said, "Happy." I thought she was just trying to surprise me again but it turns out there is actually a town named Happy, Texas. Kristin says there is even a movie called "Happy, Texas." Who knew?

Since we were on a very tight schedule, we didn't stop for very long but Kristin did take a picture of me near the town's road sign.

Kristin was worried I might be bored on the long car ride to Lubbock but I actually enjoyed seeing West Texas (even if it was just from the car). I noticed a number of things during our car trip. First, this part of Texas has lots of cattle and horse farms. This part of Texas is also FLAT just like me! I could see farm fields for miles and miles from the car window. Many of the fields were full of small green bushes that had what looked like white puffy flowers. I've never seen anything like it so I asked Kristin about the plants. She told me the bushes were cotton bushes and that the white puffy flowers are actually little puffs of cotton. I had no idea!

I also learned that this part of Texas is also called the "panhandle." Doesn't that sound funny? Kristin says Northwest Texas is known as the panhandle because of the way it looks on the map. If you look at the entire state of Texas on the map, the part of the state where Amarillo and Lubbock are located looks like the handle of a pan that my mom would use on her stove. I looked at the map for a long time and I'm not sure Texas looks like a pan but I wasn't going to argue with Kristin.

As soon as we arrived in Lubbock, Kristin drove to Texas Tech University so she could give her presentation. After a late dinner, we finally were able to check into our hotel room.

The next morning, Kristin woke me up very early so we could get to her next presentation at Coronado High School in Lubbock. As soon as her presentation there was over, Kristin drove us to the airport. I was really surprised. I thought we were staying in Texas for another day. Kristin just smiled and told me that we had to fly to El Paso so she could make her final presentation. WOW! I think Kristin was worried that I was going to be bored with another plane ride so she bought me a bear with a Lubbock, Texas t-shirt so I would have some company on the plane ride. Here I am with my new bear and Kristin's plane ticket to El Paso.

Once we arrived in El Paso, Kristin got a rental car and drove us to El Paso Community College. Kristin told me to pay special attention to the left-hand side of the road as she was driving to the West side of El Paso. She told me if I looked closely, I would be able to see Mexico. Can you believe it?! I could see the city of Juarez, Mexico from the car. I was really hoping that Kristin would take me to Mexico but she said we didn't have time. I told her that was OK because I could at least tell my friends that I saw Mexico.

Kristin's presentation was at the Jenna Welch and Laura Bush Community Library. It is a very cool library. It even has a children's section for kids like me. I got to read while Kristin gave her speech. Kristin must have told the librarian about me because after her speech, Kristin introduced me to the librarian. Her name is Anna. She is very nice. She was very interested in me and my travels. I gave her the address of this blog and I think she is going to tell others about me. Isn't that cool? Here I am with Kristin and my new friend Anna.

After Kristin was finished at the library, we went to dinner with Daniela and Gaby. They helped organize the meeting Kristin spoke at. Daniela and Gaby are very nice. They took us to a great Mexican restaurant and then took us on a tour of El Paso's scenic drive. The scenic drive has little parks where people can walk and see across the border. It was really cool especially since we went after dark. Here I am with my new friends Daniela and Gaby.

Do you see the lights behind Daniela and Gaby? That's Mexico!

It was WAY past my bedtime when Kristin drove us to the hotel we were staying at in El Paso. I must have been really tired because I fell asleep in the car.

Until next time....

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Greetings from Amarillo, Texas!

Hi everyone.

I am writing to you from Amarillo. I found out when we landed here that "The Lone Star State" is a nick-name for Texas. I had no idea?

I am SO excited. I have never been to Texas before. It is a BIG state. See if you can find Amarillo on the map. Kristin is in Texas to talk to college and high school students about our trip to Dubai and Doha last December.

It wasn't easy to get to Amarillo. When we left Kristin's house early this morning, she told me we were going to fly on THREE different planes today to get to our destination. Kristin also warned me that I would be seeing the inside of lots of airports, rental cars and hotels on this trip. She hasn't told me the entire schedule for this trip. I guess she wants to surprise me!

