Jeep Adventure in Moab, Utah

This was one of those days that we’ll remember forever!

What a difference a day can make! Yesterday we spent a ton of time turning the motorhome around and today we stayed put to have a little off road fun in Moab, Utah! We rented a Jeep because Tim hasn’t managed to customize the motorhome for off road adventures just yet! Well, let’s just say we we’re all very happy! We don’t own a Jeep right now, but we’ve had four of them over the years!

Here’s the background story! On this very day 19 years ago Tim and I went on our first date in his Jeep! He even took me off road to show me just how awesome his Jeep was and then he washed the mud off as the clock stuck midnight! I stood watching him and we both said “Happy New Year!” That’s it, no hug, no kiss, but we have been together every day since then!

Well, we would have never guessed that all these years later we would be having a blast with our two boys and thinking it couldn’t get any better than this!

We’ve driven off road before in Colorado and the Smoky Mountains so we thought we had a good idea of what to expect. Well, I must say we were surprised! This is serious off road adventure world around here! I’m soooo glad we started off with the “easier trail”, Fins and Things! It was full of twists and turns while traveling up rocks and mountains so steep it seemed impossible! There was a moment when I thought we would flip and another when we might flip over forward! Yes, I did think we were going to die a few times, but hey, other people made it out alive, and why would they rent us the Jeep if they were expecting it back in pieces!!!

The boys thought it was all good, and they had so much fun playing with the ice and snow when we stopped to admire the view. (And maybe catch our breath and see if we were still on the trail!)

The following photo was taken while Jacob and I watched to see if they could make it up the hill without flipping! There must of been ten times or so when this was the case. I feel better walking at times and I think I had a small fit one time as Tim started up one area. I might have threatened him slightly, but I’ve blocked it out!

There was not a moment during the day that Tim wasn’t smiling! I think the rental company is going to have to pry the keys out of his hand!


We finished off our day by visiting Arches National Park! We’ll be heading back there tomorrow!

Well…almost time to watch the ball drop in Times Square! I’ll have to finish this one later, and I’m sure Tim will want to add a word or two.

Happy New Year! Best wishes for 2009!

Snow, Snow, Navajo

It’s been about 28 hours since we pulled out of Santa Fe.  In that time, we’ve been in three, no four, states and nothing much has gone according to plan.  Maybe that’s why we don’t plan too much!  The best way to describe it is with pictures:

Charming Chama
Charming Chama

We left Santa Fe in the late afternoon.  We were going to head to Taos, NM but decided to move ahead to what was to be our next stop, Durango, CO.  We figured we would move from the Southwest style so unique to New Mexico and go someplace a little more Old West in Colorado. 

We had no idea how much snow fell last week in the mountains.  We ended up driving some mountain roads with heavy snow accumulations.  Mostly the road conditions were good, but as night fell I became concerned about ice and possible worse conditions in the higher mountain passes. 

A missed turn resulted in us heading up a small local road in the dark.  Experience has taught me that sometimes “wait for a spot to turn around” isn’t a real safe idea in a 31′ motorhome.  I’m glad I listened to my gut and made a 6 or seven point turn in the road, because we found out the next day that we were headed way up a bad road with no place to turn around. 

Anyway…we decided to stop for the night!  We spent the night in the Visitors Center perking lot in Chama, New Mexico.  We had a great time watching a movie before bed.

Turned out to be a good idea that we stopped.  A few vehicles rolled over on the road in the night and there were still some being pulled out of the snow in the morning when we rolled safely and slowly by.

We had a great time playing in the snow before we left Chama.

