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 …
Our Utah vacation was almost jeopardized by my minor medical setback. But I’m feeling good, now. And I’m ready to go. I wish I had a few extra days to get a couple more things ready for the trip. Kevin and I just have to make a trip to the store and grab a couple more shorts and I need to find a smaller, lighter tripod than the one I have here. When we hike and come across a neat waterfall, I would like to capture it in long exposure. The only way to get a decent shot, I need a tripod for these photos. The lighter the backpack, the easier the hike. 😉 I will take a short break from blogging. And when I come back, I will have a whole new story to tell, and hopefully some cool pictures to show y’all.
Happy 241th Birthday to the flag of the United States of America!
The night is cool and clear. And it will take until the early morning hours, before the waning crescent Moon will rise. Our Star Spangled Banner is waving in the breeze. It is a perfect opportunity to photograph the star constellation Orion in the January night sky.
For a better view feel free to visit my Flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/132943299@N07/38967074804/in/album-72157686994312444 https://www.flickr.com/photos/132943299@N07/38967075774/in/album-72157686994312444
Wow, time flies by when we have fun. It has already been a year, when I’ve got my citizenship.
December 27, 2017
First of all I like to say, I experienced first hand how the media is full of themselves. Worldwide it was reported, that Disneyland had a mega power outage and the guests had to leave the park. BULLSHIT! (Yes, I said it “B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T!” And I’m too old that I have to explain, why I curse sometimes. So, if someone feels offended in any way: Don’t let the door hit ya, where the dear Lord split ya! 😉 ) The outage lasted maybe 15 minutes maximum, and the people who left the park, where just too exhausted with that many people vistiting the park that day. Now this is said, I move on with my regular vacation blog.
While Fantasyland experienced a power outage, Kevin and I decided to go with Katelynn and Sara to Tomorrowland. Oh boy, that was a mistake! That part of the park was even more gridlocked than Critter Country and the New Orleans Square. I said to Kevin: “Do you know, what? Since it is so crowded, let’s take the train and go back over to Mickey’s Toontown. Maybe we run into some characters. The girls would enjoy that. Waiting in line for a ride seems so much less stressful, than trying to get from one place to another.” Kevin agreed, while we walked over to wait for the Disneyland Railroad.
Several trains came and left the station, before it was our turn. We got the train car booth all the way at the end, which was very nice. Arriving at the station by Mickey’s Toontown, we had some ice cream under the railroad bridge. Kevin mentioned, it was short before 3:30 pm. If we wanted to see the parade, we needed to hurry. But the girls and I enjoyed sitting with our ice cream on the bench next to Mickey’s Toontown. After the refreshing break, we ran into Pluto and went on the Roger Rabbit Car Toon Spin ride. While Kevin and Katelynn rode the Gadget’s Go Coaster, Sara and I walked around and looked at some characters’ houses and boats.
It was dark, when Kevin and Katelynn came back from their ride in the coaster. When we left Mickey’s Toontown, we passed “It’s A Small World”. Wow! It was breath taking seeing the display lit up in all these wonderful Christmas lights. We didn’t care, that the line was long. When it was our turn to sit in the boat, we spent about two and a half hours in line. But it would be all worth it. The ride was fun and made up for a lot of stuff in the park.
Our plan was seeing the fireworks. But when Katelynn and I sat on the ground, while Kevin and Sara got some hotdogs for dinner, we both felt the exhaustion. Katelynn just wanted to go to bed. She was very tired. And once I sat down, I had a hard time to move a muscle. Kevin and I decided to skip the fireworks, and go back to the hotel. It was a very good decision. We avoided the big crowd trying to get out of the park after the firework display. Spending about twelve hours in a park, was long enough.
When we came back to the hotel, we all were so tired, we fell asleep within a few minutes.
… to be continued …
NOTE: My two blogs about Disneyland might come across negative. But it is not against the park or its staff. I love Disney. And I love their parks as well. But we’ve noticed, that the visitors are a little more “aggressive”, than what we usually experience in Walt Disney World. Some of them trying to get to their rides fast, without acknowledging their surroundings; or they are lost and don’t know, what to do next, stop in the middle of the bottle neck, which makes the walk not flowing smoothly. This can get very frustrating for other visitors, who would like enjoy their day in Disneyland. It’s food for thought. 😉
Rain, lightning, thunder … all night long. Kevin, Katelynn, Sara and I had a tough time to sleep. The night was over at 6 am, because we planned to got to the Liberty 5K Run in Stewart Creek Park at Lewisville Lake. The event wasn’t cancelled, and we got out of the house by 7 am.
