Monthly Archives: June 2012

Day 3: North Rim

Day 3: North Rim

Day 3 – The North Rim, Grand Canyon

Slept on the floor last night. I wanted to sleep outside after we stargazed and ate cold smores, but Mom and Aunt T kept telling stories of scorpions and snakes. *EEK* My morning alarm was a fog-like horn outside. Come to find out, it was a truck passing by honking at Theresa. Mom says she was mooning the trucker. Who knows what she really was doing. We ate breakfast at the Cliff Dweller’s Lodge Restaurant. Basic egg like breakfast. We are so isolated out here, even though the nearest town is only an hour away, that means products have to be imported in. Thus to add chicken, beef, or ham to my morning ritual requires about 3 or more extra dollars. We’ve spent more money on this trip on food (with sharing) probably than we have on gas.

Cliff Dweller’s Lodge

After everyone was up and ready, we headed to the nearby Cliff Dwellings, where falling rocks were turned into shelters and dwellings. I don’t know how long ago. Unfortunately it took until about mid afternoon for the light bulb in my brain to go off and realize why our hotel was called Cliff Dweller’s Lodge.

Allstate!

Super Wan!

The only stop today is the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. When referring to the Grand Canyon, people may say its “spectacular” or “been there, down that” or “You’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all”. While the Grand Canyon is the Grand Canyon no matter what side you are looking from, it’s most definitely not the same on all sides. There is a completely different vibe to the north rim. As you drive into the North Rim entrance to the National Park there is only one road. On this road, you encounter the most green we’ve seen since leaving Texas, rolling hills (equivalent to small mountains when you are from flat Northeast Texas), meadows, cool air, and when you roll the windows down a breath of fresh pine and aspen air. We took a short photo opp with some Buffalo, that we later discovered where actually Beefalo.

Buffalo, Bison or Beefalo?

We stayed at the North Rim Lodge, which has such a summer camp, familial atmosphere. The main lodge has a Panoramic View of the Grand Canyon. Immediately took to a paved trail/overlook “Angel’s Point” which turned out to be just a little steep. We stopped about half way looked at the view, turned around, and headed to lunch. After lunch we dropped Mo off in the cabin, which was her room. Such quaint cabins, I absolutely loved them! Then the rest of us went out to Imperial (the highest point of the Grand Canyon) and Cape Royal Point. Both were breathtakingly spectacular views. Imperial is a perfect lunch spot or if willing to take the drive at night a great spot for star gazing. Cape Royal is another paved trail/overlook a little over a mile there and back. I discovered I am quite a thrill seeker while on this trip and found ample opportunities to get too close to the edge and have Mom yell at me. When Mom wasn’t looking, Aunt T’s Sagittariusness assisted in my thrill seeking. J HEHE. There is also another lookout on the hike to Cape Royal called Angel’s Window. It is apparently not “Greg-Proof”, meaning potential hazards for mischievous children. Mom and Aunt T called it the “Greg Gap”.

Don’t tell mom!

North Rim

Wanda Frances and Katy Frances, I wonder where Joanne Frances went?

Sisters and Katy!

The North Rim was so peaceful and beautiful!

IMPORTANT: The Grand Canyon does not have bottled watered. They provide free water and ice stations for you to “reduce and reuse” your environmental impact. This water is natural spring water from the Grand Canyon containing minerals you may not be use to. If you experience gas, pressure in the stomach, or upset stomach. It’s probably those ancient minerals. It’s the only thing we could think of – once we left Arizona and drank some bottled water, my tummy felt like its normal self.

Day 2 – Sunrise and Star Gazing

Day 2 – Sunrise and Star Gazing

It felt like our heads had just hit the pillows, when a little voice kept calling through the open window….”Hey T…it’s 4:30…get up! The sun is already coming up!” Just outside the window lurked my sister, anxiously waiting for me to jump out of bed. Seriously? I’M ON VACATION!!!! But I got up! We made our way over to one of the observation spots just as the sun was getting ready to come up over the south rim of the Grand Canyon. It was absolutely the most beautiful sight. We all wondered what the Pioneers thought when they saw it for the first time. My first thought was “God is AWESOME!”.

Here comes the sun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Katy caught some air on a rock ledge, so I thought I’d join in the fun too! lol

Go ahead and jump!

