Big Sur…prises!

While visiting Marina, CA we decided to drive down the Pacific Coast through the Big Sur. I wasn’t sure if the scenery would live up to the hype, but boy were we surprised!

DSC_0329 Not what you were expecting …right? Well, we drove through a wooded area and then got to a little neighborhood with great, big houses! We found our first little place to pull off and that’s when things got magical……DSC_0338See that road on the left….it’s actually someone’s driveway. You can’t see them but this family also has stairs that lead down into the water. I don’t know if I would get in that water but maybe they have a boat?

While we were staring at the water several really cute cars pulled in and I felt like there would possibly be a movie in the making….IMG_4768Not sure what kind of movie…maybe a romantic comedy. This is how dreamy I was feeling.

Anyways, we get back in the truck and continue down the road…..DSC_0326Once again back into the woods and then this happens……

DSC_0349I can’t even imagine that the sun shining would have made this better. Once again we get out and Mike finds a trail to the edge of the cliff. So down he goes….not into the water but down the trail.IMG_4776I love how small you can feel next to the sea. These are some of the photos Mike captured on the edge…DSC_0355Looking straight down…DSC_0359To his left….DSC_0356and to the right.

At this point we were trying to figure out how to live the truck…on the coast:)

But we decided to continue on down the road and see if there was a better spot…..Haha.DSC_0361

It looks like you will be back in the hills when all of a sudden this happens…..
DSC_0369See the cow? That is the luckiest cow ever. I was surprised to see cows living on the coast.

Beyond the cow is a bridge……DSC_0395We pull in for a quick photo. This is the famous Bixby Bridge.

(side note…we did a lot of staring at the water)
DSC_0392This is the view that memorized Mike.

The Bixby Bridge was named after Charles Henry Bixby. Residents would have to travel 11 miles out of the way during the winter to cross the creek and when you are traveling by horse and buggy that could mean an extra few days. So a bridge was built.
DSC_0401We have seen a lot of “old” building and structures on this trip but it still is amazing to me that man was able to build such amazing things with no heavy equipment or iPhones.
DSC_0400This bridge is in a lot movies and commercials. DSC_0405Oh look, there he goes again. This time I decide to follow him because I had the camera. Once down there it smelled like a dirty bathroom so I quickly came back up. Gross.

I know that it looks like we have been on this road all by ourselves but I assure you there were lots of other people stopping and taking pictures. There is always plenty of parking along parts of the road. DSC_0406

Look how happy he is to climb and explore….I am happy to not have lost him into the sea. Once he made his way back up we decided we need to get to our next destination.DSC_0409Winding our way up the mountain…..DSC_0411But not without another stop to take another picture of the bridge.

There are several places to see in the Big Sur….DSC_0426 We didn’t have a definite plan on where we wanted to go so we just drove….

That’s when we came to this little place on the side of the road…DSC_0434This was the only place we saw that had gas but we stopped mainly to pick up a souvenir. DSC_0436Here is the general store that made homemade burritos in the back and sold granola in the front. Camping is a big deal here. Well not like our camping but lots of tents and cabins to stay in.

There was a restaurant and a small hotel that hosted weddings and while we were there a bride and groom where getting there ideas together…..

This is one of the more cozier spots…..DSC_0438There were some very artsy shops as well…..this place had a real hippie vibe.

We got our Christmas ornament and kept on down the road.DSC_0467That’s when we happened upon this State Park….

When we pulled into this wooded area we were met with……DSC_0447these two cuties….this is the only wildlife we saw on our entire trip! Pretty exciting!

We made our way around to the LodgeDSC_0453Which is a hotel with a restaurant. It’s a little nicer than the last place we left but it didn’t have that beautiful creek in the back. The Big Sur Lodge has these….DSC_0457Finally!!! This is one thing I wanted to see……I know these aren’t the biggest trees in California but still amazing!DSC_0459

The bark is so different…..DSC_0461After looking at the trees I wanted to go see Pfeiffer Beach. I thought it was here at the state park but after driving to the guard house,(and almost paying 20 dollars to get in) the ranger told us we needed to get back on Hwy 1  drive another few miles down the road.

Now if you ever get to drive through Big Sur just know this, there is no sign on the street for the beach. I almost passed it but my trusty co-pilot found it just in time.

This was the sign we saw. Well no biggie..we didn’t bring either of these…right???DSC_0543

We turn the sharp turn and see this….DSC_0468At least we know we are on the right track…..

Remember that narrow road sign? They weren’t kidding!

DSC_0534This was just wide enough for our big truck.

Mike was a nervous wreck…..and I was glad to be driving.DSC_0531Now remember from the sign, we have 2 miles.

It would have been nice to not have passed anybody but that’s not fun!

DSC_0539There were several times I would have to stop and back up to one of the side pulloffs to let someone go around.

Hehe…..It was kind of scary but we finally made it.DSC_0470You pay 10 dollars at the gate and then park.

There was probably about 20 parking spots and we came on a good day.

We walked down the path to the beachDSC_0472I was very excited because we have seen a lot of beaches here and they have all been so different….this one did not disappoint.DSC_0513I love that we have the white sandy beaches here and the beauty of mountains flowing into the sea out west. Thank you God for such a creative landscape!

DSC_0481There were some waves coming in but nothing to big. DSC_0486Here he is….beach ready…on a cold day.

One of the views to see here is the rock formation with the water flowing in and out. When the sun is out and setting, it will shine through the hole.

I encourage you to google a picture of it.DSC_0488

Please enjoy these pictures of the water flowing through the arch.DSC_0495



You can see the power of the water coming and going. I wouldn’t want to be in there! After a little more walking around and photo taking, we decide to go….we are hungry!DSC_0512

Love being with these two on this adventure!

Our trip down the narrow road was just as fun as going in DSC_0541This time I had some help from these folks. Now I knew when another car was coming. Mike still didn’t like it…Haha.

Further on down the road is the Julia Pfieffer Burns State Park and then the Hearst Castle. I hate we missed them but when boys get hungry, they need to be fed.

We head back to Monterey and stopped at Hula’s for a delicious Ahi Tuna Sandwich…..IMG_4789This time we got to sit in a Tiki hut!IMG_4788I would say this was one of my most favorite parts of our road trip. To be able to see the creations that God has given us and see them with my husband and son….I will never be able to thank God enough!

Next up…a little golf outing on the beach.


Welcome to Sardine City

It has been a while since my last post but I am excited to continue on this journey and recall some of the most fun we have ever had……

Welcome to Monterrey, CA. This city is amazingly gorgeous!

First things first, we left Ocean Mesa and headed north. We were actually staying in Marina, CA, which is about 8 miles north of Monterrey. So we hitched up the home and squeezed it out of our spot and off we went. Due to pulling the camper we weren’t able to take Hwy 1 but we were not disappointed by the views.DSC_0601Vineyards, vineyards and more vineyards!DSC_0611Over the hills, these grapes were growing and I was thirsty….haha.

Once we got through wine country, the hilltop scenery changed….wow! DSC_0613Of course I had to get a picture of the animal warning sign. This one was a bear….yikes!
DSC_0617We didn’t see any but I made sure to look for them with the windows up and doors locked!

Once we got into Marina, we found our campground, Marina Dunes.DSC_0619I have mixed feelings about this campground. I loved the location, the trail to the beach and our site was ok, but some of the other amenities were lacking..I am being nice when I say that.

