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.


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 4 (Part I): Disneyland ~ From Entering To Power Outage

December 27, 2017

The big day was here! Before Kevin, Katelynn, Sara and I left the hotel room, I made sure we had the tickets for Disneyland. On the way to the park we went to have breakfast at Denny’s. That place still looks exactly the same, as I remembered it from 11 years ago. Kevin’s uncle had a time share next door. So, we spent quite some time in that Denny’s.

After breakfast, we parked in the Disney parking lot a little bit further down Harbor Blvd. The busses were ready to transport the big crowd to the entrance of Disneyland. It was a beautiful, sunny morning on a Winter Break day. A loooot of people wanted to go to the parks. So, we spent about an hour just to get in. Once we made it through the bag check point, bathroom break, and entrance, I cheered that we are in: “Yay, we made it into the park! WOOHOO!” Several people heard me, and began to laugh. 😀

When we go into a Disney park, we always take a park map with us. It never hurts to have one. And still, after all the visits to Magic Kingdom in both, Walt Disney World and Disneyland, we still can’t remember everything. Some rides also change or the area gets refurbished over the years. One way to not get too exhausted in a Disney park, we just walk around and do activities in a clockwise circle. We made the mistake before to go crisscrossing a park in Walt Disney World. Lots of walking, and nothing gets really done.

Kevin, the girls and I checked out the Enchanted Tiki Room and the Jungle Cruise in Adventure Land, before we hopped over to Pirates of The Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion at the New Orleans Square. I definitely had to see both Jacks (Sparrow and Skellington) ;). After that, we had lunch at the Hungry Bear Restaurant in Critter Country. We went there at the perfect time. Because when we left the restaurant, it was crowded and hard to find a table. Kevin and I decided to skip photos with Pooh and his friends. The lines were just too long. We rather wanted to go on the new ship Columbia and “sail” around Tom Sawyer’s Island. As soon as we got of the boat, we made our way over to Frontierland. Something wasn’t right. There was no big crowd. And it was too quiet. Usually the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad would literally thunder through its mountains. Okay, let’s move on to Fantasyland. No ride was moving either. It just didn’t look right. Kevin asked a Disney employee, what was going on. He politely applied that “the area experiences a power outage. And therefore the rides are closed for this moment. But the power should be back any minute. They are working on finding the reason of the outage.” I said to Kevin: “Now, that makes sense. That’s why the Big Thunder is not thundering, and it was actually comfortable to walk from the Columbia over here.” The Matterhorn on the other hand was flooded with guests. Kevin said, we could go over to Tomorrowland to sit it out until everything is back to normal. What a mistake! The crowd turned into even a greater gridlock than in Critter Country. :/

… to be continued …

Travel Journal, Day 3 (Part I): The Pacific Beach

December 26, 2017

Kevin got up at 5 am PST (Pacific Standard Time) to cook breakfast, before we walked down to the beach. We wanted to get to the ocean, before the sun was rising. After breakfast, we all got dressed and were ready to go. Less than five minutes later, Kevin and the girls chased and got chased by the waves like little sandpipers. The seagulls looked curious at us. Maybe they wondered, if we have some food for them. I picked up a few sea shells along the way to the Crystal Pier. After I captured several photos of the sunrise, the waves and the cloud formations by the pier, I walked back to my family. Kevin and Katelynn were still chasing waves. And Sara enjoyed drawing hearts and flowers in the soft, wet sand. Kevin and I noticed some surfers and watched them riding the waves, for little bit. After an hour, we went back to the condo. We got cleaned up, packed the car and went back on the road to get to Anaheim. Here are some photos of our fun morning at the San Diego Pacific Beach. Enjoy! 🙂

… to be continued …

We Are Back From Vacation!


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! 

The “Sun” Cheese-Pumpkin Pie


Sara and I baked a “Sun” Cheese-Pumpkin Pie to celebrate the Winter Solstice.

Sara and I were making Cheese-Pumpkin Pie filling and decorated it with phyllo dough.  Sara really enjoyed helping me with the pie. She and Katelynn enjoyed it even more having a slice of pie, today. It turned out good. But we decided we make everything from scratch, next time. It will make it taste even better. 🌞

Christmas Lights & Tree

It’s this time of year, again. Traditionally, the lights and the Christmas tree go up in and around our house the day after Thanksgiving. Kevin works on the Christmas lights going along the roof, and Katelynn works on setting up the Christmas tree in the front room. Sara helps both of them. And I make sure, everything goes to the right spot. And of course, Joshua is the inspector to make sure, Daddy installed the light as they supposed to be.

… and this evening I had the chance to photograph the Christmas lights at dusk. Sara had a friend over. And they were dancing around our little “Charlie Brown Tree”.

American Heroes Festival

Hello! I’m back again. Due to the flu, I was bed ridden for a few days. There is a nasty virus going around, right now. Sara had to come home from school early on Monday. She missed two days. She was very sad and tried to convince her Daddy, she’s feeling all better on Tuesday morning. But, we convinced Sara it was better to rest with some fluits and a couple bites to eat watching Spongebob on the couch. (I tell ya, Spongebob might not be the smartest sponge under the sea. But he’s my hero in situations like that. He fixes almost everything.) Today she was fit enough to go back. Me? It felt like getting hit with a shovel across the face. I don’t know how it really feels. But I can imagine it feels similar to that, what I’ve been going through the last several days. Still a little bit exhausted; however I can sit at the desk without passing out and later finding out I have keyboard marks all over my face. 😉

Last Saturday, there was a Part II on Veterans Day. After we came home from the American Heroes 5K Run, we rested for a while before we went to see the Oak Ridge Boys and the fireworks down at the festival. It was a great evening. The Oak Ridge Boys are still up and going. The fireworks were great as always. And I had a chance to do some more long exposure shots of the carnival with my camera. We had a great time as a family. And here are some photos of the festival: