Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Guest Blogger: DH's point of view

The DH is guest blogging his POV. If that ain’t a mouthful, I don’t know what is!

Well, the first thing I can say about a long road trip is that the driving takes about 15% longer than you think it will. If it weren’t for an unexpected shift into Pacific Time Zone, we would have been late to our event in Phoenix! (Er…later than we were. You know what I mean.)

No kidding. The 15% thing holds so true that I’m going to plan in a 15% “Reality Tax” on all future estimations of how long trips will take – I’m going to include my trips from upstairs down to the basement just to prove it works!

As for the trip…the sights along the way were just incredible. I kept looking out the window and saying “Wow! Look at that that!” and then the kids would go “wow…” without actually looking because they knew I couldn’t turn around backward to see them. You know, I never had a GameBoy, or a DVD player in the car when I was a kid on long, forced road trips. I’m not complaining about my kids, I’m bemoaning how
many cool things hadn’t been invented yet for me!

After we survived a blizzard in New Mexico, made the trip to beautiful Phoenix and back to Flagstaff, we realized that were about 2 hours from the Grand Canyon and would be fools not to go. (I could retire to Flagstaff, actually. It’s a mountain paradise in the middle of the desert.)

The kids went crazy when they saw the Grand Canyon. It was certainly the most amazing thing they had ever seen. I could show you pictures and talk about it, but I knew even as I snapped photos that they just wouldn’t turn out right. This is why people keep going there I think. Otherwise, you’d just go “Yeah, I saw pictures. I’m good.”

(And here I have to say it: HOW DO YOU CHARGE 25 BUCKS A CAR TO SEE SOMETHING YOU DIDN’T MAKE???? It’s madness! I know, I know – there are roads and potties and fences, but don’t we pay taxes? OK, I won’t rant anymore.)

I found that I loved the desert. It’s like I had always dreamed of going there, but somehow I never really thought I would…like it was “someday” I would. We saw rolling grasslands and mesas heading south on I-25, but after we left the Grand Canyon we decided not to go back that way, but to turn to the north instead. And THAT was some real desert. I have never felt so relaxed and connected with the outdoors.

This amazing land is breathtaking in its stark beauty and its sheer size. It’s like being on the ocean, but it’s all grass and sand and stone. The only thing I regret about it is that we hit Monument Valley at night and it was more terrifying than beautiful! All you can see at night is strange dark shapes outlined by the starlight.
The last leg of the trip was back over the Rockies. If you haven’t been up in the mountains, just get ready to have your mind blown! It’s always fun to drive friends up from Denver and they want to stop and take photos. You have to keep telling them to save batteries and wait. As you go higher and higher the view becomes more incredible than before!

Last up, let me give a shout-out to Idaho Springs. Great little mountain town and you can go to BeaJo’s and TommyKnocker’s restaurants which are just down the street from one another. If you want a great big pizza or a buffalo hamburger, be sure to stop at one or the other.

There and Back again - Weekend in 4 states

My husband heard me. I talked about Project Book Babe for weeks. Stephenie Meyer and Shannon Hale, my two favorite authors, at the same event in Arizona. So DH came home on Thursday and said okay. This is a big deal because he use to cringe and the thought of a 5 hour drive to see my parents. Maybe it wasn't the drive. lol.


So he left 2 hours early from work on Friday and we jumped in the minivan and headed south on I-25. Only 12.5 hours from Phoenix/Tempe. Coming out west has seriously brought out a part of our family we didn't know existed. Here's the map of our trip:

We never would have done this back east. The humidity would have killed us and our old minivan use to stall when we would get off an exit.

So I drove for the first 2.5 hours (the only driving I did the whole weekend). The winds thru southern Colorado were crazy but the temperature was fabulous. The closer we got to New Mexico we saw more and more of nothing. The desert started to sneak up on us and you could see forever in every direction. We still could see some of the Rockies. We got into New Mexico and I saw Santa Fe! I started singing Santa Fe from The Newsies. Love that movie.

All thru New Mexico the winds were crazy. It was really dark by this point but we wanted to try to get at least half way before we stopped for the night. We drove thru the dark for sometime and then we saw the most amazing light show. Albuquerque was an ocean of lights in the darkness. It was amazing and because it's so flat out there you could see the whole city. It was surreal. <--- (that word is gonna be used alot).

So about 40ish miles west of Albuquerque is a little town called Grants. We saw the exit. Tons of hotels and thought we could at least get to the Arizona border before we stopped for the night. The weather had different ideas. We got about 2 miles past the exit and the wind started blowing really hard. And something was blowing in the wind. What?!? Is that sand? NO! It's snow. That's right. We left Denver only to get stopped by a blizzard in the desert.

So we got off the next exit, the one with no hotels. And we waited for the snow to blow over. Nope. So we got back on the highway and very slowly with very little visibility drove (praying the whole way) about 5 miles back to Grants and got a hotel room for the night.

And that was day one. We started out in Denver (Southeast of Denver actually) on Friday and stopped in Grants, New Mexico at around midnight. We stayed at a Super 8 for about $62 taxes included. And we filled up the tank once that day.