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 2 (Part I): From New Mexico To Page, Arizona

June 17, 2018

After a good night rest, Kevin, Katelynn, Sara and I had a nice breakfast at the Motel on Father’s Day. The sky didn’t look promising, outside. I was worried, it would rain when we arrive at the Four Corners. We still had a few sprinkles. But when we arrived at the corner of all four states, it was surprisingly nice. The sun came out and the ground dried up for Sara putting her hands and feet in each state. Since we arrived early, it wasn’t so busy at the Four Corner Monument. A bus full of British tourists, and a few couples and families were there. I guess, the early hours are the best to go and see it. If you decide to go there, be prepared for a steep entry price. We paid $30 for the vehicle to enter. Since we were four, it was $7.50 per person. And we stayed maybe for about 30 minutes. Looking at it that way, it’s still a decent price.

Kevin and I decided to take Highway 160 and Highway 98 to get to Page, Arizona. This seemed to be the most efficient way to get to Zion National Park. While Kevin looked at the route, I looked at the map and said: “I have an idea. Since the Horseshoe Bend is only a couple of miles outside from Page, I really would like to see it this time.” In 2008, we were rafting in the Horseshoe Bend. And when we came back to Page, it was getting too dark to walk all the way down the trail and see it from above. Now ten years later, I really wanted to see it. When we arrived there, it was a long way to get to the bend. There were long stretches walking through red sand and down hill. But the hardest part was hiking back up. It was in the afternoon, and the sun was beating down. But I was determined. And therefore, I’ve finally got to see it and can scratch it off my bucket list.

Before we entered Utah, we made a stop at the local Walmart to refill on food and water. At the Glen Canyon Dam, I asked Kevin to let me out so I could see the dam better. Kevin drove across the bridge, while I crossed it by foot. Katelynn came halfway on the bridge, because she wanted to see the dam. I asked her, if she can remember the Glen Canyon Dam from riding on the raft boat in the canyon. She said, she has only a vague memory of it, because she was only four. “… But I remember, you showing me pictures of it, Mom!” Across the bridge, we went into the Carl Hayden Visitor Center. Katelynn was hoping to see more dinosaurs. But she was happy with the foot prints outside the entrance of the center. Once cooled off and refreshed, we all were ready to get to Utah.

… to be continued …

Travel Journal, Day 1: From Texas To New Mexico

June 16, 2018

Man, I was in a crappy mood when we packed the car and left for Utah on Saturday morning. I slept only four hours the night prior. And I didn’t feel good. But this was not stopping us from going on vacation. I took a two-hour nap in the car, while Kevin was driving towards Amarillo. Several miles after Wichita Falls, I woke up and felt refreshed. I’ve noticed, Sara was taking a nap as well. It’s not usual for her. But she must have been pooped as well. At the Quanah County Safety Rest Area, we took a break to have lunch. Walking along the pond was a nice break from sitting in the car, before we were moving on.

In Amarillo, Kevin said something about the Cadillac Ranch. I did a little research, and found out that the ranch is west of Amarillo. Usually, we drive through Amarillo at night. So, we’ve never seen it from the Interstate. This time, we decided to make a stop. After Kevin refilled the van tank, we parked on the side of the service road. It took a short walk and we were standing in front of ten half sunken in Cadillacs. I handed Katelynn and Sara each a spray can, which were just laying around on the ground. The girls left their marks at the cars. Sara was not happy, she had spray paint on her fingers. I said: “Girl, it’s a vacation trophy along the way. I’ve got spray paint on my fingers, too.” Katelynn showed her fingers and agreed: “See, we all got trophies from our first sight along the road.” Sara lightened up and smiled: “Yeah, I guess I’ve got a trophy.”

Getting to the Texas/New Mexico border, we got into some rain. The temperatures dropped from 89ºF (31ºC) to 65ºF (18ºC) while the thunderstorm came through. It was very refreshing, after the heat and humidity in Dallas.

At the Pajarito Rest Area in New Mexico, we ate dinner. We always bring food on the road to save some $$. The girls enjoy a good old “Road Sandwich made by Momma with L-O-V-E”, some fruits and apple juice. Snacks are important, too. That keeps our girls happy and Kevin’s wallet gets a break. The sun was out, and the kids could walk around  for a little bit. Our goal was to make it to Farmington in New Mexico that night.

When we approached Albuquerque, it looked like we are driving into another storm. And sure enough, as soon as we got over that hill it looked as we are driving towards a raging volcano. Driving through the city, the sky unleashed it’s “beast”. Getting down the hill, the wind was so gusty, it shook the whole van, while we dried to make it to the get to the other side of town. Once we were on the west side of Albuquerque, the sun came out and we saw a beautiful double rainbow. We were surprised, how vivid the colors came out and how long it lasted. It looked stunning.

On Highway 550, we were on our last stretch for the day. There was another, much lighter rain storm, before we arrived in Farmington. I could not wait getting out of the car and rest for the night. It was a long day. But we’ve reached our goal. And we weren’t to far from the Four Corners Monument, which we would see the following day.