Breakfast was at El Tovar lodge. It was the best food we had on our trip! We shared the pancake trio and tried out the Blue Corn pancake as well as buttermilk and buckwheat pancakes with pinenut butter and prickly pear syrup. Delicious! Back on the road again, we made a pit stop at the Cameron Trading Post. It’s a rather large place that also housed a restaurant. This is where we got our first look at Navajo Fry bread. So we had to give it a try.

The Navajo bridge was up next on our route.

Navajo Bridge

Hands down, the best part of our day was Horseshoe Bend, just outside of Page, Arizona. It was a tough little hike due to all the sand, but the end result was…..well…..you tell me…..

Then on to Lee’s Ferry for our stay at the Cliff Dweller’s motel. It was a cool little place that reminded me of the hotels you see in some of the old scary movies. Nestled at the bottom of the cliffs, it was dark and the perfect place for smores and stargazing. We threw out a sleeping bag and a couple of pillows and took in the stars in the sky. Of course, the almost full moon took a little away from our view, but it was still a perfect night. I think I get a little delirious when I have to get up too early and stay up too late, I was cracking some really funny jokes, but I don’t remember any of them to share! All in all, it was the perfect end to another perfect day!

See Ya Down The Road!

Sisters on a Trip

Day 1 – Dam Skywalkers!

Day 1 – Dam Skywalkers!

We arrived in Vegas, a little late, but NEVER too late to see the sights (or play the slots!) Lynda said she would NEVER go back to Vegas – she says it smelled bad. However, Monday night we’ll be back in Vegas before we fly back, and I’m taking her to Freemont Street for some fun!

Lynda and Katy were the first to turn in, I wasn’t too far behind them, but Jo (or as Lynda says “Mo”), she loved those slot machines! She came in right before Deniece did, and we aren’t real sure what time that was. All I know is that Lynda said we were leaving at 6am because we had a full day scheduled….and Deniece had to call Wanda in from the casino so we could leave! Good times!

We treaked over to Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam. Thank goodness Lynda didn’t make us go on the dam tour! However, we did walk across the Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial bridge. It was a beautiful spot to overlook the dam.

Wow!

As we drive through the dry, arid terrain, Lynda pulls out our trip music, all of the #1 hits of the 70s. How cool is that?!! Of course, I’m not really old enough to remember all those songs! (hee hee!) And yes, that’s the ONLY music we are going to listen to for the entire trip! Lol

On down the road, we come upon a Joshua Tree forest. Katy was in hog heaven! We stopped and snapped a few pics for the tree hugger!

Tree Hugger

We finally arrive at our main destination for the day at the Grand Canyon Skywalk on the South Rim. And being a GC first timer… I must say WOW!The Skywalk tour is a little pricy, but we decided it was well worth it!

Fun!

Moving on down the road, we head out on Route 66, stopping along the way to admire various scenic views as well as some unusual art. At Walapai, we found the Giganticus Headicus at a place that reminded us of a bad motel in a scary movie! Onward to the Hackberry General Store with it’s treasure trove of Route 66 memorabilia, and finally stopping to eat dinner at Delgadillo’s Snow Cap in Seligman. We pile back in to find our final destination for the night at the Yavapai Lodge on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. No AC in the room but it was cooling off so with the windows open and the fans circling, we dozed off…but not for long!

Route 66

 

Theresa

 

Vegas, a dam, and a canyon

Vegas, a dam, and a canyon

Greetings from the way back seat!

We are on the road as of 6:40am this morning. Arrived in Vegas last night and with me being a Vegas Virgin it doesn’t take much to make me immediately blush. As we head to the baggage claim I observe a billboard of shirtless Austrailian men: THUNDER FROM UNDER! Damn! Nobody told me about this! wish my BFFs were here to help me indulge my curiosity. Too bad I am here with a group of middle aged women. LOL

For those of you who haven’t met me, I am Katy,sister of the younger sister gang. I am sister solo this trip. The rest of the crew includes sisters Lynda (mom) and Theresa (aunt); Wanda and Deniece (adopted family); and fellow solo sister Joann (family friend of Lynda and me).

