Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ready or not, here we come!

We're in West Virginia, listening to the Partridge Family sing about "Point me in the direction of Albuquerque." It's a bit too late for that map entry. (David Cassidy was my main heart throb when I was about 12. Carrie says Bobby Sherman was hers.)

I searched for two weeks for the perfect ring to buy. I wanted an authentic Native American created treasure that I could afford. I found my ring in Durango, CO. It's sterling silver with an oval charolite stone. Charolite is purple (shocker, I know!) with white shadows. Today I lost my ring. Carrie called the hotel in Kentucky to ask if they'd found it. They didn't find it. I was so upset. St. Anthony was summoned - again. Carrie just found my ring in the black hole between the seat and the console! I'm so happy!

Yesterday, I drove for at least 15 minutes through "flat rock" rain like you couldn't believe. (My mom always said rain like that is like a cow peeing on a flat rock!) There was so much lightning and the heaviest rain I've ever driven in. I was so tense by the time my them was over.

We just passed five really long flat bed trucks transporting blades of the huge wind mills from the wind farms we passed in Kansas. Mammoth! I think wind power is such a great solution.

We are both ready to snuggle up in our own beds tonight after we get caught up with our families. Alaiyna learned to crawl while we have been gone. I can't wait to watch!

(Ewwwwww! Not ANOTHER dead skunk!)

Thanks for all your well-wishes, funny comments, prayers and support as we've shared our wacky adventure!

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Last Night

So this is our last hotel for the trip.  We are watching Chopped on the Food Network and sipping Margaritas in our jammies.  Next door to our hotel is a Hollywood Hustlers store...anyone need us to pick up something for you?

We spent last night in Columbia, MO.  We were in a La Quinta that left something to be desired!  (No towels, no WiFi, and a moldy ice bucket...ick!)  We vote for Comfort Inn (the best breakfasts).

Today we drove a couple hours to St. Louis to check out the arch.  OMG, it was hot and muggy and just plain gross!  After all those days without humidity, it was like a slap in the face!  We were not perspiring, glowing or even sweating...we were dripping!  GROSS!!!  It was really pretty from the outside but we weren't really impressed about the ride to the top (in a pod that was on the claustrophobic side...thought I was headed for the moon) and the view.  Of course we haven't a clue as to what we were looking at except the Mississippi River!  When we got back to the ground the weather had changed to a crazy mix of big fluffy clouds that looked like they were ready to burst.

Lori had done some investigating restaurants for lunch.  She found Pappy's Smokehouse for BBQ.  We had both seen it on the Food Network and were excited to visit!  We had the choice confirmed by the State Park Rangers and followed Google Navigator to Pappy's.   Holy Cow (or pig?) it was great BBQ.  If you ever are in St. Louis, you have to go!  We had ribs, brisket, green beans, beans and french fried sweet potatoes between the two of us.  We were in a food coma!  yummy!  (We didn't need dinner!)

Those clouds turned into a down pour of Noah proportions!  Lori was stuck driving through the crazy lightening and deluge.  I took over the driving at Santa Clause, Indiana - yes, we had to drive through!  It rained most of the way to Lexington, Kentucky and we look forward to joining our families tomorrow night!

Oh...and the best news of the day - Mom is home and doing well (except her hair - she says it looks like shit!)

Monday, July 11, 2011


Well, we drove across Kansas today.  Made it half way through Missouri.  Not too eventful!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Rocky Mountain High...John Denver Anyone????

We are presently driving in Colorado…we have left the mountains and are in the flat lands and they are FLAT!  We see lots of horses and cattle. 

The last Lori wrote was our drive out of Arizona.  Do not mention Four Corners to me!  I’ve changed the name to F-in Four Corners!  I didn’t want to go there anyway!  Grrrrrr

We drove until we found a Casino…we thought we could get a cheap dinner.  It was probably the worst meal we’ve had on our trip.  It wasn’t horrible but nothing to write home about - so why am I writing????  Who knows!  We drove on to Cortez, Colorado where we unhappily realized that we had a low tire.  After driving around for a service station with air to fill that sucker up,we headed to Durango.  We found a nice Best Western (no thanks to who said that there was only one room with a double bed - I like Lori a lot - but not that much!). 

