A Day in Little Rock

We started our morning off in Hot Springs but we soon left for Little Rock. It wasn’t too long of a drive at just about one hour. The first thing we did in Little Rock was to go to Little Rock Central High School, the site of a monumental event in the fight for Civil Rights.

Central is still an operating high school today!

On September 3, 1957, black students were about to get to their first day of school at the formerly segregated high school; however, they were blocked from entering by Arkansas National Guard members. These soldiers were ordered there by the governor, who thought that the school shouldn’t be desegregated. President Eisenhower thought that this was an illegal act so he sent soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division there to escort the students to school. This was an important event because it had widespread media attention and many Americans were able to see the struggles of racism in the South. It was also the spearhead of school desegregation across the U.S.

We finished off the day by going to the Clinton Presidential Library which contained both a museum about William Clinton and all of the paperwork from his time in presidency. I learned a lot today and can’t wait to learn more during our time on the road. Happy New Year! (AT)

Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of State, The President and the Secretary of Defense!

Take a bath and heal yourself

Today we started in downtown Hot Springs. The first place we stopped was a bathhouse that was now the headquarters of the National Park and a visitors center/ museum. We got to walk through an old bathhouse and see how the process of the bathing went. The waters were said to cure arthritis and many other ailments. Then we went on a 3 mile hike up and down the hill behind the springs. We then had lunch at a bathhouse turned brewery. It is the only brewery in a national park. I had a gyro and some root beer that was brewed there. We then tried to go to the Buckstaff Baths, but they were not open so we did not get to bathe in the hot springs. We did get to drink from the hot springs though through a street side water fountain. When we were there people were bringing huge water containers and filling them up. After all this I took a pledge and became a Junior Ranger.

Taking the Junior Ranger Oath

Another cool thing we did tonight was Garvin Gardens and the Anthony Chapel. The gardens were decorated with millions of Christmas lights. The chapel was made with only wood and glass and looks outdoors because of the glass.

Wishing all of you a happy New Year-Woody

Digging for diamonds

rock barnToday we took off from Dallas heading to Hot Springs, Arkansas. I have never been to Arkansas before. The ride took 5 hours. Along the road we stopped at Crater of Diamonds State Park. It is the only public place in the country where you can dig for diamonds yourself. The most common gemstone is Jasper. We got a huge rock of Jasper. We unfortunately did not get any diamonds. My parents thought they found diamonds but they were just quartz, calcite, and barite. I will be learning about rocks and minerals in science soon. (WT)

#43’s Presidential Library, Sausage & Longhorns

George W. Bush Presidential Library

Dallas is a huge city, and we’ve been fortunate enough to visit a handful of times in the past couple of years. What’s brought us down here in the past was our powerhouse NDSU Bison football team, playing for the FCS National Championship. They’ve won it 6 of the last 7 years, and will play next week in hopes of a 7th title. So we’ve seen many of the main points of interest in years past.

Today we visited the George W. Bush Presidential Library on the campus of SMU. It was a stately museum filled with a historical account of W’s life in Texas, pre-White House politics (remember hanging chads?) and successes and milestones throughout his 8 years in office. Obviously a large and important part was September 11th, 2001. Other memorable highlights talked about Hurricane Katrina, PEPFAR(The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), No Child Left Behind and the Stock Market Crash. There was also a special exhibit for the holidays showing off the White House decorated for Christmas that was neat, and they talked quite a bit about their 2 dogs Barney and Mrs. Beazley and cat India.

A pretty cool highlight was a replica of the Oval office, where Woody had planned all day to actually read a book if he got to sit there. He thought it would be suitable since he was at a “library”. But when he got his chance, he actually sat down, picked up the telephone and dialed his mom! {insert proud mom tears here} 2 1/2 hours later we had our fill, we’d all give it 2 thumbs up. It’s our first presidential library but hopefully not our last.

On recommendation from my cousin, we had an amazing lunch at Kuby’s Sausage House nearby. Sausage, cabbage and sauerkraut makes the Tischers (German for Table Maker!) happy. This joint has also been on the Food Channel’s Man vs. Food show, and had a great delicatessen for us to bring home some sausages and German candy too!

