Last year in June, Kevin, Katelynn, Sara and I were in Philadelphia. We also past the Lincoln Financial Field, while driving on the Delaware Expressway/Interstate 95. Since the Philadelphia Eagles won this year’s Super Bowl, I pulled up photos of their home stadium.
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.
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 ~
December 28, 2017
On that Thursday, I didn’t feel well when I woke up with a neck ache. I took an Ibuprofen and made sure I stayed hydrated throughout the day. But I still could not get rid of it. Later in the day it turned into a headache. We think, the higher elevation driving through California and Nevada played a part in it. Hoover Dam was planned in. I told Kevin, I can’t make it all the way up the stairs to stand on the bridge and look down Hoover Dam. “How about we cross it and find a parking spot on the other side? I don’t mind seeing it from the backside. It still will be impressive”, I suggested. Said, done. After looking at the Hoover Dam and parts of Lake Mead/Colorado River, capturing some photos and a potty break, we found out we had to cross the dam again. The road to the dam in Arizona was closed. So, we had back track to get to Highway 93. Driving through Arizona, I grabbed my neck pillow and took a nap for most of the way to Williams, AZ. I was glad, when I could stretch out and sleep in the motel bed. Kevin, Katelynn and Sara went for a walk and had dinner in that small Western-style town.
… to be continued …
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 …
December 26, 2017
Driving along the coast on Interstate 5 was very relaxing. Usually the road is a gridlock the further it goes toward Los Angeles. But due to the fact that it was a day after Christmas, we had a clear shot to Anaheim. Arriving in Anaheim, we went to the hotel to check in first. Since we arrived early in the day, and it was too soon for having lunch, we decided to go to Downtown Disney. I love Downtown Disney, but … oh boy … I can drop some $$ every time I go there. 😀 We looked at some stores. The girls played with Lego, before we went to the World of Disney. After purchasing Disney jackets for all four of us, and Kevin got us a new Christmas tree skirt, which I always wanted, I had enough of spending money. On a good note: The tree skirt was way cheaper at Disney, than the price I’ve seen at other online stores.
Around noon we drove to eat lunch in Orange, which is the next town over from Anaheim. After refreshing and resting at the hotel for a couple of hours, we went to see Kevin’s uncle, aunt, and cousins. They invited us for a nice home cooked dinner, which was so appreciated after being on the road for the last three days. We all had a good time. Our girls enjoyed talking to Kevin’s cousins. Katelynn was very little, when she visited California back in 2006. Sara met her grandmother’s family side for the first time. They all had a lot to share. After a few hours, we went back to the hotel. The next day would be a long day in Disneyland.
… to be continued …
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 …
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 …