Once we pulled into a tight registration lane, I go in the office to check in. The girl behind the counter wasn’t unfriendly but she wasn’t going out of her way to even tell me how to get to our site. Checking into a campground, for me, is like going to someones house. I need to be shown around a bit, tell me where the bathrooms are and make me feel like I am welcomed.

Anyways, I paid, she gave me a map and we drove down to our site. After about 30 mins we finally get backed in to our site.IMG_4722Good job, honey! After we got our truck parked, it looked like this.IMG_4719

We decided not to cook tonight but before we can eat Max needs to stretch his legs. I hadn’t been told where to take him so I look on the map and at the bottom of the page it says, “Please take your pet off property.” Ok, so I get him on the leash and we go outside and a lady is walking by with her dog. God  is so good about sending people my way at the right time. I ask her where she takes her dog and she directs me to the beach.

We get to the trail,IMG_4763and we walk….IMG_4764and then we walked some more….IMG_4754until, finally! WE ARE THERE!!! Max was so happy! I think the trail was about 1/4 of a mile long and the sand was thick and deep!IMG_4725The drool length is amazing after he works hard. (This was the side he was snake bit on so we think its kind of droopy and helps with the stringyness.)

After our 1/2 mile walk to the beach and back, we were starving!

We decided not to cook but to head on into Monterey for some seafood. I found a little place called Hula’s.

On our way in we passed the Fisherman’s wharf…DSC_0620side note….we did not eat here because I didn’t read any good reviews about the restaurants on the sea…

DSC_0622This is the marina next to the wharf. Look at those beautiful mountains! I could not get enough of this view!


I love the all the boats.

We got to Hula’s and had to park on the street, which was ok because it wasn’t very busy for a Sunday evening. We go in and we score a seat outside.

IMG_4698Notice the long sleeves…..on everybody? It was chilly! The workers came out and turned on the heaters for us after a while. So much for sunny California!

We decided after looking at the menu, that we wanted to try several things.

For appetizers we got, Bahn Mi Bao SlidersIMG_4694YUM! We also ordered the Kona-Style WingsIMG_4695Delicious!

For dinner we decided to share the Blackened Ahi Steak Sandwich.IMG_4699It was so good! Then I ordered Jamaican Johnny Cakes for dessert.IMG_4696 This was like a sweet bread with little bits of banana, which made it healthy! Wow!! This was a great place to eat!

Since we were all ready in town we decided to head over to Cannery Row. DSC_0635

Not a bad parking spot if I do say so.

DSC_0637These are some of the old fishing warehouses.

Once we got past the sea views, we found this.
IMG_4718Cannery Row is full of sardine history, shops, restaurants, and hotels.

Walking further down the street we found this small square.

IMG_4706 On the top of this monument is the author John Steinbeck, around the side is a marine biologist, and then there are men/women who really made this town by bringing in all the sardines.

Notice the seagull on John Steinbeck’s head? Those birds are huge!! I don’t really like birds anyways and those beefy gulls flying over head were scary!


Anyways, we bought some souvenirs, walked off our dinner, and headed back to our home by the sea.

We have some great things planned this week…I can’t wait  to share them with y’all.

Here is another great walk that Max and I went on….this was the only time the sun came out.IMG_4793Even with the sun it was still a nice 70 degrees. I love California!IMG_4792

Next adventure….Pebble Beach!!!

Pancakes and Wine in a Sunny Field

The time had come to say goodbye to Anaheim, CA. We were really going to miss the weather and the fireworks but we were pretty excited about seeing more of the California coast. Originally, I had planned to go from Anaheim to Monterry but that was a really long drive so I started to look at a half way point and found Solvang.

Solvang, which means sunny field, is just a bit northwest from Santa Barbara and was settled by the Dutch back in 1911. The city is full of bakeries, restaurants and wineries. Of course after reading about this small Danish town I knew we had to go. My first choice in campgrounds was full so I called Ocean Mesa at El Capitan State Park and they had us a spot. DSC_0600You couldn’t beat the location of this campground. We got registered and found our spot.IMG_4660We like to call this “between the hedges”. It was tight but the views were pretty amazing.DSC_0453See the ocean? I just turned around from the camp site and this was our view. Now, when we get to a campground we like to wonder around and check out the park.DSC_0454This was the pool area and you can see there are more sites below us.

We were told that we could walk to the State Beach and see creatures in the tide pools. Neat, but first Max has to go check out his area.IMG_4664Once we got to the dog area, Max was taunted by prairie dogs. It was the funniest thing to see them pop up out of their holes and squeak at him. He really was confused!IMG_4666Here he is sniffing out a hole. Those little boogers were so quick I couldn’t get a picture of them, but I can promise Max won’t forget them!

We got Max settled back in the camper and headed down to the beach. DSC_0456We walked about 1/2 mile through a couple of trails and finally came to the beach.DSC_0458We saw the rocks on the beach and headed over to them to find some creatures.DSC_0460First one on the rocks is…….DSC_0464Haha…..Mike loves to climb and explore. Micheal and I were a bit more cautious about stepping on the rocks but we made it out there too.DSC_0468 We looked all around and the only thing we saw was this.DSC_0476It probably isn’t anything but it looked squishy. This was a really pretty beach.DSC_0475It was very different than the Gulf Coast but still had it’s own beauty. Once we were done, we made the hike back up to the campground and just spent a relaxing evening looking at the stars. I didn’t get a good picture but this was the most beautiful nighttime sky! It was almost as if we were sitting in an Imax theater full of stars. It was absolutely amazing!

The next morning we get up and head to Solvang. I found a place that served Swedish pancakes and I couldn’t wait to try them. The drive to the city was gorgeous!DSC_0489We had the ocean to our left and DSC_0490the mountains in front of us.

We got to Solvang in about 30 mins and went straight for breakfast. Micheal has to have breakfast every morning…..even if its lunch before he gets up.

DSC_0510Welcome to Paula’s Pancake house. We waited about 20 minutes and got a seat inside. It kind of reminded us of a grandmother’s house with its pink flowered wall paper and mismatched chairs. The pancake, however, was amazing.IMG_4674It is a little bit thicker than a crepe and was so sweet I didn’t even eat my syrup with it. Plus I hate when the powdered sugar gets washed away! I don’t know what the guys got, I was to busy eating my breakfast and yes I ate the whole thing!

After we finished eating we began to wonder around town.DSC_0503Just like I read, this place is full of wineries, bakeries, and some restaurants. The wineries were little shop fronts that offered tastings and some even had club memberships. We did go into one for a tasting but it wasn’t that good and I didn’t even get a picture of it.

Now we did get our souvenir ornament from this gorgeous Christmas Shoppe.DSC_0519Then we walked down to the town square where the Hans Christian Anderson museum was.DSC_0520The museum was free and on the second story of a coffee shop. It really wasn’t a museum, it was more like a room with some pictures and a few facts.DSC_0522Micheal was not impressed….DSC_0524At least it was free.

Down the street was a replica of the Little Mermaid statue from Copenhagen.DSC_0537And of course no Dutch town would be complete without…….DSC_0530a windmill. This was really a fun town to explore and if I hadn’t eaten that big pancake I would have had some sweet treats to share with you.