First impressions of Vegas: With the exception of the shirtless buff men, it’s stinky and smokey. Saving my gambling until when we come back on Monday, don’t need aspeeding ticket like my last gambling adventure.

First Stop: Hoover dam…impressive.

Next stop: thc glass ledge at the south rim.

Wahoo!

!PURA VIDA!

World’s Largest . . .

World’s Largest . . .

Theresa and I have introduced you to all but two of our traveling companions for this Grand  adventure.  Joanne was the librarian at the school where I work.  She was also Katy’s math teacher.  Joanne or Mo as I like to call her, retired once from being a math teacher/librarian and this May retired for good.  She has become one of our traveling buddies.  She is so much fun.  She keeps you laughing and I love going places with her.  I write down her comments in my travel journal.  She flew with us to Atlanta, Georgia to watch Katy play basketball  and this is probably her most famous quote “I notice when a man’s flap is open because I’m short.  That’s where I look”.  We still laugh when we get the journal out and read about our adventures.

Katy, my youngest daughter, is also going along on our trip to the Grand Canyon.  Katy is my adventurous daughter.  She is the child that makes me braver.  She was a little surprised when she discovered I was afraid of heights on a trek in Canada.  Needless to say she keeps pushing me to be braver and I did climb all the way to the top a lighthouse in Florida last year and I walked out on the glass ledge in the Sears Tower in Chicago.  Katy likes to find the world’s largest whatever.  So we take pictures of her next to anything large. She especially loves to hug trees.

We are starting our trip a little early by going to Arlington to a Texas Ranger ballgame on Tuesday night.

See you on the road!

Lynda

Katy running from the giant grasshopper (Enchanted Highway, North Dakota)

 

The Columbus Oak – 2nd largest Live Oak Tree in Texas (70 feet tall with a circumference of 329 inches)

 

Cut-outs and Murals

Cut-outs and Murals
Cut-outs and Murals

When we first started traveling with the Blount sisters we didn’t know about road rules.  We had to write them down and eventually we memorized them.  But there are some unspoken road expectations like:

1.  When you are riding shotgun you have to take care of the driver (keeping beverages from spilling, taking phone calls, locating items that fall when the driver takes a corner too fast, etc.)  I am really bad about riding shotgun because I forget all of this until the driver starts yelling.

2.  Always go out the door you went in, i.e. when you get dropped off at Wal-Mart to pick up something, it makes it easier to find the vehicle and for the driver to find you.  (The driver never cares that you feet hurt from walking all day and side you got dropped off on was on the opposite side of the store then where you really needed to be.)

I am sure there are a lot more but you get the drift.  This makes traveling easier!  But we also have done some things that have become an unspoken tradition.  When I travel with Wanda and Deniece, we always have a picture made behind a cut out and I discovered that when I travel with Theresa she is a poser and thus the murals.

Somewhere near Alpine?, Summer 2008

 

On our Big West Texas Road Trip in the Summer of 2008, Wanda and I tried to swim across the Rio Grande (of course Deniece was in the car yelling at us the whole time), we searched for the Marfa lights (no luck) and traveled the River Road.

 

 

Enchanted Highway, North Dakota, July 2010

 

Then in the Summer of 2010 we decided to go all the way around Lake Superior and before we got there we took the scenic route starting at the Hotel 6 (thank you Wanda for saving us from that one) in Okalahoma City, then heading north to North Dakota before we headed back east to Minnesota.

 

 

Theresa selling a car in Lampasas, July 2011

 

 

 

I love this photo of Theresa selling used cars in Lampasas, Texas.  This is from our road trip for my 50th birthday.

 

 

 

 

Big Texas Steakhouse, Amarillo, Texas – Summer 201

 

 

 

We traveled to the Panhandle of Texas to visit 26 counties and discovered some great things while we were there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Padre Island! November 2011

 

 

What a blast we had on our road trip to South Texas.  Theresa and I convinced our younger brother Greg to go with us and we did laugh a lot!  This trip was to celebrate Theresa turning 49!

 

 

Knox City, TX – March 2012

 

 

What is Spring Break without a road trip?!  Here is T in Knox City, Texas home of the fire burger.

 

 

 

 

 

Three days until we leave to travel around the Grand Canyon.  I can’t wait to see the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

See ya on the road!

