Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge, Oklahoma

Five years ago, Kevin, the girls and I drove to Oklahoma on Labor Day. We picked a spot at the most northern part of Lake Texoma, which is southeast of the town Tishomingo. Parking at the northern side of the lake, we took a little hike. It was humid, warm, and a lot of insects were buzzing all over the place. All of a sudden, a Gulf Fritillary sat down on Katelynn’s arm. Katelynn kept hiking with it for a bit, before the butterfly decided to fly to another flower. Kevin said: “I think I see a hummingbird right there.” But when I looked closer, I smiled and replied: “That’s close. Actually, it’s a hummingbird moth, also called a sphinx moth.” The girls kept watching it. And one said: “It really acts like a hummingbird.”

It was a nice afternoon in Oklahoma. We drove back home to have dinner in Texas. We all got out as a family and did something together on this September holiday. Sometimes, this is all it takes to make the girls happy.

Travel Journal, Day 5: Getting Back Home To Texas

June 20, 2018

Our five-day vacation came officially to an end. After breakfast in the Motel, we left Cortez to drive home. We made our way from Durango in Colorado back to New Mexico. In Santa Fe we took a break and had lunch. Once we crossed the New Mexico/Texas Border, I was happy to be on Texas grounds again. It took us until 11 P.M. to get to our house. We had a fun trip. But it’s nice to be home in Texas, again. As always, it was lots of driving, my buttox hurt and my feet started to swell. But I can’t wait for our next adventure.

~ The End ~

Travel Journal, Day 4 (Part II): Arches National Park ~ Red Rock Wonderland

June 19, 2018

If Arches National Park is the famous park of Utah could be argued. But back in the day living in Germany, when someone mentioned Utah, the first picture coming into my head was the Delicate Arch. Therefore, the park was the one that stuck in my head. I didn’t know that Utah had many more National Parks, State Parks, Monuments, etc., until I moved to the United States. Since years, seeing the Delicate Arch was on my bucket list. On this trip, I’ve finally got to see it. We looked at it from the Lower Viewpoint, and we hiked all the way up the hill to the Upper Viewpoint. I scratched the Delicate Arch very lightly out on my list. Because I still want to hike all the way up to it and touch it.

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Arches National Park Sign at the Visitor Center at the entrance

But the Arches National Park has more to offer than just the Delicate Arch itself. There are many view points of interesting stone formation. Sometimes I think, these places are Mother Natures playgrounds. If she doesn’t want to play in this “sandbox”, she’ll play in another.

We didn’t make all the way back to the “Devils Garden”. There were just too many places to see along the road. And I’m not gonna post all the photos I’ve captured. Here are the 36 best photos I’ve shot in Arches National Park:

When we left Arches National Park, we drove to Cortez in Colorado, to rest for the night there.

… to be continued …

Travel Journal, Day 4 (Part I): Travelling From Zion National Park To Arches National Park

June 19, 2018

While Kevin and I were resting on the front porch on Monday afternoon, I was looking on my Rand McNally map. Kevin said, going to all five parks would get quite expensive when we stay in each park only for a couple hours. After some thinking and debating, we came to the decision, we would go to Arches National Park on our way home. Seeing the Delicate Arch is on my bucket list for quite some time. It would be a nice highlight for the end of our trip and before we leave Utah.

Tuesday morning, we packed our gear and put it in the car before we had breakfast and checking out at the Zion Ponderosa Ranch. We drove through Zion National Park for the third time in a couple of days, so we could reach Interstate 15. From there we would drive all the way up to get to Interstate 70. Along these two Interstates we’ve stopped several times to see Utah’s beautiful landscape along the way. We took a last stop to eat lunch at the rest area, right before exit to Highway 191, which leads to the entrance of Arches National Park.

… to be continued …

Travel Journal, Day 3 (Part II): German Foods & A Relaxing Afternoon At Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort

June 18, 2018

Prior to find our resort on Sunday, we went through a small town named Kanab. There was a sign stating, that there is a German bakery in Orderville, which is right around the corner from the resort. Coming into Orderville, we had to get to the other end of the town and a couple of miles further to arrive at the Bรคckerei Forscher. When I looked at the yummy food at the display counter, my mouth became watery. Oh my, it looked so good. Katelynn, Sara and Kevin ate Salami-Arugula Sandwiches with a side of potato salad and a pickle. I had a Black Forest Ham-Gouda Sandwich with a side of potato salad and a pickle, and as desert I had Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake). I loved it so much, biting into a real crunchy bread roll again. Well, I definitely can’t deny my German roots, when it comes to food. ๐Ÿ˜€ While we were waiting for our order, Kevin purchased a German Rye Bread for me. We ate that on our way back home to Texas. The food is pricey, because the sausages, hams, cheeses … etc. are imported from Germany. But it was so worth it. The only thing that could have been better was the Bienenstich. It was a bit on the dry end. I’m not sure, if they import the cakes or bake them on side. If it is a couple of days old, the freshness is unfortunately not there anymore.