After a few hours we decide to head back home. I was hoping to stop in at a couple of vineyards on the way out but sadly everything closed early that day. Oh well, I guess it gives me a reason to go back. DSC_0550We really took our time going back to the campground. This was the street that took us into Solvang. It was lined with grapevines on either side. I guess I was really enjoying the view because I didn’t get any pictures of the wineries or the vineyards.

Then once we were back on Hwy 1 we got the ocean view again. DSC_0558I saw a few cars parked on the side of the road, so we stopped (mostly because I am nosey)  and we saw a trail that took you to the water.DSC_0560This is looking toward where we parked. We had to cross over train tracks and then down this path. Sometimes Micheal needs a little push to do new things and that’s why we were taking so long to catch up to Mike. We eventually made it to the edge of the cliff.DSC_0561You could never get tired of a view like that!

Mike found a trail that took you down to the water, so naturally he went.DSC_0563Once he got down, he realized there wasn’t much beach.DSC_0573Here I am making sure I don’t have to call 911 for Mike. DSC_0577This was looking to the right. It almost doesn’t seem like the same coastline, but it is.DSC_0566I would have liked to stay until sundown, but the boys got hungry.DSC_0580I did get Micheal to do something daring. Well for him anyways.

We had a another great starry night that night and then hooked up the next morning. We got out of our tight campsite and headed to Monterrey, CA.

If you ever find yourself stuck between L.A. and San Fran, I suggest stopping off for some pancakes and wine!DSC_0534


Magical Birthday

DSC_0380For my birthday I wanted to ride roller coasters with Micheal, see Radiator Springs, and eat my very own turkey leg. The only place to do that is at Disneyland and of course all my dreams came true.

Our campground offered a shuttle service to the park, so we hopped on the shuttle that morning and in 10 minutes we were at Disneyland. Unlike Disneyworld, both of the park entrances are facing each other. So that means doing both parks in one day is very easy.IMG_4577After learning this we decided to do a park hopper because you can’t go to just one park. (That is what Mike told me anyway).

I think he has forgotten about that long bike ride from yesterday.

We decided to go to California Adventures first because I was so excited to walk down the street of Radiator Springs. First, we had to go get our fastpass for Radiator Racers. It is the most popular ride in the park and we got a time to ride it at 2:00-3:00 that afternoon. Awesome! Now we head to Radiator Springs.DSC_0416I am dying!!! Micheal and I watched Cars so many times when he was little and to get to see the town with him was so much fun. DSC_0392Mater’s junkyard filled with……IMG_4554tractors, of course. Then we see….DSC_0391Fillmore’s fuel station. Next was…..DSC_0393Sarge’s Surplus. Had Micheal been a few years younger, we would have spent a lot of money in this store. Then I turn around and……DSC_0398it’s the Cozy cone!! Mater has made an appearance at the front door. We go on down the street and come to DSC_0402Luigi’s. Guess who was hanging out….DSC_0404Micheal was not happy about this but he humored me…. You know he is to cool for Red. Across from Luigi’s is…..DSC_0399and then Ramone’s next door.DSC_0403We were almost to the end of the street when I saw the founder….Stanley.IMG_4619I love his gold tooth! At the end of the street is the ride Radiator Racers. I know we got a fast pass but I can’t wait all day to ride and the lane didn’t look that long. IMG_4543The wait was 45 minutes and it was worth it! (this was the longest wait all day).DSC_0407Some of the sights along the way….DSC_0409a really cute fountain and then we see it……DSC_0413a racer! Isn’t she cute? These cars hold 6 people in them.IMG_4532Three in the front and three in the back. Just perfect for my sweet family. As you can tell by the seatbelts, this ride is mild but very fun.IMG_4535We are in line waiting for the big race. We headed out side and the Cars music is playing, we round the curve and there is the waterfall from the movie. Amazing!IMG_4949We go back inside and go through town where we see all the characters.IMG_4540We also saw Fillmore, the Sheriff, and all the tractors! But before you race, you have to stop by Luigi’s for a pitstop.IMG_4950We are almost ready….IMG_4951but first we get a pep talk from Doc. IMG_4952We arrive at the starting line with another car beside and 3…2…1….off we go!!!! I think we crossed the finish line first but it was close. IMG_4617
What a great ride. IMG_4542

Once we left Cars Land we went to couple of stores to look around. Mike wandered off for a minute and when he came back, he gave me this.IMG_4954This made the day even more special! Every Disneyland worker made it a point to tell me Happy Birthday. I even passed one guy twice and he said it both times. It was really nice!

Now ever since we went to Hershey Park last year, Micheal has gotten on the “big” rides. So he was ready for a fast one. We headed down to Paradise PierDSC_0421

and the boys went straight to the California Screamin. DSC_0424Micheal loved every minute. I was very proud of him! I was 15 before I rode anything like that.

We rode a few more rides that really just spun around in circles and then my tummy said enough! It was now time to eat a Turkey Leg!!!IMG_1176That’s right…you go girl! I did share some of it with Mike. Then after all that salty meat I needed something sweet…..IMG_4553Wow! It was the best birthday meal ever! Mike had a brownie sundae and I got a chocolate milkshake. We didn’t do a birthday cake because 1) there is only 3 of us and 2) we had no space for it in the camper. This milkshake was perfect!!

After we came off our sugar highs we decided we needed to get to Disneyland. We did have to get back on the shuttle and take Max potty but that only took 30 minutes. So we get back and head on in.

IMG_4613We get through the gate and start down Main Street.IMG_4578Do you see it? The castle I mean? IMG_4591We could not get over how small it was.

Anyways, we were headed to Space Mountain. Another one of Micheal’s favorites but we stopped when we saw Star Tours.IMG_4582

We waited maybe 20 minutes and it went by fast because of all the entertainment inside.

C3PO was so funny.IMG_4584We got our 3d glasses on…..IMG_4585took a seat, buckled in and thats when things got fun. Well not so much for Mike, he doesn’t do really well with these rides but I think I got to laughing so hard it took his mind off it. We rode this twice. The second time we came out and Micheal was inspired to make a lightsaber.IMG_4586Turns out Mike knows a lot about computers but this was a bit of a challenge…haha. It turned out great and Micheal loved it. Now its time for Space Mountain.IMG_4588I did not ride this ride! I don’t like being tossed around in the dark. The End!

After the boys got off, we decided to walk around just a few more minutes and go back to California Adventure. We still had our fast pass and when it gets dark all the neon is lit in Radiator Springs and we were told that couldn’t be missed. So,we headed back to Paradise Pier so I could ride California Screamin with Micheal (super fun) and then we went straight back to Cars Land.

That’s when this happened…..IMG_4626Oh hi, Miranda. She was sweet and told me Happy Birthday too.

After my star sighting (Micheal ran to the bathroom because he was so embarrassed) we got back on Radiator Racers. It was still fun the second time around. Then the sun started to go down and thats when it got pretty.IMG_1192





I didn’t take my “big” camera so the neon wasn’t as crisp as I would have liked but you get the idea.

Once we rode the racers again we decided to go back to our camper to enjoy the fireworks. I know it’s not the same as being in the park but we were all pretty tired from the day.

I really, really enjoyed my birthday! Mike and Micheal made it such a special day! Here are some more pictures from the day.