At the parking lot we met our friends. And we all walked into the park together. We still had plenty of time, before the race started. Kevin and Sara stretched a little bit more. But Katelynn thought, she was fine. Later she said, it was a mistake. Her calves started to cramp, when she was running. Usually, she does the 5K under 40 minutes. This time, it took her almost an hour to reach the finish line. When Katelynn ate her yogurt, she said she should have stretched more. Lesson learned. Kevin came in at 36 minutes. And Sara was crossing the finish line at around 50 minutes. It was all for the fun of running for the girls. For Kevin it is more like an extra run to stay in shape for the Half-Marathon in October.
Once we all ate our snacks and drank some water, we walked back to the car. The Independence Day Parade supposed to begin at 10 am. And we still had 45 minutes to line up. Since it was sprinkling, a lot of people didn’t go to the parade. Kevin could park the van backwarts into the parking space. If the sky had opened more, at least we could have sit in the back of the van to stay try. But a little bit of sprinkling doesn’t keep us from cheering on the parade. This year’s theme was “Superheroes”. It was no surprise, that “Wonder Woman” was the Grand Marshal of the parade. Police vehicles, fire trucks, business trailers, churches, boy scouts, girl scouts, the City Council, and more lined up to greet and wish us a “Happy 4th of July”. Our town’s parades might be not the biggest and longest. But it is always enjoyable to get out and see people preparing for events in our community.
The sky cleared, and it turned out to be a nice evening. After dinner, we went to the “Liberty By The Lake” event, which was also in Stewart Creek Park. The “Tin Man Band” was live on stage, when we arrived and set up for watching the fireworks. The sunset was stunning at the lake. I haven’t watched it at the lake in a while. And it was a refreshing sight. The boats where lined up to see the fireworks on the lake. When it got darker, we could see all the lights from the boats out in the water.
When the fireworks started, I’ve noticed my camera battery was as good as dead. And I forgot to bring my charged battery. Oh well, there are more fireworks in the upcoming few days. Kevin, the girls and I shared a wonderful evening together. And that was much more important. ❤
June 16, 2017
Well rested, Kevin, the girls and I left the Motel on Friday morning. Between Waynesville and Fort Leonard Wood, we stopped to get a bite to eat for breakfast. And the car tank needed to be refilled, anyway. Kevin was telling me about his time in Fort Leonard Wood, when he was in basic training over 17 years ago. It was interesting to hear a little story from the past, before Kevin and I met in Germany later that same year. 😉
One of my favorite things I did, while we were on the road was to photograph some local wildflowers along the trip. Some flower can be found in Texas; some seemed new to me. Due to the warm weather and some rain, the wildflowers are flourishing along the freeways. If you get a chance to travel on the highways and freeways this Summer, look out your side windows from time to time. You would be surprised, how colorful it is along the freeways at this time of the year.
Finally, we arrived in St. Louis. Since I wanted to capture photos of the “Gateway to the West” Arch with the mighty Mississippi in the foreground, we had to cross the river to get to Illinois first. There is a little park across the Mississippi, called Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park. It’s a nice park, which has a man-made geyser and the Mississippi Overlook. The overlook was built recently in 2009. Standing on top of the overlook, we had a good view to see the arch, the city, and the river. The overlook has a nice imprinted metal map to show visitors, which buildings they looking at St. Louis. Getting some rest, we sat next to the statue of Mr. Malcolm W. Martin. It is a round stone bench, with a beautiful compass in its center. What I also noticed, that the overlook is very wheelchair friendly.
Kevin, Katelynn, Sara and I really enjoyed our time in St. Louis. But it was time to move on. In a town named Effingham, Illinios we had lunch (Yeah, we had some good jokes about the name of this town). 😀
After driving through Illinios and Indiana, we arrived in Ohio. Ohio is my 30th state (Katelynn’s 27th and Sara’s 23rd state), I’ve visited in the US. My school friend Katja lives with her husband and two kids on a nice 25 acre farm outside of Columbus. Katja and I hadn’t seen each other for 30 years. We had the same teacher in 7th grade back in 1986-1987. About a month before the trip, I told her about us passing through Columbus. And she invited us over to her sweet farm house for dinner and to spend the night. We had a lot of catching up to do. Because a lot of things happened in the last three decades. Her daughter and my girls seemed to have a really good time, too. When it was bedtime, they all were sleeping in one room and telling each other ghost stories in the part of the house, which is from the 1840s. Haha, I can imagine a couple of ghosts were giggling in the corner of the room as well. That night, I passed out very fast after I hit the pillows.
… to be continued …