Saturday we forced ourselves out of bed at 6:30 (after checking in at midnight - yawn!) to grab breakfast and head for the Durango-Silverton Railroad where we enjoyed the ride through the gorge cut by the Animas River to the historic city of Silverton.  What a fantastic ride that was…the words glorious, stupendous, marvelous, awesome, Holy Cow! don’t come close to describing the ride!  We had a great lunch at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant called Handlebar Mustache (I know what the Glenn Dale folks are thinking about!)  We didn’t have much time to check out the town (next time I’m spending a couple days up there!).  We hopped on a van that took us back to Durango.  The van driver told us tales of the area.  I can’t remember any of them right now!  I was worried that that after the train ride, that this wouldn’t be much fun but the view was spectacular!  He took us to the company headquarters for our raft ride!  Yes, we took an awesome ride down the Animas River!  Much of the river was calm but we had up to 3 rapids…enough to have a bit of fun without scaring the crap out of us.  It was fantastic!  We highly recommend rafting!  I was envious of the kayakers out there.  I’m ready to try river kayaking!

(Oh, Lordy!  Lori is waving at Cowboys!) 

We returned to the car dying of thirst!  We also had a tire dying of air!  Yikes 12 pounds   We drove across the street to fill it up - then to Sonic for slushes - then to Wal-Mart for tire repair.  The 10 minute procedure was going to take 1.5 hours!  What????  We were hot, tired, hungry and maybe a bit grumpy!  So, we left the car and walked the 3 miles (this could be a slight exaggeration) it took to get from one end of Wal-Mart to the other…it was the biggest Wal-Mart we’d ever seen!  We found a shop for wine that we needed to go with our pizza dinner, we planned to order to have delivered to the room, and a spa to have our toes done (this trip hasn’t done our toes any favors).  I could have fallen asleep in that massage chair!  The car wasn’t ready when we got back but only had a few more minutes to wait. 

We went back to the room and enjoyed our wine and pizza watching HGTV and working on the blog.  AND a great night’s sleep!  We didn’t get up until 9:00!  Lazy

Today we have wandered through a few shops in Durango, stood on a “hill” that was 11,700 ft high right on the Continental Divide, stood in snow, seen a small herd of buffalo (farmed but we’ll take it), driven out the magnificent Rockies while listening to John Denver, and now we continue to drive to lower elevations (Rocky Ford is only 4000 something). 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Goodbye Flagstaff, July 7 and 8

Thursday was a laundry and oil change day. We also took another drive past Lake Mary to Mormon Lake to see eagles. The weather didn't cooperate. It was fun to see the clouds boil, the sky turn angry and see the lightning streak, but we did not see any eagles. It was still a fun drive. One of my most treasured experiences on our wacky adventure is getting to know Carrie's dad, Dick. He is funny and goofy and smart and a great person. We had a lot of fun doing exciting things like driving and sightseeing as well as mundane things like fixing dinner and washing dishes. We especially had tons of fun teasing each other.

We got a call from Carol at the hospital, finding out that the doctors were working on transferring her to Tucson. Within two hours, she was scheduled to leave as soon as the ambulance got there for her. We visited Carol before she was wheeled off to the ambulance and home to Tucson, showed her our elk pictures and said goodbye. Carrie was sad to be separated from her mom and I won't be surprised if she flies to Tucson later in the summer. We began making plans to leave on Friday morning.

Dick left Flagstaff by car on Friday at the crack of dawn. He was hyper and ready to get home! It was sad to say goodbye. (It's always nice to know that you have made a lifetime friend.) We left a short time later and headed north. We stopped at Cameron, which is a Native American trading post and tourist trap. The Gallery of Fine Art at Cameron is fantastic! Beautiful jewelry, blankets, bead work, baskets, pottery, you name it. I would highly recommend a visit to the Gallery if you are ever in Cameron.

From there, we took off toward the east. We stopped at "Dinosaur Tracks" where local Navajos gave walking tours of a prehistoric site of dinosaur fossils. Our tour guide was pretty cute. She used a sports water bottle to outline the tracks and prints we were seeing. When you see our pictures (eventually), you will see her water outlines. Weird.