Coming up….experiencing Dutch life in a “sunny meadow”.

Everything’s just beachy.

DSC_0164We said goodbye to Las Vegas and headed to Los Angeles!

We stopped at the rest area (for a photo of course)DSC_0174

and decided that the snake warnings were just a natural thing out west. (There was one in Arizona and Nevada too).


Even Max was happy about making it all the way across the country. (This is his California Dreamin face). We get back into the truck, head down the road a bit and see a sign that states we would be stopped for inspection. Did we leave America? Nope!

So we get in line to be inspected……DSC_0179(Notice the other campers and motor homes) For some reason these fine folks in front of us just got waved on through, but not us. Maybe it was the Alabama tag on the front that did it. Anyway, we get stopped and we were asked if we had brought any apples, peaches or pecans from Alabama. Mike told the guy we had been traveling for 6 weeks and all our fruits were from Nevada. The inspector then looked us both and said, “Are you sure, you are from Alabama because you don’t look like it.” Mike and I looked at each other and laughed.

Once we got the third degree about our fruits and our non-southern looks, we headed on to Anaheim. We chose to stay in that part of town because surprisingly there are no campgrounds in Beverly Hills.

We went from a nice drive through the mountains, with wide lanes…..DSC_0186

to overcrowded interstate with transfer trucks on one side and tour buses on the other.

Yes, I took this picture while driving.  Don't be a photographer and drive!
Yes, I took this picture while driving but we were coming to a stop.


We finally got to Anaheim Rv Resort, alive and without any bumps! Yay!! I didn’t get any pictures of our site or the campground, sadly, but let me tell you we were very pleased. I took Max to the dog walk and there was grass!!! I know he was so happy and had it not been a dog walk I would have taken my shoes off just to have my toes in it. One of the reasons we chose this park was because of it’s closeness to Disneyland and on their website they said we could see the Disneyland fireworks from the campground. So, every night at 9:30 we watched the fireworks, it was amazing!

This is not our camper. We are standing in front of ours.
This is not our camper. We are standing in front of ours.

IMG_4650What an end to our first night in Cali. It made up for the horrible, terrifying driving experience.

The next morning we decided to go into L.A. to take in the sites. First on the list was the Hollywood sign. Before we left on this trip we asked Micheal what he wanted to see and this was the only thing he could think of. So, I typed Hollywood sign into the GPS and little did we know that she was taking us on an adventure. I trust google maps a little to much. As we are headed into L.A. the traffic is stop and go, stop and go, stop and go, and stop and go. It took forever to get downtown! Once we got closer, we realized we were headed to the Griffith Park Observatory. Mike is a little nervous because he thought we were going to a little park below the sign but our sweet google maps was trying to take us to the sign. Once we got into the park area I told Mike to just drive as high as we could and we would find a parking spot. We climbed up this mountain and finally found a place to pull into and park. We got out of the truck and walked back down the hill a bit and boy, was it beautiful! IMG_4486 One thing about L.A. is the smog is always thick!

Then my sweet Sugarboog got to see the Hollywood sign…….IMG_4489After about 5 minutes the boys were ready to go. So we get back into the truck, did a u-turn on the mountain and headed into downtown L.A.

We didn’t actually stop and park in L.A. so all of my pictures are from the passenger side. This wasn’t one of the towns we wanted to explore but it was cool to see some of the sights in person.



The famous Capitol Records building.DSC_0277

Grumman’s Chinese Theater…….and then we rolled into Beverly Hills!DSC_0284

DSC_0289I kept looking for the hillbillies but they must have been busy…..I never really saw any big mansions, I guess those are on private roads.

Anyways, we were in search for Rodeo Drive and after a few wrong turns, we found it.DSC_0290See the sign? It’s above the you may walk now man.DSC_0292It is a very narrow street with the loveliest palm trees! At first it just looked like any other street until……..DSC_0294I see the yellow Rolls Royce and in front of us…….DSC_0293a really pretty Bentley.  There are of course stores on this street.DSC_0295and…..DSC_0296this person’s store…..(I didn’t know most of them)…andDSC_0297Mr. Vuitton’s. I really wanted to walk around and have that Pretty Woman moment but sadly there was no parking for the F350.

At the end of Rodeo Drive is…DSC_0298The Beverly Wilshire Hotel. This was cool!

Now after driving around we decided to go to Santa Monica. DSC_0303It was gorgeous! We parked at a bank (for 10.00) and walked straight to the pier. Well sort of to the pier. DSC_0305This is taken from the street in the picture above. You really can’t believe the beauty in mountains that meet the ocean. Simply breathtaking.

The street that runs along these houses is the Pacific Coast Hwy or Hwy 1. ( We have more adventures on Hwy 1 that will show how neat of a road it is)DSC_0307This is Santa Monica Pier. It was very busy!!! We opted to just look at it from afar. We did however walk down to the beach.DSC_0314It was a great day to fly a kite…..obviously.DSC_0320He has officially been from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean just like me when I was younger. Now the sand on this beach was not like the white sand on the Gulf. It was like a gritty play sand. It wasn’t my favorite but the folks hanging on the beach don’t know the difference…..poor things!DSC_0324It was a beautiful day at the beach!DSC_0329This is the bike trail that runs all the way to Venice Beach from Santa Monica. Next time we will bring our bikes and ride down that way. In California, you should just take your bike every where you go.

Well we have walked so much, according to Micheal, that it is now time to eat. I didn’t have anything researched so we went to the first place we came to. DSC_0304The Water Grille. It is the restaurant with the black facade. Sorry, this was all I had of the front, but once inside…!IMG_4496This was the view from our table. Now lets get to the food.IMG_4493Mike ordered a fish and some cole slaw. Yummy, but my mouth is still watering over my…..drumroll please…..IMG_4492Buttery lobster roll…..see the butter oozing from the bread. I would brave all the traffic in L.A. just to eat this again.

Moving on… we walked back to the truck we came up on a shopping area that was fun. There was a lady that would read your fortune to an amish looking man singing Van Morrison and Michael Buble songs.

IMG_4500I have video of the amish man but once again I can’t load it. We have decided to do a Youtube page to load our videos but that is a work in progress.

As we headed back to the camper I told Mike that I had to ride my bike on one of the many bike trails. So , that what’s we will do tomorrow, after some research of course.

So I read about a place called Seal Beach. It is a quit little seaside town off Hwy 1 that didn’t require us to travel on any major interstate. Down from Seal Beach was a small state park with a bike trail that went to Huntington Beach. So we head down to the Pacific Coast Hwy in search of the bike trail.DSC_0376Along the way we passed an old naval base with gorgeous views.DSC_0351We get to the park unload our bikes and see a sign that says we are 8 miles from Huntington Beach. No biggie! We just don’t tell Micheal. He isn’t to thrilled with a long bike ride.IMG_4515Yes it was just chilly enough to have on a sweatshirt. IMG_4517One thing we noticed were all the oil rigs that you could see from the shore. It sort of took away from the wonder of the ocean but there was beauty elsewhere.IMG_4523IMG_4522The landscape changes so much in California.IMG_4524Here is the happy boy! Taking a break. In all honesty his bike is not fun to ride on, how do I know? Well on the way back we switched bikes. I didn’t make him go on long bike rides after that!

