Saturday, June 29, 2013

Sweet Sixteen

Remember this?

Lu, age 9

Me too. Feels like yesterday.  That was Lu's first birthday on this blog. Today, my sweet girl is sixteen. 

Happy birthday, baby!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Great Big All American Girl Roadtrip: Photos

We made it home safe and sound about a week ago! It was an adventure, I'll grant you that.

We started in Sante Fe, and stayed in the cutest little hotel a block or two from the plaza, which was perfect because we could walk everywhere. We ate the first night at the Blue Corn Cafe, which I can highly recommend. Yummy food, great atmosphere and lovely people.

This was one of those times I wished I was more like my friend Debbie, because there was a group of French tourists eating a few tables away and they could not translate the menu (and no French speakers in the house!) When one of men received his dish of "macaroni & cheese", his expression was the funniest thing I've seen in a long time. Not what he was expecting!

Our first morning we walked to the Loretto Chapel.

It was beautiful, but like most things in life, smaller and more commercialized than I expected. (It's no longer a church, but a privately owned tourist attraction.)

After that we made our way to Petroglyph National Monument down in Albuquerque and then northwest to Chaco Canyon.

I have never been on a rougher road than the road to Chaco. I thought my teeth were going to shake out of my skull. It's 21 miles off the highway and something like 13 of that is dirt road. Apparently they don't use road graders out in the back country though, and it's basically one long cattleguard of dirt and stone. Ouch. I had a headache by the time we got there!

But the pueblo dwellings were beautiful. I wish I had enjoyed this part more, especially in light of the next day on our trip.

We drove across the rest of NM and into Arizona to Kayenta, the closest town to Monument Valley.  We hiked down to view the Navajo National Monument:

And then drove out to Monument Valley for a sunset Jeep tour in the back country. Honestly? It's impossible to take a bad picture of Monument Valley. It is GORGEOUS.

That last photo was taken about 5 minutes before I fell off a rock and partially dislocated my kneecap. You know the most fun you can have on vacation? Hint: It's not in the emergency room. 

So, four x-rays, two crutches, and one sleepless night later, we drove back through monument valley on our way to Colorado, cutting our trip short since I was not in prime driving condition any longer. 

The money shot:

We drove through "Mexican Hat":

And landed in Mesa Verde National Park.  I'm pretty miserable at this point (and thinking the doctor was probably right when he told me to stay in the hotel for 36 hours before I attempted to drive), but the view was pretty on the way up. 

You know what no one ever told me about Mesa Verde? It's at the top of a mountaintop mesa. Twenty-one miles of hairpin turns and sheer dropoffs. At 20 mph. 

I couldn't do it. We only made it 9 miles before we were both carsick and I could barely stand to lift my foot to hit the break (not a good Rx for that drive).  So...Mesa Verde. Sorry we missed you!

We drove on to Durango to spend our last night, and Colorado (what little we saw of it) was lovely:

It took over 15 hours to drive home the next day, but I've never been so glad to see my bed in my life. 

I'm glad to be home! 

ps. I'm off crutches now and the kneecap is improving. Which is good news...I leave for Belize in 2 weeks!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Great Big All American Girl Road Trip

Southwest Edition.

Lu and I are about to embark on a road trip. We're heading west, but other than that we have no set itinerary.

This is 50% making me crazy and 50% very liberating. For obvious reasons, I'm not giving exact details before they happen, but I can tell you that these things are on our "must see" list:

Loretto Chapel - source
Sante Fe, NM
Chaco Canyon - source

Monument Valley - source

Arches National Park - source
Rocky Mountain National Park - source
Our wish list is pretty long, so probably debatable whether we can squeeze all that in, but you know us! We Dream Big! :)

See you on the flip side!