The road was so curvy on the way up so I drove. I get carsick easily and Chris tends to take curves sharply.

Hope you enjoy Haley’s video!

J + H

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There’s one way in to Mesa Verde: uphill to 7,000-8,500 feet in elevation.

We stayed for two nights in the lodge on top of the Mesa. It was small but pretty with a great view. Ryan had to sleep in sleeping bag but he knew that would happen sometimes. (First two pictures from TripAdvisor.)

It was cool up on the Mesa and the end of the Hurricane came over Colorado so we ended up in long sleeves, long pants, & rain jackets. We picked a hike down into the canyon. As we neared the trailhead Ryan decided he wanted us to do the Petroglyph Trail. We had no knowledge of how long this trail was or where it went but off we headed.

We ended up hiking about 3 miles along the bottom of the canyon and canyon wall. If you go down you must come up. The trail toward the end was very steep. The view at the top was amazing.

We booked a one hour tour of the Balcony House, a cliff dwelling made by the Pueblo people. We had to descend the cliff using man made steps. The Indians had climbed using hand and foot holes they made into the rocks. The only way out was a 12 foot long tunnel eighteen inches wide. We climbed a 60 foot open face rock with two large wooden ladders to exit the site. I’m deathly afraid of heights so I never looked down and that’s why I’m not I any of the edge pictures. My family freaks me out dangling over the edge.

It’s amazing how these people built into the cliffs to be near water. If there ever was a zombie apocalypse this is where I’ll go!

I would live here,

J

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,

J

(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,

J

Amarillo

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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,

J

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.

J

Earlier

Just the beginning,

J

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)

Buckets

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,

J

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,

J

 

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