So we get into Huntington Beach and there is a dog beach with so many dogs running around, I wouldn’t be able to remove my shoes to walk in the sand. That’s just me getting grossed out about stuff but the dogs were loving it. IMG_4525I am not sure what was going on here but it seems very popular. IMG_4526People were renting those big bikes and geez it got crazy trying to dodge them but luckily no one got hurt.IMG_4527Surf lessons and food. Look at the pay phone…..that is awesome. We didn’t stay long but we saw enough to make us want to visit again. Next time by car so we could walk around the shops.

Once back at the camper we had dinner and you guessed it….fireworks at 9:30.IMG_4510This was from inside our camper….it makes me happy.

Tomorrow we celebrate my birthday…at Disneyland.

Viva Las Vegas




Today we are headed into Las Vegas but first we need breakfast. I read really good reviews about a place called The Famous Coffee Cup, so we went.DSC_0140

Boy was it yummy!IMG_1129

You know if Guy comes to eat it has to be good. IMG_1127

Not a bad start to my day.IMG_1131

Due to the high volume of food Mike and I have been consuming lately, we decide to share. I think Mike is rethinking this decision here. We ordered the F.B.L.T. with fried potatoes and Micheal got pancakes. IMG_1132

We actually came back for lunch one day for this sandwich. We didn’t share the next time! Now we are ready for Vegas baby!DSC_0031

When I think of Vegas, I think of Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Wayne Newton. Sadly, those days are gone. I have mixed feelings about visiting this city.  The hotels in this city are amazing but the city streets were filled with unimaginable things. It is sad to not be able to enjoy iconic cities with your child without having to tell them to look down every 5 minutes.  Anyway, I am going to focus only on the good stuff we saw.

We stopped by the office of our campground to get some tips on parking and off we went. We were only about 12 miles from Las Vegas so it didn’t take us long to get there. First, I wanted to see everything from the truck so we drove down the strip.DSC_0038

DSC_0036  Then turned back around to find the parking area that we were told we could fit in. Well we realized we were headed straight for a parking garage and Mike was not about to try to squeeze us in. So I decided to see where people park with their campers when they come in for a night or two. We found that parking lot and guess what…..It was free! We pulled in behind Ballys Casino and parked. I called Ballys just to make sure we didn’t get towed and bam! FREE PARKING!! Yay! We walked two blocks and just like that we were on the strip.

We mostly took this so we could remember where we parked.
We mostly took this so we could remember where we parked. I know we aren’t very old but we always take a picture of our parking area. Plus that is the Eiffel Tower, so cool!


There were a couple of hotels I wanted to go to and I wanted to see the fountain at the Bellagio. I didn’t know about the Paris Hotel, so that was a bonus!IMG_4364We went into the Paris hotel and it was so neat!DSC_0054The whole ceiling was painted like the sky and part of the Eiffel Tower’s legs were in the lobby. You could pay to ride the elevator to the top of the tower and walk across the bridge.DSC_0056The gift shops looked like chateaus. It was all so charming, you almost forgot you were in a casino.DSC_0057This was a theater in the back of the lobby. I loved all the silhouettes! This is were Micheal saw his first cocktail waitress. Now she was covered with a long tailed coat so it wasn’t to revealing but to a 12 year old it was embarrassing. Anyway, we decided to look for our ornament souvenir here.DSC_0055I didn’t get an Eiffel Tower ornament. I am saving that one for when I do go to Paris! Haha!

Once back out on the street, Micheal let us know he was getting hungry. I normally have it planned where we are going to eat so we don’t get caught at a gross place but this time we were winging it. Then we found Pinks.DSC_0061Paul and Betty Pink began selling hot dogs from a cart on a neighborhood street corner in 1939. The chill dogs became so popular that the Pinks decided to open a store and 75 years later Pinks can be found in many different locations. Micheal loves hot dogs, plain, of course so we go in and decide on a plain hot dog (that was 5.00! yikes!) and Mike and I shared a cheeseburger. Micheal can be very picky when it comes to his food. If he gets a taste of something then everything has to taste that way, so I told him nicely, that he was going to eat this 5.00 hot dog and love it! DSC_0060As you can see, he tried it and told me it was ok. Which meant he ate it but he would never want another one again….haha. Our cheeseburger was delicious!

Now that our bellies are full we decided to go down to the New York Hotel because……… duh!!!! Along the way we saw the Harley Store.DSC_0064

Then we saw this big Coke bottle. DSC_0065

We also saw Elvis (the skinny one), Michael Jackson, and Johnny Depp. I didn’t take pictures because I knew y’all would believe me!

One thing I think Vegas has right are all the escalators and pedestrian walkways over the streets.

This was the only picture I got of the escalators and walkway....I think the Statue of Liberty distracted me.
This was the only picture I got of the escalators and walkway….I think the Statue of Liberty distracted me.

DSC_0071It is official! I have seen been to Lady Liberty on the East and West coasts!

As we came to the door, I noticed the handles.DSC_0083Awesome!

Inside wasn’t romantic like the Paris Hotel….Haha.

Jelly Beans
Jelly Beans


We were greeted by this amazingly yummy statue. Nobody licked it! I promise!

Then once in the lobby, we were greeted by a shopping area. Complete with….you guessed it, a Starbucks.DSC_0076Around the corner was a crepe shop, an Irish pub and a deli.DSC_0080Look, it even has cobble stone streets and a fake sewer. DSC_0082There was also an apartment building. I loved all the details in these hotels!

By this time Micheal is getting restless so we head down to the Bellagio fountain. DSC_0096We didn’t have to wait long before we hear this Italian man singing opera and then the water was moving to the music!DSC_0097It was fun to watch!

I did enjoy some of Las Vegas, I just hate that Micheal was exposed to certain things. Lesson learned! IMG_4366

Next up…Sunny California!

Rockin and Rollin

We are getting close!
We are getting close!

After rolling down I-40 west the past few weeks we take a turn North to Las Vegas. The scenery changed a bit on the way. We lost sight of trees and grass…sadly…but every place has beauty in it.

Still a beautiful sight.
Still a beautiful sight.


Mike wasn’t able to get many pictures due to work but this was about what we saw the whole trip. In my original plans I was going to get us a spot in Las Vegas. Now where do you park a camper in Las Vegas? Let me tell you, no where! Just kidding. There are several campgrounds in Vegas but after asking a few folks on the road, we were told to stay outside of Vegas. So I found a place in Boulder City, NV.


This is Canyon Trail RV Park. Look at the dirt. It makes me wonder if people get tired of looking at grass when they come visit Alabama. I can’t imagine they could but anyways, this was a very nice campground. We had plenty of room and met some very nice people.

Our spot in the dirt....Haha
Our spot in the dirt….Haha

Normally, we would put out our rug but the wind was so fierce that we couldn’t keep anything to stay put. As a matter of fact one night I was up until 4:00 in the morning listening to the wind knock the camper around like we were in a boxing match. We did win and by that I mean we didn’t get blown over.

I was really happy with Boulder City. I love history and this city did not disappoint! I found a museum for this town in the historic hotel, Boulder Dam Hotel.

Reminds me of the south
Reminds me of the south


This is a great museum and cost us 3 dollars to get in, so that was another bonus! So, after the decision was made to build the Hoover Dam, during the great depression, people from all over came looking for work. These men and their families set up tents in the desert until the work began. Then the workers were moved into Boulder City.  Boulder City was a government town. So to get in you had to stop by the gate and you would get a pass.