We drove from there to Monument Valley. I don't have the vocabulary to describe Monument Valley. I will give it a go. When we got there, the weather was iffy. There was a storm brewing on three sides of us and there was a "haboob" on the fourth side. (A haboob is a dust storm that only occurs in the Sahara Desert and in Arizona. There was a huge haboob in Phoenix last week.) Carrie took me on a driving tour around the monuments, driving on the most rugged road I have probably ever been on. I am so impressed with her Toyota Highlander and her driving! We stopped, got out and spent a long time at Artist's Point. Carrie said it should be renamed Carrie's Point. It's her favorite vantage point. I can understand her point of view, so to speak. I really don't have the words to describe how incredibly gorgeous Monument Valley is from this perspective. She said she'd never been there when the sky wasn't clear and blue. The sky was stunning because it was blue and sunny here and there, gray and boiling in other places, and it was constantly changing. We did tree pose in the shadows of the monuments. You can't beat that!

We drove on and on from there, heading toward "Four Corners." We got there just as the sun was setting, at 8:15, only to find out that the Navajos close the Four Corners Marker area at 8. There was a bit of foul language in our car. We made our way to Durango, Colorado by midnight. We have quite an adventure planned for Durango. Stay tuned!!

Lake Mary, Wednesday, July 6

So, Carrie has been talking about seeing elk in the Flagstaff area for weeks. We hadn't seen any in the 10 or so days we'd been in Flag, so we decided to make a specific drive for the purpose of seeing elk. I did a little research and found out that Lake Mary is a good place to see them.

When Carrie, Dick and I were a few miles before Lake Mary, we saw cars pulled onto the shoulder and then we saw them!! Elk! There were three elk up pretty close to the road and about six or eight farther back in some trees. We took pictures and pinched ourselves and giggled and high-fived each other.

We weren't ready to go back "home" yet, so we continued down the road to Lake Mary. There is "lower" Lake Mary, which was a totally dry, grassy lake bed and "upper" Lake Mary, which had lots of water and boaters. We now know that we don't really give a rip about "upper." We stopped at "lower" and saw a herd of elk that was probably 50 in number. I think they were probably 100 yards from us. We thought we'd been thrilled before, but now we were ecstatic! The elk were grazing and making strange squawking noises that we first thought were birds.

Then, we drove on and saw another herd that must have had between 100 and 150 elk! I thought I was going to levitate right off the face of the earth! It was almost completely dark by then, but I kept insisting on trying to photograph them. My pictures look like crap, so I tried to imprint the sight permanently on my retinae. There were young elk that were playing with each other, cavorting and hopping and running like they were playing tag. It was breath-taking to watch. We finally left when we couldn't see each other, let alone the elk. We went out to dinner and bored the server with our pictures, but he could tell we were excited, so he played along with us. It was a great experience that we won't forget.


I'm going to post about my mom and I'll let Lori post about what we've been doing.  She is way better at the brain is fried!

Mom has a pacemaker!  Crazy, I know!  Let's is Saturday...We left AZ on Friday and Mom left Flagstaff on Thursday.  Thursday afternoon she was told that if insurance would pay, then she would be transferred to Tucson University Hospital where there is an electrophysiocardiologist (I'm sure that this is spelled wrong!).  Basically this is a heart electrician.  So within a couple hours, she was in an ambulance headed for Tucson!  Dad, Lori and I were left with our heads spinning.  We had to figure out what to do next!  Lori and I hadn't even looked at the map to make the final decisions about the ride home!

I called Mom Friday morning to find out how the trip went and she said it was long (especially trying to use a bed pan in the ambulance!).  AND she said that they were putting a pacemaker in that afternoon.  Mom's only concern was Dad arriving in time!  Not a problem!

I've talked with her a couple of times.  She is doing really well.  They are monitoring the pacemaker over the weekend and she'll probably go home on Tuesday!

We feel pretty blessed that many of mom's prior problems have been fixed!  YEAH!  She is doing well!

Thanks for all the prayers!  Carrie

PS...Dad is doing really well too!