About to fall!
About to fall!
We finally made it up to Durango around lunchtime.  Here is where motorhome travel gets to be a little different.  First, you generally develop a pretty major aversion to traffic of any sort.  It’s not fun to drive this thing in bumper-to-bumper with people jockeying for position.  It sometimes, shall we say, tests my virtues.  I sometimes fail.  I think today I exclaimed ‘What the h___?!” at a busy intersection near the Wal-Mart.
Second, when you travel in a motorhome, you have the luxury of finding the place that suits you best.  Oftentimes that means(for us) the place with the least crowd.  It generally means good things. 
Durango had the following list of bad things going for it today:
  • There were, like, a million people…they were everywhere!
  • The snow (tons and tons of snow) was melting all over the place and the whole thing looked like a giant snow cone had spilled on the whole town.
  • People were sliding, both pedestrian and vehicles, all over the place in this mess.
  • We realized that the ski mountain (our intended destination) was 30 miles uphill from the town.
  • Did I mention the million people?

So we came, we saw, we left!

Durango, CO

 In fairness to Durango, this is the busiest ski week of the year.  We should have known better than to head to a big ski town.  Durango looks great and I think it would be a great place to visit in the summer time.

We headed out of Durango toward the “four corners”.  The one place in the US where four states meet at one point.  It’s been high on my list for years and I was excited to head that way. Kim, on the other hand, has always failed to see the allure of this whole idea.  So it’s always been a source of great joking and laughter for her, and today it only got better.  But wait, there was a stop on the way…Mesa Verde National Park…the famous cliff dwellings.

 Here is what the park ranger said to us at the gate: “How does that thing do with ice?”  Umm…well, I don’t know?  A short conversation revealed that we would have to hustle an hour up the mountain to catch the 3:30 tour, the last one of the day and the only way to see the cliff dwellings.  After that it would be getting dark and the ice would be bad.  She said it was “up to me”…I decided to turn around.  Another four or five point turn.  We came, we saw, we left.
Back to the “Four Corners”… What the Heck?????  Oops, that’s twice now.  Sorry.  But I can’t begin to describe how surprised we were with this one.  We drove all the way out to this point expecting something like the Southernmost Point in Key West.  Some sort of cool monument with a parking lot and people all around taking pictures and I figured we could all stand there holding hands, one in Arizona, one in New Mexico, one in Colorado, and the other in Utah.  To me, this seemed cool.  Well, it turns out that the four corners point is in the Navajo Nation and they have set up a small paid area, inside a gate, where there is apparantly a monument. 
Based on our luck so far that day, and the look of the gate and pay booth, we decided not to pay the $3.00 per person and we made a four or five point turn and headed out of there.  Looking back, of course, I think it might have been better to pay the $12 bucks and see the monument given that we did drive 2/3 of the way across the country to see it!  I might have been a little worn-out.
So we proceeded on into the somewhat martian landscape looking for something a little more workable!  But, as disastrous as it seems, it was a great day.  The adventure of it all is a big part of it.  The ride itself is a big part of it, it’s fun just to roll.  And we’ve done this enough to know that tomorrow is a new day and we bet we’ll find some amazing thing just around the next bend.  So it’s late and we are ready to fall asleep in Moab, Utah.  I bet we can find something fun here.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe.  It’s one of those places that makes you want to become a novelist.  You imagine sitting in a café on the Plaza sipping a steaming cup of some special “local’s only” coffee.  You exchange greetings with the regulars as they come and go, while spinning a yarn about the special, sometimes surreal, people and places which surround you…

Insert sound of brakes and locked up tires…screech!  Wake up, smell the Maxwell House reality!  Two kids, two dogs, bills to pay, remember?

Oh yeah, right, all that.  But hey, truth be told, that’s what makes it even better to be here.  Where else can we bring our boys and treat them (and us) to a breakfast of Huevos Rancheros aside a 200 year old city square made of adobe?  The Plaza in Santa Fe is the center of the downtown area, and today it’s blanketed in snow! 

The street vendors abound, selling handmade jewelry, paintings, woodcarvings, pelts of fur, you name it!  The sounds of deal making, the colors of all of it, and the ever present watchful eye of an older Native American sitting at her booth, give the place real character!