Our first flight of the day was from Moline to Chicago. It was delayed over an hour. Kristin really has bad luck with flights in Moline, doesn't she? Here I am keeping watch over our plane tickets at the Moline airport.

Kristin told me when we checked in that we didn't have a seat on our next flight. I was worried we wouldn't get a seat on the next plane but Kristin told me not to worry. As soon as we arrived in Chicago, Kristin was able to get a seat. And right before we got on the plane, the woman at the gate called Kristin to the desk and gave her a new ticket. Guess what? Kristin's new seat was in first class! Kristin says she got "upgraded" because she flies so much. I am SO glad!

Here I am sitting in Kristin's first class seat before takeoff.

I've only been in first class one other time with Kristin and it was really nice. We got a small bowl of warm nuts and a chicken sandwich for lunch. They even baked warm chocolate chip cookies for us! How cool is that?

Oh, did I tell you where the plane was taking us? Denver, Colorado. See if you can find Denver on the map. Kristin said we had to fly to Denver to catch our final plane ride to Amarillo. I've never been to Colorado before. And even though I only visited the airport, I can now officially cross another state off of my list of places I have visited in the United States.

Here I am reading the Denver Post in the business lounge of the Denver airport. OK...I wasn't really reading the newspaper but it does prove I was in Denver.

Kristin told me that Denver is known as the "Mile High" city. Boy, it sure seems like every place I go has a nick-name, doesn't it? Anyway, do you know why Denver is called the "Mile High" city? Kristin told me its because the city is located in the Rocky Mountains and is more than one mile above the sea limit. I'm not exactly sure if I understand but I think that means the mountain Denver is located on is really, really tall!

Kristin kindly bought me a stuffed bear so I could remember my trip to Colorado. She also bought me an old fashioned toy sheriff's badge. It even has my name on it. How awesome is that? Thanks Kristin!

We waited about an hour in the business lounge before walking to our next gate to catch our final flight. That's when Kristin told me we were headed for Texas. I was really happy about going to Texas but Kristin didn't look very happy when we got to our gate. That's because she found out we had to fly a really, really small plane to Amarillo. Each wing of the plane had large propellers (they look like a large ceiling fan attached to the side of the wing). I remember I flew on a plane that looked like this one when I flew from Detroit to Moline earlier this year. I think these planes are really cool. But I remember from my Detroit trip that Kristin doesn't like these small planes.

I was really surprised when we got on the plane. It was even smaller than the one I was on before! It only had one seat on either side of the aisle. The plane is SO small that one of the two pilots is also serves as the flight attendant (and he had to jump into his seat from the aisle!). And guess what? There wasn't even a door on the cockpit. Can you believe that? I got to watch the pilots fly the plane! There are LOTS of controls for the plane. I don't know how the pilots can remember how to work all of the buttons and switches on the dash board of the plane. There are SO many buttons and switches! Pilots must be really smart. I had so much fun watching the pilots push buttons and flip switches that I forgot to ask Kristin to take my photo!

Kristin carried all of her luggage for this trip with her (I guess that means this is a short trip!) so we walked past baggage claim and Kristin got the keys to the rental car that was waiting for us. We had a surprise when we got to the rental car in the parking lot. When Kristin pushed the button for the trunk, a bunny rabbit jumped out from underneath the car! The brown rabbit didn't seem to mind that we were standing right by it. Kristin was able to take a picture of it before it hopped away.

We are staying at the Homewood Suites in Amarillo tonight. Kristin's room is very nice. It even has a small kitchen. We missed the Green Bay Packers game today. Kristin told me they lost. :( Tonight we are watching the St. Louis Cardinals baseball game. Kristin is a BIG Cardinals fan. If the Cardinals win tonight they get to the next round of the baseball playoffs. I hope they win!

That's all for now. Until next time....