Not really “on the way home” but in the general direction, we decided to stop off at the Fort Worth Stockyards to see the daily cattle drive. Surprisingly, we got a front row parking job 10 minutes before “showtime”, so we got to enjoy it from the heated car. Longhorns are amazing animals.

The history of the stockyards was a good mix to the formality of the library. Part of me thinks I should keep more of the kid’s stuff to fill the Tischer Presidential Libraries one day, but the other part of me knows I should keep them as far away from politics as possible! (MT)

Learning to Fly

We started off the day by driving to Dallas Love Field, headquarters to Southwest Airlines. My mom’s cousin’s husband Mike is a instructor for SWA. He was going to show us around his workplace and let us fly in the simulator. The first thing we saw when we walked into the headquarters was U-2 flight suit. It is a pressurized suit used by pilots in the U-2 because they fly very high. The hallways are filled with cool pictures and memorabilia from SWA employees. We got to see a couple of different types of simulators from basic to ones worth millions of dollars. We got to see where pilots train for emergencies, like how they go down an evacuation slide, how they might fight intruders into the cockpit, and how they put their oxygen masks on.

Mike had us use a brand new simulator in a brand new building. When we walked into the great hall with all of the flight simulators, it was extremely quiet even though many were being used. We walked into simulator #12 which looked like it was suspended on stilts. The cockpit of the plane had to be exactly the same as the actual 737. I was the first to fly. It was easy because Mike controlled pretty much everything except the yoke and the rudders. It really felt like i was flying the airplane. On my first landing, I did pretty good, but on my second landing, I dragged the tail. Woody, Cole (Mike’s son) and my dad all flew the plane as well. Everyone did a pretty good job. This was an awesome experience and I’ll never forget it.

After a tasty Tex-Mex lunch at Pappasitos, we went to Frontiers of Flight, an air museum back at Love field. The museum was great because it had a complete history of aviation with lots of info about the airport and Southwest Airlines as well. My favorite things there were all of the flight simulators, showing how different they’ve looked throughout the years.

I’m super happy Mike was able to let us use the simulators. Today was filled with airplanes which I enjoy and a great way to spend the end of the year. (Andy Tischer)

Merry Christmas from Texas!

Our family arrived in Texas a couple days ago, at my mom’s cousin’s house. We’re in a suburb of Dallas named Keller. This morning, I lost a tooth! I haven’t lost a tooth in a couple of years, and I’ve waiting until today to crank it out. We also opened up Christmas presents after we had a good breakfast of an egg bake and sticky buns. We’ve played a couple of games with the relatives, and we plan on playing more. I love the Christmas tree here, we didn’t decorate at our house due to moving around and the craziness of everything.

The neighborhood has dozens of fantastic Christmas lights. My favorite is a huge set up, and you can connect to a radio station that’s being broadcasted, and the lights move to the music.

Just this afternoon, three of us (me, Andy and Jackson) were daring enough to jump into the 54 degree pool, when the air temp was only 40 degrees. It was really cold, but it made for a good experience! IMG_3873

I’m happy to be in Texas, with relatives and family. Wishing you a Merry Christmas! (Woody Tischer)

I think my truck drank too much and now needs rehab!!!

Well, this was intended to be an adventure, right?! God wants to really test all of us and shape us a little different than what we are, right?!

In a twist and turn of events, we ended up with truck engine troubles, got towed into a dealership in Joplin, stayed overnight and still don’t know exactly what’s wrong with the truck. The fine folks at Fletcher Ford are tearing the engine down and working through Ford on warranty issues, but it could take another week or two before we either have our truck back or have enough information to negotiate a trade in. All I can say is Dustey, Keith and Nate at Fletcher have gone out of their way to make sure we could be comfortable and with power to the camper. Part of this experience is to teach the boys about the innate goodness in people and how when you treat others well, they will likely do the same. Ron, our tow truck driver, even stopped by the camper today to check on us!