… to be continued …

Back From Utah

This was a fun trip through the Four Corner States in the last five days. We left on Saturday morning, and arrived at the Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort on Sunday afternoon. In the meantime, we saw a whole bunch of landmarks along the way; took a Jeep ride on top of the mountain to see the sunset over Zion National Park; saw two National Parks; and yesterday evening, we came back home. After a good night sleep, we will take it easy today. And the next days, I will post about our adventures out in the Southwest and Rocky Mountain regions. As much as I love travelling, it is always good to be back home.

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Each family member is in a different state at the Four Corners.

Travel Journal, Day 6 & 7: From Arizona Back To Texas

December 29 & 30, 2017

Friday was a much better day. I was back to my normal self. After getting cleaned up and leaving the motel, we ate breakfast in a family owned restaurant. At the table next to us sat four tourists from Sweden. They were here to see the canyons in Arizona and Utah, before they would go to the Californian coast. I shared some information, about the Antelope Canyon and the Colorado River Discovery Tour in Page. Back in May 2008, Kevin, Katelynn and I went camping at the Grand Canyon. While we were in Arizona, we also did the above mentioned tours, walked the rim of the Barringer Meteor Crater for half a mile, and looked at petrified wood and mesas along the Interstate 40. This is the reason why we stayed only for a couple of hours at the Grand Canyon, this time. That way Sara could see the canyon, before we drove back home to Texas.

A little bit north of the Barringer Meteor Crater is a rest area at Interstate 40. I let Kevin know, that I would like to stop and capture several photos of the outer crater rim. Katelynn, Sara and I climbed up on some boulders to get a better few of the rim. It is still huge, seen from a 6-mile distance. Since Kevin, Katelynn and I have seen the Barringer Meteor Crater almost 10 years ago, we decided to save the money and move on.

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The Barringer Meteor Crater in Arizona

At Friday evening we left New Mexico and made it past Amarillo in Texas.  At the rest area we slept for several hours in the car. It was nice and cozy with all the blankets and comforters we were wrapped in. And it was a good decision, we stopped in the Texas Panhandles. Shortly after some dense fog rolled in. But the colder wind blew it out of the area over night.

On Saturday morning, we got some breakfast from a drive thru place and moved on. There were only 290 miles left to get home. We all were relieved, when Kevin drove up the driveway. Lexi, Luis, Joshua and Chewbacca greeted us, as soon as we opened the front door. After a long trip with the van, it was so nice to be back home. 🙂

~ The End ~

Travel Journal, Day 2: From Texas To California

December 25, 2017

It is Christmas. Santa must have made another visit and re-filled the stockings with toys, games and a few walnuts. The girls were excited, that Santa came for a second time. After we had breakfast at the motel, we packed up the car and drove into New Mexico. It was quiet and cool in the desert. Some people took a break and a nap at the rest area. They also must be on a long journey to meet family on this special day.  I used the chance to photograph yucca palms, prickly pear cacti and the San Andres Mountains, before we moved on. The Sun just started to rise on this beautiful Christmas morning. After Las Cruces, we went from Interstate 10 to Interstate 8. The night before, Kevin and I decided to go to the beach in San Diego.

When we arrived in Arizona, we took a short break to stretch out. Katelynn and Sara walked around and checked out some stones. Kevin got some snacks and drinks ready for the road later. And I did a little photo walk around the rest area. While we were driving through the Arizona desert, we wanted to look at the big Saguaro cacti. They are famous for this area, and seen in a lot of the old Western movies. Some of them looked like they were ready to fall over. They had a lot of holes from birds and other critters living in them and try to find shelter from the torching Summer sun. Other Saguaro cacti looked perfect and untouched. Getting a closer look, I had to pass some snake holes and lots of ants. Before I went back to the car, I shook my pants and checked for ants. These little buggers were sneaky, climbing up my legs. But I rather deal with them, than these annoying fire ants, we have in Texas.

In California, we’ve noticed that Sara entered her 30th US-state. That’s a lot of states for a 8-year, young lady like Sara. Yep, she’s been around in the US, quite a bit. We passed the Imperial Sand Dunes. Several people used the opportunity to get out with their dune buggies and ride these dunes on this nice, sunny holiday. I was jealous, a little bit. Because it looked like a lot of fun. The elevation became higher and higher, when we drove through the Rockies. Lots of wind turbines were out in the fields. Kevin mentioned, he like the Texas turbines better. They are taller, but optical it seems their blades seem to be bigger. I don’t know, if they are bigger or if it is due to their height, They just seem to be much larger. And I found out, where the Rocky Mountains derived their name from: They are nothing other than rocks, boulders, and coarse gravel in that particular area. =D But together they look very beautiful in the Californian sunset.

In the early evening, we arrived in San Diego. Kevin got a condo right at the beach for the night. I could not ask for more. While waiting for him to get us signed in, I rolled down the car window to listen to the rolling waves of the Pacific ocean. I couldn’t see it, because it was dark. But the sound was so soothing after a long ride through the desert all day.

… to be continued …

We Are Back From Vacation!

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Sara and Katelynn at Dessert View by the Grand Canyon

Kevin, the girls and I had a wonderful vacation in California, in the last week of 2017. We went to the Pacific coast, saw family in Los Angeles, went to Disneyland in Anaheim, and checked out Hoover Dam, before we went to the Grand Canyon. Sara has caught up with Katelynn: they both have seen 31 US-states in total.

After New Year, I will start writing blogs about our trip to California. Stay tuned! Until then …

Happy New Year!