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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Today we left to drive even farther north to the Grand Canyon. I naively believed the Grand Canyon wasn’t all that great and definitely wasn’t on my list of must sees. Oh how wrong I was. Pictures definitely don’t do it justice. (So now I will post some pictures.)Going out to the edge of the rim I was blown away by the expanse
of it all. I never expected it to be so big. You look over the edge and are at a complete loss for words. It did kind of look false to me, like it was the backdrop on a movie set. It’s just completely unreal.When traveling to the Grand Canyon you must take a few days to truly see everything that you want to see. You can not see everything in one day. There is a bus tour that takes you to different photo spots along the rim which you can only see on this bus ride. We did a bit of hiking down one trail. I only went about halfway down because Jessica started to get a bit winded and I didn’t want to make anyone else turn back. I was amazed at how different the same spot could look at different times during the day. Brandon and I have decided that someday we want to go back and take a backpacking trip down to the bottom of the canyon. It is the only way you can get to the bottom as it takes several hours to get down there and twice as long to get back up. I was also surprised to hear that if you want to take a mule down you have to book it a year in advance.In the picture of Ali to the left click on it to see if you can find some local wildlife. Unfortunately we didn’t get very many good picture of Joseph and Noe was particularly elusive it seems.I believe in Grand Canyon National Park I saw the greatest number of foreign tourists I have seen in such great concentration anywhere in the US. We came across quite a few Germans and saw a great many Asians.

All in all it is a definite must see on the list of places to visit before you die. Now go book some tickets, I’m sure it’s not at all busy during the summer.

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On the Road Again

Today we woke up bright and early and headed north to Slide Rock State Park. It was definitely nice to see some trees again. Slide Rock was pretty cool. First we hiked around and climbed the rocks a bit because the water was super cold. A couple of the kids were brave enough to take a slide but I’m not that nuts. When I finally did get in it was breathtakingly cold. I mean it was so cold that you feel like your insides are growing numb. We did have a blast. I didn’t take the big plunge though. There is a big rock cliff under a bridge that makes boys into men. It’s a good 40 foot jump. Many climb to the top and look down in fear. They sit on the top trying to psyche themselves up only to climb back down in shame. My nephew Joseph decided to become a daredevil and took the jump quite a few times. There would be all of these trash talking guys standing up there calling each other wusses (and far worse) and here comes this skinny little twig of a 12 year old who doesn’t hesitate and runs clear off the end. If I learn how to post video I will add one of his jumps. We spent most of the day there and moved on to Sedona for a bit of site seeing. It’s a very artsy place with lots of big houses and resorts. I got to test my parenting skills when we went into a “glassables” shop. My SIL Jessica sent her three boys to sit outside as there were plaques throughout the store reading, “You break it, you buy it. Turns out I should have sent my “boy” out too. He was admiring a glow in the dark glass cube and decided to show it to Kat. When he was setting it back on it’s precarious corner on it’s pedestal it fell off onto the shelf with a loud thump. Yes, he broke a great chip out of it and ended up having to buy it. The store owner was very nice and only made him cover her cost of it (about half) and sent him on his way with it. I kept my cool and didn’t yell at him because it was only an accident. He said to me later, “Why couldn’t I have chipped a neat looking one. Instead I get stuck with an ugly cube.” Oh well.We stopped at Ann’s favorite, Cracker Barrel before heading to our hotel to get some much needed rest.

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Arrival

We arrived in Phoenix this morning to visit my brother and his family. Boy is it hot here, I don’t want to hear anything about it being a dry heat. It’s still hot! As we pulled into the gate and waited to get off the plane I caught sight of this and Brandon convinced me to take a picture. For some reason I thought it was hilarious, Brandon thought it was too so at least I’m not alone. The first thing that stuck me as we drove around town is how bright it is outside. I mean, we have full on sunshine here but it is nothing compared to there. We were told to keep our sunglasses on while outside so that we didn’t burn our eyes. We were also informed that we needed to carry water with us at all times so as not to get dehydrated. When my sister-in-law Jessica first started working outside soon after their arrival she had to go to the hospital for heat stroke. Her doctor informed her she needed to find a job working indoors.Another thing I noticed was the lack of trees. You can see cactus and hills for miles but no naturally occurring trees. I would miss that if I lived there, and changes in weather, sometimes having a cloudy day is nice.That evening we went to the baseball game. It just so happened that our home team was playing there. We were treated to a complete slaughter, thanks Astros. They have a swimming pool out in right field which I have never seen at a ballpark. I was unimpressed when I actually saw it. I expected something more than a dinky little pool. They pulled out all the stops on that one.

My nephew Matthew was the only one of the three kids who was interested in going to the game. All he needed was his bag of was roasted peanuts and he was all set. He cheered on his Astros to the bitter end much to the amusement of the adults sitting near us. They were impressed with his enthusiasm and told him they would do better next time. After the game was over we headed back. Time to get some much needed sleep for our early start tomorrow.

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The Texas Hill Country

A View From the Top
Matt, Me, Jess, Kay, Brandon

We are back from our camping trip in the hill country. We started out at Garner State Park. I have been there as a wee one but couldn’t remember much about it except that it had “mountain.” The above picture is from our half day hiking adventure. The weather was actually quite cool and the sun only came out a little. But we had a good time hiking, exploring, and making camping stables like silver turtles and smores.
Growing up with brothers, (and a really impatient father) I didn’t really get much of a chance to help set up the tent. Matt assures me that it wasn’t any fun to set up the huge bulky tent and that I was lucky to get a reprieve. I was happy to set up the tent that Brandon and I received for Christmas a couple of years ago. We have a simple to set up dome tent that sleeps 4 adults comfortably and allows a 5’10” person to stand up fully. I figured I should get used to setting it up as we would have to take it down to move to another park in a few days.The absolute best part of Garner is seeing the night sky. We live in a major city so we have horrible light pollution. In Garner you can see more clearly and if you look close enough you can see bits of the milky way. There were even shooting stars though I couldn’t seem to be looking up when any of them passed.

And none of our travels would be complete without Chu II. My mother gave her to me a year and half ago when we traveled to my brother’s wedding. I was really sick and had lost my voice and was feeling pretty rotten so she bought me a stuffed cat to cheer me up. Since then we have taken her with us wherever we happen to go and include some pictures of her. We are making a little scrapbook of her travels.After a couple of days in Garner we packed everything up and drove 3 hours to Inks Lake State Park where my brother Bryan and his family were meeting us. It was much too cold (IMHO) to go swimming there so we occupied our time with canoing and rock climbing at the devil’s waterhole. We don’t have any pictures of Inks Lake because our camera decided to suck the batteries dry and we didn’t bring our recharger. I will have to get some pictures from Jess and my mother.All in all it was a nice, relaxing trip though I thought we spent way too much time in the car. By the time we finally got home late Sunday evening my body had had enough and I was ready to collapse in my nice, cushy, warm pillow-top bed. The Chu made sure to let us know that she was so happy to see us. She made sure to let us know all through the night by pulling things off the desk and “going shopping” in the shelves.

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