The one destination we had planned was to visit Maureen’s Cousin Susan and family in Keller (Dallas). When we knew of the timing on information with our vehicle, we rented a car and headed down the road to their place. We made it safe and sound and their southern hospitality welcomed us with open arms (albeit a couple days early). Our Christmas will be spent with their family and hopefully we can be useful while enjoying our time with them. Our hope for all of our friends and family is that you celebrate the time with your family and celebrate your religious beliefs freely and happily this season!

Hopefully the next post will let you all know if our truck made it through Ford’s rehab program or if we decided to bring another workhorse on our adventure!

Merry Christmas!


I think my truck has a drinking problem!

A truck loaded with a family of four plus a dog, enough supplies to live comfortably and pulling a 35 foot camper seems to like gas…a lot!! The plus side is that we get to stretch our legs quite frequently.

As many of you now know, my position with the health system was eliminated. I used to have the pleasure and honor of leading a strong team of care providers across 6 states and 350,000 square miles. As the system continued to grow, my division became a bit unwieldy and a decision was made to split it up and create a more regional reporting structure. That meant that I had to make a decision-move for a job that didn’t seem to be the next step in my career path or take a leap of faith, accept severance and look for the next position. I chose the path which felt to be aimed toward the future.

Today began our journey of family closeness, our family blessing in disguise, our one door opening after another closed. During this transition, I’ve felt a mix of emotions. Closing on our house last Friday made this decision real. We pulled out of the house we made our home and moved into the camper which is now our house. The experiences we make and the time we spend in it will begin to make it our home. I look forward to those experiences!

We took off from Harrisburg this afternoon (Woody’s 11th Birthday) in an attempt to get to St. Joseph, just shy of Kansas City. In what appears to be just a bit of my dad shining through, we pressed on to get through KC and a bit further down the road. We don’t have reservations to stay anywhere.

So, here we are sitting in a Wal-Mart parking lot outside of Kansas City. We are looking at the back of a “gent Care”—I’m thinking they need to replace the light bulb for the “Ur” or they could be missing out on a major subset of patients! Maybe I should stop in and consult a little!!

Over the course of our exploration, I plan to continue applying for health system or hospital CEO/President or COO positions. If you hear of any, please let me know! I’d be happy to share my resume with any of you. I’ll be doing interviews and phone calls from the road and if I have to go on site somewhere we will either drive or I’ll find a place where Maureen and the boys can hang out while I hop on a plane.

It’s not very often that we are blessed with sabbaticals in the middle of our careers. As much as I want to be working, I can’t wait to share the next however long with Maureen and the boys. Hopefully we all learn a thing or two! (JT)

We’re really doing this!

We sold our house, put everything we own into storage, took the boys out of school and we’re “road-schooling them” as we travel the United States!

Some of you know our story, some do not. Earlier this year, Jesse’s position was eliminated. He has a non-compete clause in his contract, so we know that we can’t stick around Sioux Falls. We put our house on the market while Jesse has been looking for work and received a too-good-to-turn down offer, so we started to look for temporary housing. That did not seem so interesting to me and a thought came into my head one (late!) night while I was washing dishes: Why don’t we just buy an RV and drive around the United States until Jesse finds a job? Jesse, always the sane one, didn’t immediately turn my idea down and actually was intrigued by it! We stayed up for hours that night researching if it would be even possible (BTW, you can find anything on the internets!) When a quick “feeler” email to the boys’ teachers and school admin came back with a quick – “You should TOTALLY do it!”, we knew this path was going to be it! Within a week, we had purchased a 33′ travel trailer, finalized most of the logistics for the boys schooling, figured out Andy’s braces situation, and figured out that our first stop would be Dallas for Christmas (thanks Cousin Susie & Mike!). We’ll likely try to stay in warmer climates for the winter, trying to hit up National Parks, Presidential Libraries, State Parks and other interesting monuments/roadside attractions. The South Dakota weather has cooperated so far, and we should be able to get out of here before any large amounts of snow fly!

This blog will be written by all of us, and we’ll initial at the end who’s responsible. Gunner may write too! (YES, we are bringing our 50lb English Setter Gunner along. Say an extra prayer for him, the moving away from his 5 acre playground will be tough I’m sure).

And please, no one make fun of my jargon-haha. (MT)