 At night, they light up the Plaza with those paper bag thingys with the candle…???  Lumenaries, that’s it!  All around the roof tops of the terraced adobe buildings.  Combined with Christmas lights in the central park, it’s very beautiful.

 I could go on and on about the architecture, the layout of the city, the myriad nooks and crannies and tiny secret back alleys.  I love this place!  However, you really need to hear about the shopping!  Kim will do a better job than I telling about that!


The side streets and alley ways are lined with little shops selling hot chili peppers, flowers, silver, turquoise, and handmade sweaters.  The colors and sounds are sure to make you want to buy something! 

 In the center of town there is a Native American Market where each vendor has a blanket or two of goods…no tables!  They sit on the ground (yes, the cold ground)  ready to bargain with the next passing tourist.  It’s fun to shop for little trinkets of silver and turquoise and have something to take home as a reminder of this wonderful town!


There are so many unique art galleries and shops that it’s a treat to just wander in and out of them until you find more then you want to carry around!  The boys love to visit a rock shop and I can always be found at Chico’s!   


 Shopping, art, architecture, history, just the whole atmosphere makes Santa Fe one incredible place to visit.

 While we were trying to get to all 48 states, we sometimes went in a direction that wouldn’t be our first choice. 

The first city we returned to with no real agenda, was Santa Fe, New Mexico.  It’s a must see!  We’ll see more on Monday, then head up to Taos!




Heading to Santa Fe

Just wanted to drop a note to those faithful followers of our Winter Road Trip (there are at least four or five thousand people sitting by the computer waiting for our next exciting post, right?)

Well it is about to get exciting!  We’ve been driving and driving and there just ain’t a whole lot to say about that and not much to show you…but now we are to the great American West and it will be non-stop beauty and wonder for days and days!  Stay tuned for the amazing sights and sounds of Santa Fe, Taos, Durango, and more… coming soon to a computer near you!

All the Dough is gone!

Thanks to everyone who entered our giveaway for the rainbow sherbert play-dough by Do Si Dough!  We had a total of 14 entries including those who entered twice by signing up to receive our email subscription.

And the winner is: Fifi Flowers!!  Congratulations Fifi, we know you’re going to love this play-dough!

We’ll get with you by email for details and send this out within a few days.  Thanks!

Winter Road Trip – Day 3 – North Texas

8:21pm Central Time – Childress, TX, en route to New Mexico.

Last night we were able to make it through Mississippi and into Louisiana where we spent the night at a rest stop!  Not my favorite place to sleep, but sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do!

Today we’ve spent most of the day driving through the great big state of TEXAS!  We have been skirting the edges of bad weather and still ended up in some of the highest winds we’ve experienced in the motorhome!  You know, the kind where they say “high profile vehicles should be advised to use caution!”  Tim has had both hands firmly on the steering wheel all day, and he’s doing a great job of keeping it between the lines. 

This is the original looking Texas style rest stop that we saw earlier today!  Oil wells are not the most attractive things I’ve ever seen, but somehow they look good in Texas!



We always make some fun stops on these long driving days to keep everyone happy.  Gap Outlet is one of my favorites!  That was our first stop and I did manage to find a few bargains.  Then we found such a cool shop with a little of this and that in it.  It was so big and packed with stuff that you really could spend hours there.

 Most things were sadly too large to take home.  Check out these extra large cheeseburgers!    


 This is something I would love to have in my house so I took a photo in the hopes that Tim will build me one!  I would like mine in blue!


 Guess what I bought in this giant store!  An ornament, that’s it!!!  Oh well, it’s easy to pack!

 All that shopping made everyone hungry so we stopped for a lovely dinner of catfish and frog legs!

 Now we’re all settled in and on the road and trying to make it to New Mexico!

Even long days on the road are a blast!!

Tomorrow, Lord willing, we will be in Santa Fe, NM!

Winter Road Trip – Day 1.5

It’s about 2:00pm Central Time and we’re just south of Birmingham, Alabama.  It’s rainy, but warm outside and we’re still sporting our flip-flops.