Looked just like this
Looked just like this

After stopping by the gate and getting permission to enter, you would then see the City Manager to let him know what kind of business you had there. If that was approved and you had to stay over for the night that would have to be approved to.

Note the scavenger hunt. Micheal loves these so that was another bonus. I might have gotten a few answers from him at the end.

What I love the most is learning how people lived during this time. DSC_0110I feel like I know what she is talking about. DSC_0111What would you take? We have been on the road for 8 weeks now and I certainly have a better understanding of this question. Of course these people weren’t dragging their house behind them nor did they have a travel app to tell you how far the next gas station was. So I really would not want to travel as these people had to.

The front of a house in the desert
The front of a house in the desert

As we are looking at this exhibit there was a lady talking about how she brought her ironing board. Once she got out in the desert and it was hot and windy they realized that the ironing board was better used as a bench. (bottom right)

This would have been the kitchen.
This would have been the kitchen. It’s not much bigger than my camper kitchen.
Do you keep a shovel in your kitchen?
Do you keep a shovel in your kitchen?

So the story goes that the wind would blow the dirt into the house and cupboards. Then every morning the woman would shovel the dirt off the floor and then clean all the dishes that were in the cupboard. I opened that cabinet and the dishes inside were filled with dirt. Yikes! I can’t imagine what that would have been like.

Silly kids
Silly kids

This poor child was playing in a forbidden yard. While running across the tar barrel tops, she fell in. Luckily most of the tar got on her clothes, the tar on her skin was removed by a gasoline bath. Ouch!

There were 5,ooo men who worked on the Hoover Dam. Blasting and chipping away at the rock.DSC_0115Not one of them had a hard hat. So one man took two baseball caps, placed them together and dipped them into tar. DSC_0118Once the company got wind that the men were doing this they ordered hard hats for all the men and thats how hard hats became a part of construction work.DSC_0117On a side note. If you read our ticket to get into the city. One of the questions was how many men were buried in the wall. The answer is none. Oh sure there were men that would fall into the cement and die, but the workers were given strict orders to remove the body. So when the men scaled down the wall and came to a hand or foot sticking out of the wall, they chipped away at the cement and removed the body.


I love this picture. It took five years to build this dam. I think that is amazing considering it takes that long to repave sections of our interstates and highways.

After leaving the museum, Micheal and I decided to wonder around a bit. This town is lovely and if you love little antique shops, this is your place.

The entrance to downtown
The entrance to downtown
Goat Feathers
Goat Feathers


This was a really fun shop! Just filled with knick knacks and antiques from the 1980’s. Yikes! You could spend an hour in this store looking around but when you have a 12 year old boy with you 20 minutes was enough for him. IMG_4468I bet you didn’t know this even existed! I didn’t.

That's my finger. The sun was shining and i didn't realize this until later.
That’s my finger. The sun was shining and i didn’t realize this until later.

Once inside the owner was encouraging us to touch everything. Micheal was loving it. There were hats, rugs, and capes. Just to name a few things. Before we left the owner showed us a picture of an alpaca before being shaved and after. Poor thing looked pitiful!

There are quite a few statues around town but this one was the most interesting.

Toilet Paper Hero of Hoover Dam
Toilet Paper Hero of Hoover Dam

This is Alabam. That wasn’t his name, its just what everybody called him. He was hired to clean the outhouses. That meant keeping them swept out, throwing limes down the holes and restocking the toilet paper. This was his only job. I can imagine he stayed very busy!

There was another site to behold in Boulder City. That was Lake Mead.DSC_0003

The Neveda welcome center was closed so we visited the Lake Mead visitors center.

Isn't he a cutie!
Isn’t he a cutie!

These palm trees were out side the center. Once inside we were told about a film about life on the lake and in the back of the building was more information about Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. (We did watch the film because Micheal likes that sort of thing)

Nice display table
Nice display table


These ringbolts are still along the canyon walls. The rings were used as a pulley system to pull boats with supplies up the river. DSC_0007 There was also a section on the wildlife that we could see around Boulder City. I was so disappointed! This is a roadrunner? That means all my life Looney Tunes has lied! I still can’t believe they are this small.

After talking with the park rangers we discovered a bike trail that would take you to the Hoover Dam. It runs through the tunnels that were used by the old railway to take supplies to the dam for building. It was only 3.3 miles one way. I didn’t think that was to bad, but I would soon see how bad it could be.

The next day we loaded up the bikes and headed out! The trail starts by the Lake Mead Visitors Center. It starts out as a paved path and becomes a dirt path.

What a beautiful lake!
What a beautiful lake!

The view on the trail was really nice.

The lake on the left side
The lake on the left side
and tall rocks on the right.
and tall rocks on the right.

We knew there would be tunnels but we were not prepared for how amazing they would be.IMG_1139There is timber at the entrance and exit of the tunnels for support. There are also bats that live in the tunnels but fortunately they were all on vacation!


IMG_4410The inside was one big rock! I know it is a mountain but to see inside is incredible!IMG_4420

On a side note, I know that my bike isn’t exactly what you would call a dirt trail bike but with a seat that big to protect from the bumps and a basket to hold sunscreen and water, I think it was perfect for this trip!

We are getting close. Look at those power lines!

We got to this sign and had to make a decision. We decided to take the shortcut back and go see the boneyard exhibit. Well we didn’t see the boneyard anywhere but Mike did spot this guy.IMG_1142If you ever get the story about seeing the lizard on the trail from Micheal, he will probably talk more about how his leg was almost severed off when Mike yelled excitedly at him to stop and look to his left, no your other left. Fortunately, Micheal didn’t loose his leg and the lizard probably thought we were crazy!

We got to a point where we couldn’t take our bikes, so we parked them. You could hear the electricity buzzing through the lines here.IMG_4406Then we continued to walk down the trail and then got to some steps which took us to the parking garage of the dam. For any of you planning on going to the dam, it is 10.00 to park. I preferred the free ride on my bike!

These were the steps we walked down.
These were the steps we walked down.
Welcome to the Hoover Dam
Welcome to the Hoover Dam. It was wear all red day in Micheal’s world and he was excited that there was food and gifts when we got there.
I love palm trees against the rocks.
I love palm trees against the rocks.

IMG_4381Everything is done in 1930’s art deco which is one of my favorites. I love the passion and spirit people had back in those days.IMG_4382

These folks saved 10 dollars by riding their bikes!
These folks saved 10 dollars by riding their bikes and now Micheal wants to spend it on food.
On the top of the dam
There were a lot of people driving over the dam.

So on one side of the dam you are in Arizona and then we are standing on the IMG_4388Nevada side.

It feels like a big slide from the top
It feels like a big slide from the top

IMG_4397You can almost see the size by looking at the tiny trucks parked on the bottom.IMG_4396This is the interstate and bridge. I will show you that in a bit. Let’s face it, this is very impressive for the 1930’s and built in the desert with no air conditioning!

Now we also decided not to take the Hoover Dam tour. As I stated before we knew some things we really wanted to do and the tour wasn’t on the list. Maybe some other time.