For Monday afternoon, we decided we relax at the resort. Katelynn and Sara wanted to go to the pool. And Kevin wanted to recover from the long ride. So, Kevin and I just hung out on the porch. In the late afternoon, the girls came back to rest from the pool. Right in time for eating dinner at the resort. When we came back to the cabin, Katelynn and Sara were ready to go back to the pool. In the meantime, Kevin and I watched some Mountain Bluebirds, a few American Robins and a Black-billed Magpie roaming our campgrounds. There are always some berries and human foods laying around on the ground. It was dinner time for them as well.

Because we wanted to start early on Tuesday morning, we went to bed early on Monday evening. Unfortunately short before midnight, I had another episode with my Anemia. My pulse was racing and I felt nauseaous. I woke up Kevin, and we sat on the porch for a while. I took my medication, which takes the edge away of feeling nauseaous. When I felt comfortable enough, I told Kevin it was okay for him to lay back down. Poor guy, every so often I have to wake him up in the middle of the night for the last four weeks. But I’m in good doctor’s care, eat healthier and take my meds. So, I hope it will resolve soon. Anyway … while I got some fresh air on the porch, Kevin grabbed the camera for me. I looked at the Milky Way. And it looked so stunning, I had to photograph it for the second night in the row. Since it was later in the evening, the Milky Way was much higher in the sky. And it was bright. Something, what I don’t see in the light polluted DFW Metroplex. After focusing on the neighbor’s fire in the firepit for little bit longer, my mind relaxed and I was able to go back to bed, again.

… to be continued …

Travel Journal, Day 3 (Part I): Zion ~ The Hidden Gem of Utah’s National Parks

June 18, 2018

Zion National Park is only a stone’s throw away from the Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort. Coming down from Twin Knoll Road and making a right turn on Highway 9, we could see the East Entrance of the park already. Once we entered Zion National Park, we all were in awe. I said to Kevin: “Bryce Canyon N.P. and Arches N.P. might be the famous Utah parks. But Zion N.P. is a hidden gem.” I wish, we would have taken the shuttle bus, since it is free of charge. But we didn’t know that. And of course, we didn’t go to the Visitor Center to ask, if there was a fee to ride on the bus. Now, it’s one of many excuses to come back again. ๐Ÿ˜‰

… to be continued …

Travel Journal, Day 2 (Part II): From Page, Arizona To Utah

June 17, 2018

When we left Page in Arizona, we still had two to two and a half hours, before we arrived at the resort east of Zion National Park. Southern Utah has the same landscape as Northern Arizona.

Kevin, the girls and I finally made it to our destination, the Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort, in the early evening. After we checked in, we went to our cabin to get our luggage in and have a sandwich for dinner. Sara wanted to go for a swim, so we’ve got her ready and walked down to the pool. While Kevin kept an eye on her, Katelynn and I walked around to check out the area. They have quite a bit of activities for children and teens at the resort. There’s ping-pong, wall climbing, mini golf, a pool … just to name a hand full of activities.

When Katelynn and I came back, Kevin went with Katelynn to the Recreation Center on the property. Katelynn went sip lining, and Kevin informed himself what we could do with the rest of the evening at the resort. He found out, that Zion Ponderosa has a Sunset Jeep Ride, which takes the guests up to a mountain. The area is hard to reach with a regular car. The best way to get up there is in a Jeep or with an ATV. I was definitely in for that. At 8 PM local time, we went with three Jeeps up to this mountain. On top of it, our guide/driver explained to us how this mountain range formed and that the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument doesn’t end in so-called park. It reaches all the way from Salt Lake City to the northern rim of the Grand Canyon. Standing on that mountain, it can be seen perfectly as a staircase. It was very beautiful up there. We watched the sunset, while standing on the roof of Zion National Park. The guide showed us, where the Narrows begin in that valley in front of us. Looking on the other side of the hill, we could see our resort. Shortly after the sunset, we made our way back to Zion Ponderosa. Getting up was the easy part, getting down was a little more adventurous. The trail is much narrower. Sometimes we’ve got a little smack across the face from nature. ๐Ÿ˜€

Coming back, we walked to our cabin. Katelynn and Sara tumbled on top of the bunk bed, while Kevin and I enjoyed the view on the cabin’s porch. I’ve got my camera set up to capture several photos of the Milky Way. That Sunday night, I was too tired to get a perfect shot. But it was fun seeing so many stars in the sky.

… to be continued …