Lynda

The Blount Sisters

The Blount Sisters

So now it’s time to tell a story on the Blount sisters. Gosh! Where do I begin? We have know them for so long I don’t even remember the exact year, but I want to say it’s been 42 or 43 years! Wanda and I are the same age, and Deniece is just a couple of years older than Lynda. We all went to church together and we all played basketball at good old Boswell High School. So we go WAAAAAAAY back!

We used to get together and play cards or Monopoly. But the games would take dramatic turns for several different reasons. Lynda would get bored and suddenly shoved the whole game board off the table and say “game over”. Or was it the Community Chest slaps on the chest that Wanda and Deniece started? There were those rides to basketball practice during Christmas break on the icy back roads — Deniece threw in an occassional “donut”….CRAZY! Or perhaps it was the laughfest at the $1 matinee movie to watch “Animal House” for the first time. Laughing with Wanda and Deniece is hard to describe! You laugh so hard your stomach hurts, your eyes water and you can’t breath! Good times!

So now we are EIGHT days to our MEGA trip to Las Vegas/Grand Canyon!

I think we are ready for the Vegas strip!!

See Ya Down The Road!

Theresa

Thelma and Louise?

Thelma and Louise?

Ok, it’s time for a little family history .  My sister Lynda and I are 16 months apart in age (and YES … SHE is the OLDER one.)  We did everything together when we were growing up…slept in the same bed, shared the same clothes, shared many of our friends, and more.  But what I seem to remember most vividly was that Lynda ALWAYS got me in trouble! (Of course, it’s how I want to remember it!  Love you sis!)

The one memory that stands out the most is when she dared me to tie the cowbell around the cat’s neck.  Of course I did, because I did everything Lynda told me to do.  After I was done, the cat attempted to walk away, the bell rang, scared the crap out of the cat, and it blasted off and attempted to jump the fence.  The cat got stuck on the fence and scared me to death.  I ran to rescue the cat — and thankfully it was OK!  But man, Lynda ran into the house and told Granny what I did.  Of course, Granny got out her red checked apron, and she spanked me.  I cried and cried.  After she spanked me, she asked me why I did it.  I told her “because Lynda told me to.”  She then asked me if I would jump off a bridge if Lynda told me to.  I am most certain my answer was a tearful yes.

Through the years, we’ve had our ups and downs.  But all in all, aside from my husband, she is my BEST friend.  She is my person.  Whatever she needs, I’ll be there.  If we were standing on top of the tallest building in the world and she told me we had to jump, I’d jump.

Thank goodness she has never asked me to jump that far!

Vegas/Grand Canyon Road Trip…..10 days and counting down!

See Ya Down The Road!

Theresa

 

I Guess It’s MY Turn!!!

I Guess It’s MY Turn!!!

Lynda has been pestering me to post something to the blog. Just so you all know, I am the quiet and reserved sister!!!! I’m shy! lol….Really!

In exactly 2 weeks, we will be on a plane heading to the grandest of all road trips! We land in Las Vegas and drive out to the Grand Canyon. It’s a place I’ve never been and I’m so very excited to get to make this trip with my sister, 2 of my nieces and our good friends, the Blount sisters.

This road trip is going to be a MEGA adventure for ALL of us. It’s the 1st time that I have gone on a trip with my sister AND the Blount sisters at the same time! Boy oh Boy! Is this going to be fun!!!

When I was a kid, my mom and dad would take us on road trip vacations. They took us to the beach once, but we liked the pool at the hotel much better than the salty ocean water. To this day, I still love going to the beach — ANY beach is my favorite vacation place. As we got older, the vacations became “Destination” vacations. The destination was usually anywhere that my sister Debra lived. Thanks to the Air Force, our destination vacations kept us traveling across the country as well as a few international stops as well. So thanks sis for hosting us all those years!

I am so ready for this trip! The odds are in our favor….heading to Vegas with THREE sets of sisters????!!! I’ll take those odds ANY day! So in honor of our GRAND road trip, I’m making us all tie-dye t-shirts! Who knows! Maybe we’ll run into someone famous! Or better yet, maybe WE will be the famous ones! You never know what will happen when all the girls get together!

Stay tuned! There’s more to come!

See ya down the road!

Theresa