The Patrick's at the Hoover Dam 2015
The Patrick’s at the Hoover Dam 2015

After walking around a bit we head into the gift shop and find our ornament. Then we convinced Micheal that he could eat the snacks we brought and we would promise to feed him when we got back. We got back on our bikes.

Some of the trail was up hill going back and that wasn’t the problem. The problem was the 20-30 mph winds that The Weather Channel had warned us about earlier that morning. The winds weren’t blowing from behind either, we were pedaling straight into them. I would  pedal so hard and I would barely move. I took some video but I can’t get it to load.

Let me tell you, my bike was a champ!

You go girl!
You go girl!

I think everyone enjoyed the ride. IMG_4438Even though this one told me multiply times, he wasn’t going to make it. Well he probably surprised himself because he made it!

After a few days of rest for the bikers we decided to go see the dam from the bridge that runs along the interstate. This time we drove because the parking lot was fairly big, well big enough anyway and it is separate from the Hoover Dam parking garage.

The drive is always fun!
The drive is always fun!
I love all the different animal warning signs.
I love all the different animal warning signs.

Once we got there, we had to walk up several flights of stairs and then we got to the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge.DSC_0152

Really nice viewing area!
Really nice viewing area!

DSC_0158I did learn the white part of the rock shows when the river is at its fullest. There is a pretty bad drought going on out here and I think it is only going to get worse.


This is what happens when you ask someone that probably was foreign and a little older to take your families picture with your iPhone. You hand it to him and he asks if he just has to press the white button. Yes, press the white button. He pressed the white button, the home button. I know he pressed it 3 times. So we took a selfie. It’s a really nice picture of the road below us! Haha!

Up next! Viva Las Vegas!

Rocks can be pretty too!

I am feeling a little bit behind in my blog. It is hard to get caught up with the internet being so slow in the campgrounds. Sometimes I can only load about 3 pictures a day. So I have tried staying up late and that doesn’t work either. So I have to  hit the Barnes and Noble or Starbucks in town to load pictures. I consider it a win either way. Plus it’s always fun to people watch!

Let's go to Sedona!
Let’s go to Sedona!

While we were in Williams we realized that we were a day trip away from Sedona, AZ. I had heard that the drive was beautiful and I love a good drive, so off we went. We were not disappointed, the drive on 89A is spectacular!

This is 89 A
This is 89 A

You start at the top and go all the way down. It drops a thousand feet. Our water bottles were collapsing on themselves due to the pressure. It was pretty cool!

The drive winds all the way down here.
The drive winds all the way down here.

On 89A, you can stop to hike, play at Sliding Rock State Park, go camping, or just stop and take pictures.

Thanks to the hood of the truck for holding my camera so I could get a family picture
Thanks to the hood of the truck for holding my camera so I could get a family picture
We started to get into the Red Rock! Beautiful!
We started to get into the Red Rock! Beautiful!
This one scared Mike just a bit! I might have gotten a little close but it made for a cool picture!
This one scared Mike just a bit! I might have gotten a little close but it made for a cool picture!
It is so much to take in that your brain has a hard time keeping up. Well my brain anyways.
It is so much to take in that your brain has a hard time keeping up. Well my brain anyways. Welcome to Sedona.


When we get into these towns we never know if we are going to find any parking. Parking garages scare Mike and frankly we never know if we are really going to fit. Today God had us a spot right as we pulled into town and it was FREE! Free parking is hard to come by we are finding.

It was still tight but we fold up the mirrors and go.
It was still tight but we fold up the mirrors and go. See us all the way down there.


In my own opinion, Sedona is very touristy! There are a lot of shops that sell Indian stuff and t-shirts. It really reminded me of Gatlinburg. But it’s the scenery behind the shops that makes Sedona a really cool place.


Every time you walked out of a store this is what you would see. I loved it! Of course there is the Pink Jeep Plaza. The Pink Jeep tours take you through the Red Rock Park and you can climb rocks in pink Jeeps.

They are really pink
They are really pink

We are being picky about what kind of tours we spend our money on and nobody really wanted to do it, so we didn’t do it. Sometimes just getting into town and sightseeing is plenty.

Well we couldn’t come all this way and not eat, right? If you look past the pink Jeep, you will see the Cowboy Club. I read that they had some different types of food and I thought it would be fun to try it. Not everybody shares my enthusiasm!

He knows he isn't getting chicken fingers.
He knows he isn’t getting chicken fingers.

This place was full of cowboys.

That's my cowboy!
That’s my cowboy!

Anyways, all the waiters had holsters with guns, cowboy hats and tight jeans. (Not the sparkly kind that Luke Bryan wears though).  Our cowboy was named John and he recommended the rattlesnake sausage. They had a sampler platter so we just decided to go with that and a few other things, just in case the sampler didn’t work out.IMG_4300So here we have onion rings, chicken wings, and our sampler. In the bucket are cactus fries, with the rattlesnake beside it, and buffalo skewers in a cilantro flatbread. IMG_4302First I am not a big fan of sausage but I really liked the flavor of this. It came with a tangy dipping sauce and wow, it was yummy. The cactus fries were not so good though. My favorite was the cilantro flatbread and Thai peanut dipping sauce. ( I bet you didn’t know cowboys ate Thai peanut sauce). I was proud of Micheal for eating rattlesnake that day!

After our snack, that’s what the boys called it, we headed back down the other side of the street to look at more Indian stuff and decided to head back to Williams.

Just one more of downtown.
Not a bad view if you are staying at the Best Western!


It isn’t a long distance from Sedona to Williams but because the road is so curvy it takes longer. So by the time we got back the boys were hungry, that’s where Mike always come to the rescue!

Grill master!
Grill master! We do have a grill table but the wind was so bad at times that Mike has to grill from the truck to block the wind.


The next morning we decided to lay low and hang around Williams. We heard about a really nice golf course so we went.

Elephant Rocks
Elephant Rocks

This was a beautiful course! Not really busy either, so it made for a relaxing afternoon.

San Fransisco Peaks behind him. Love the snow and we are in shorts.
San Fransisco Peaks behind him. Love the snow and we are in shorts.
Love my boys!
Love my boys!

Our time in Williams was great! I think it is a great home base for the Grand Canyon.

Next stop, Boulder City, NV.

Same to you!
Same to you, Tumble weed Willie!

Whoa, now that’s a big hole!

DSC_0770When I was a little girl my parents suggested taking a road trip to see the Grand Canyon. I was not to thrilled about going and might have called it a big hole in the earth. Well now here I am looking at this big hole in the earth and wow! I had to tell my brother how sorry I was for ruining this experience for him so many years ago.


We get to the gate to pay for a pass, which is good for 7 days. It was very busy, especially for a Tuesday.

Everybody in America was here....well almost.
Everybody in America was here….well almost.

When we got into the park we noticed people were parking everywhere. I kept driving and we finally came to a marketplace parking lot. The marketplace serves as a grocery store/gift store for the campground. We went in and bought our Christmas ornament (we try to buy one at every location) and Mike and I got matching Grand Canyon T-shirts. (My grandparents matched all the time so I think it’s ok). After we bought our souvenirs we headed down the trail

Just one of the many trails
Just one of the many trails

and came to the Grand Canyon National Headquarters.

Everybody is all smiles at the beginning of an adventure
Everybody is all smiles at the beginning of an adventure


This is where we had to ask for directions. You would think finding the biggest hole in the earth is easy but it wasn’t. So we were directed down another trail about 1/4 of a mile.