Yesterday was awesome!  Christmas is always wonderful and yesterday was no exception.  We could write volumes and post 100 pictures!  We had great times from first thing in the AM (6:00am) when the boys woke up to all of the goodies around the tree, to visits with family in Tampa (which really was so much fun at both stops), to a pretty nice night of driving.  We made it to Tallahassee before it was time to hit the sack.  A nice new Super Wal-Mart was our home for the night.

But no time to write about all of that because we need to get back on the road.  Gotta change plans.  We already changed plans once today when we decided to hop off I-10 early this morning in favor of some scenic back roads through the Florida Panhandle and Southern Alabama.  I use the word scenic to say that there was a lot to see.    The most interesting was the World Record holder of “Most Blow-Up Christmas Decorations in one yard” !

World Record Winner! - Southern Alabama
World Record Winner! - Southern Alabama

We were headed to Memphis and made it as far as Birmingham when we started to catch wind of some weather issues.  Upon stopping to get some (not free) Wi-Fi at McDonald’s we were able to check the forecast for our intended path…to Memphis tonight, then West on I-40 tomorrow through Little Rock. Not a good plan.

Don't go to Little Rock tomorrow!
No to Little Rock!
So, it looks like we’ll have to backtrack a bit…down I-20 and see what happens tomorrow.  We’re hoping to get West of the bad weather. 
I-20 it is!
I-20 it is!
But we’re having a blast!  It’s fun just to cruise.  There hasn’t been a single cross word spoken. And I havn’t has any issues with “After Christmas” shopping traffic. And I’m not at all upset about the SIX HOURS LOST by going toward bad weather.  Not at all.  :-)
We’ll update tomorrow (if we can!).

Merry Christmas!! – Here we Go!!

It’s Christmas and we’re ready to go!  We’ve been working hard to get everything ready and the time is upon us. 

Getting ready to go!
Getting ready to go!

It’s actually very early now and we need to sleep some before the kids wake up.  We’ll open presents, have our traditional Christmas Morning breakfast, and head up to Tampa to visit the grandmas.  After that it’s West to who knows where.

Where to?
Where to?

Send us your suggestions!  We have the motorhome decorated with some fancy new signs.  We’re hoping somebody will see us at a Starbucks in Albuquerque or somewhere and stop by the blog to say hi.  We think that would be cool!

That’s all great and we’re excited.  But I tell you what.  It’s not the best thing.  The best gift we have this Christmas is the gift of Jesus Christ!  God’s love for us is so amazing and we’re constantly reminded of it.  I was thinking last night that my Daily Thanks for Christmas Eve was First United Methodist Church of Punta Gorda.  We love our church, and we enjoyed the most beautiful candlelight service last night!  We had communion together, sang carols, and heard the Christmas story.  Perfect!
One of the things that always happens when we travel is the inevitable fact that we’ll end up in some wild place and sit in awe at the majesty and wonder of God’s creation.  We’re looking forward to that, but it was clear tonight that the most wonderful things He made are around us all the time…we don’t have to worry about gas prices or time off to experience them.
Come back and see where we are…we’ll try and keep it interesting!
Merry Christmas!

A Hot Cuppa Joe – Daily Thanks

Thank you Lord for COFFEE!!!

Isn’t it sublime?  Well, maybe that’s dramatic but I tell you what, it’s hard to beat a hot cup of coffee on a cold winter’s night!  It can’t be more than, like, 58 degrees out there.  BRRRRRRRR!    

Bone chilling!  But I have a fresh cup to keep me warm.

Maybe I should have saved this for a Daily Thanks a week from now, because that’s when we’ll be finding our way to some real cold.  Marrdy from Utah pointed out in a comment on the Christmas Breakfast post that it’s supposed to snow for a week in Utah.  Maybe we’ll head that way…

The soothing warmth of the coffee isn’t the only thing attractive about it of course.  Since we’re like totally hooked on blogworld over here, I need the caffeine big time!!!