Aztec NM

To take a break we stopped (no red bugs here) to eat lunch. Later, we visited Aztec, New Mexico to see the remains of a 900 year old Pueblo village. It was a quick visit and just a 1/2 mike walk but greatly needed.

The landscape has sure changed. The trees have virtually disappeared and mesas are all around.

I miss the color green,


(I am using my phone to update so I apologize for any spelling/punctuation mistakes!)


In the middle of the desert in Santa Rosa, New Mexico is an 82 foot deep blue hole.

The water is a constant 62 degrees. When you pull up you pay $5 to park and there’s a small bathroom for changing. It’s small and sometimes packed but totally fun! We stayed about two hours and jumped off the cliff several times! The first jump took our breath and I had to make Carter sit out a bit because he was turning blue! Apparently there are caves down there. The water was so clear and we watched scuba divers go down to the bottom. The water is super clean because it renews itself every 6 hours. Haley asked if she could have her birthday party here! (Nice try but we are a long way from home!)

We have been without service a lot. It’s been nice but also unnerving not being able to make sure everything is okay back home. We got some bad news when we finished swimming here and I spent a few days offline.

Love you AP,



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We stopped for a break in Amarillo. Ever since I watched the movie The Great Outdoors with John Candy I have wanted to try The Big Texan Steakhouse. The restaurant has long tables and you are seated at one end and another party at the other. We arrived right at 11 am when lunch began. The menu was a little cheaper so that was our main reason. The steak was good (not the best but good) but the strawberry shortcake was the best I’ve ever had! The kids enjoyed watching two boys try and eat the 72 oz free-if-you-finish-in-one-hour steak. The boys were directed to a stage to try and eat in front of everyone. The restaurant had a shooting gallery and fudge shop. I’m glad we stopped.

Another thing we did In Amarillo was to stop at Cadillac Ranch. The story goes a rich man “planted” his old Cadillacs in a filed every time he bought a new one. We stopped by Wal-Mart to buy a couple of cans of spray paint. Carter took a long time picking his out because he wanted a shade of camouflage which they did not have. Once we got to the ranch we didn’t even need the paint because there was so much extra lying around. It was muddy the day we went so only the first two cars were reachable unless you had boots. The kids painted away! It was really in the middle of nowhere! It was super windy and the dirt kicked up and hit your legs which hurt! It was neat to see.

I thought the Mississippi Delta was flat. It has nothing on Amarillo! We also heave been stopping to eat at rest areas. We loved this spot until the next day. We were covered in red bugs!!!

Windy hair don’t care,


This is my first attempt at using this particular application to make a video on my phone.

Our day was mostly spent in the van listening to Harry Potter audio, random radio stations and the Steve Miller Band. Ryan watched Rhett & Link videos, Carter watched River Monsters and Haley played her new license plate game. We picnicked at a rest area and ate a sandwich supper in our hotel room.

We stopped in OKC to see the memorial. There were chairs set up to represent each person who lost their life including small chairs for the children. We listened to an audio of the only recording of the bomb and just hearing the noise was frightening. There was a room with pictures of all the deceased along with a token to remember them by. Haley & I loved that room. She found a note a child had written to her mom who had died in the attack. We both started crying.

Chris was a senior in high school when it happened. He said he remembers coming home from school early (due to work) and it was all on tv.

The landscape is very flat and you can see forever. Cattle ranches are everywhere and it’s very windy!

I miss trees.



Just the beginning,


What an amazing day! We didn’t strike it rich but had hours of hot, sweaty, muddy fun!

Carter found tons of “diamonds” and I found quartz! All 3 of my kids enjoyed searching for diamonds. Check it out: Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas.

What to Bring:

Shovels (big, small, and/or medium)


Sunscreen, hat, sunglasses

Old clothes and shoes (we wore flip flops)

Screens (available to rent at the park which is what we did)

Hope you find what you are looking for,


Today is the Day

It started as over 365 days. Now it’s down to hours!

Counting down,

jb rb hb cb

the quest

I am that person who said I would never, ever, EVER own a van. I even made fun of families who bought vans.

Here I am three years in. The van purchase was probably the best choice when our kids were 5, 9, and 10. Before the van, we had an SUV. I loved it. It was my first purchase after teaching for a year. It was fully loaded and only 1 or 2 years old. Then it became a kid SUV. We fit a lot of car seats in that 5 seater and when the kids became older and we needed more room for their friends it just wasn’t big enough anymore.

I went to several car dealerships and looked in the used section to find a bigger SUV. I just knew I was getting a Tahoe with a 3rd row. I found a few I loved but none I wanted to afford. I then rode in two different vans owned by my friends and talked Chris into test driving one. I immediately fell in love with the room! I met the best car salesman and told him what I was looking for:

  1. Nissan Quest preferably white
  2. used (we have never owned a new vehicle)
  3. price range (around 25K)
  4. mileage range (under 30K)
  5. I explained I did not need the bells and whistles. I just wanted a radio and power windows and leather seats.

Guess what? It took him a couple of weeks to a month to find what I was looking for but he did it. He brought one in I found on the Internet (in stock at another dealership location) that was only a few years old and was not anything fancy.

If you can hold out and be patient and remember what you need and what you want are two different things.

I am not ashamed,



About that Go Pro….we just could not justify paying the costly amount for one. Instead we opted for Chris to search Amazon for hours which turned in to days, weeks, and months of research. He annoyed the mess out of me trying to decide on the best one for us at a price we could afford.

We ended up with the AKASO 4K Waterproof Action Cam. I cannot wait to use it and see if it was worth the purchase and great reviews.

we shall see,



I have to admit I thought going to REI was going to be a bust. I expected high prices and unrealistic buying. Chris was over the moon from the first step. The National Park section got me. We were there for two hours and walked out with a lot of final “big trip” items. We also joined the REI Co-op. A lifetime membership is $20 and you earn annual dividends and members-only special offers. I think Chris has been on their website almost every day to check out the deal of the day.


Knoxville, TN

check it out,


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