This looks like the right trail.
This looks like the right trail.


Walking up to the Grand Canyon is like nothing I have ever seen before. It is so quiet and still that it doesn’t seem real.

Wow! Looks like a painting from God!


The rim trail runs along the canyon and from where we were parked, we had the option to go left towards the historic buildings or right back to the visitors center. We went left.

El Tovar Hotel
El Tovar Hotel

This is the El Tovar Hotel. It was opened in January 1905. This was a very poplar destination back then and with the ease of riding the train, the canyon became a popular destination. In fact the hotel became so busy they had to expand the hotel. Theodore Roosevelt visited the hotel in 1906 and 1913. Another building we came to was lovely. This is Verkamp’s gift shop.

and this place.

Mr. Verkamp came to the Grand Canyon in 1889. He set up a tent and sold his goods. Business wasn’t good so he packed up and headed back to Flagstaff. He came back in 1905, built this building and opened in 1906. He made $4.98 on his first day and was very happy. He moved his family up and they lived in the apartment above the business. Not a bad place to have a cup of coffee in the morning if you ask me!

As we continued to walk we came to the Bright Angel Trail. This trail is 9.5 miles on way. Some warning came with this trail like flash floods, dehydration, and loose footing. We had to check it out.

It should also say, watch where you step!
It should also say, watch where you step!

Little did I know, Micheal is not a fan of heights. This trail does not have any rails or fences. Most of the canyon is open and you could just fall off if you weren’t careful.

See Micheal on the left? That is where he stayed for the hike.
See Micheal on the left? That is where he stayed for the hike.
A very cool trail but it isn't going to be explored by the Patricks
A very cool trail but it isn’t going to be explored by the Patricks

We did walk down some of the trail. You get such different views at every turn it was hard not to want to explore. Well, some of us wanted to explore.

Some one is not happy with his situation
Some one is not happy with his situation

We didn’t walk but maybe 1/2 mile and came back up. I don’t think I would like to walk the entire trail but maybe a donkey ride would be fun.

Now my other man is a little more daring when it comes to walking on the edge but thats where you can really see everything.

You have to watch this one!
You have to watch this one!
The Patricks 2015
The Patricks 2015


So I really recommend everyone to go see the “hole” at some point. At every turn there are place markers that try to tell you how this canyon was carved from water running through it for millions of years. I think it is more amazing to know that God created this canyon in an instant. He said it and there it was!




Hello, Arizona

Welcome to Arizona
Welcome to Arizona

We have stopped at every welcome center along the way and this is the first time I have gotten a picture of all of us. A sweet man offered to take our picture and I didn’t turn him down! The Arizona sign is behind the pink tree. You can see the red and yellow from the sign.

As you pull into the visitors center.
As you pull into the visitors center. So big!

We were a bit far from Williams, AZ, so  I looked on the map to see if there was a place we could stop for the night and not have to drive so far.  That’s when I  saw the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert. That sounded interesting, so we made a reservation for one night in Holbrook, AZ at the OK RV park.

Can you see the sign?
Can you see the sign?

This campground is exactly that, OK. It was safe and just what we needed for one night. We unhooked and Mike had some work to do so Micheal and I headed back east 20 miles or so to the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert.

Nothing but dirt!
Nothing but dirt!
The first stop did not disappoint

We got to the park, stopped at the visitors center and realized that you drive about 18 miles through both The Painted Desert and into The Petrified Forest. There are places to stop off and take pictures or go on small hikes along the way.DSC_0424 We started in the Painted Desert. I have never seen anything like it.

The first stop
The first stop



As you keep driving the colors start to change.


Such pretty colors
Such pretty colors


Then we get to The Petrified Forest. I could not capture in a picture what these logs are like so I will try to explain. (with Micheals help of course)

A petrified log.
A petrified log.

It looks like it has bark, right. That may have been bark at one time but it is now smooth rock. The inside looks like crystals or quartz rock. It is truly one of the weirdest things I have ever seen! We couldn’t stop touching it. Of course they want you to believe that it took millions of years for this to happen but we know the real truth.

The come in all sizes.
The come in all sizes.
This is called the Long Logs
This is the trail to the Long Logs.

After an hour at the park, we head back to Holbrook to get Mike for some food. You have to feed Micheal to keep him happy. I read about a place on Route 66 that was the inspiration for the movie Cars. I love that movie and luckily for us the restaurant got great reviews.

Welcome to Joe and Aggies!
Welcome to Joe and Aggies!

This restaurant has been on Route 66 since 1943. It is owned by a man named Stanley. (Anyone remember the name Stanley from Cars?) John Lasseter came through town and stopped by to eat. He met the owner and was inspired so Stanley became a character in Cars.

Joe and Aggie memory book
John Lasseter on one of his many visits.

The owner’s son was working the night we were there and he was so welcoming, like we had come to his house to eat. They showed us all the memoriablia that Pixar had sent and were more than happy for us to look through their scrapbook and their memory wall. IMG_4279 IMG_4280


It also helped that the food was good too! I had the fry bread filled with meat and cheese and the boys had chicken fried steak with fries. So the sign was true when it said American and Mexican food.

Route 66 neon!
Route 66 neon!

Holbrook also is responsible for inspiring the Cozy Cone Motel in the movie Cars with this fabulous Route 66 hotel, The Wigwam Hotel.

This was the sixth wigwam hotel built on Route 66
This was the sixth wigwam hotel built on Route 66

Now funded by the government, this hotel is only one of three original wigwam hotels. There are antique cars permenetaly parked in front of the wigwams to give it that special Route 66 feel.

Two old cars
This car looked like the one from The Mask with Jim Carrey….it was called the loaner.
This is the old charm of Route 66 that I had been looking for.
This is the old charm of Route 66 that I had been looking for.


The next morning we hook back up and head out for Williams, AZ. The landscape changed much to our delight and went from dirt to trees and some grass. Oh how we have been missing the trees and the grass!

Flat and dirty, with the exception of the beautiful San Fransisco Peaks in the background.
Flat and dirty, with the exception of the beautiful San Fransisco Peaks in the background.

We kept our eyes set on the mountains and kept driving….

They are getting closer.
They are getting closer.
and now we have bushes!
and now we have bushes!


We finally arrived in Williams, AZ, the Gateway to the Grand Canyon…

That's what the sign said anyways.
That’s what the sign said anyways and see the trees!

Williams is about 60 miles south of the Grand Canyon. Due to Mike working on this trip (you didn’t think we were just on a long vacation, did you?) we have to have Wifi and Grand Canyon is not the place to stay for that. Anyways, we got to our campground and we were very pleased. The Railside RV Ranch is owned by two delightful people, who will go out of their way to help you. Think of the Four Seasons with concierge service, that’s the service I am talking about.

The name says it all
The name says it all

This campground is most definitely rail side. The Grand Canyon Railway runs past the campground twice a day and it is always on schedule. The train leaves the Grand Canyon Hotel at 9:00 and returns at 5:00 everyday.

You can't miss the train. We did stand and wave at the people going by one day.
You can’t miss the train. We did stand and wave at the people going by one day.

The owners of this campground will stop what they are doing and go out on the porch and wave to the train passengers as they are leaving.

I saw the owner waving fro her apartment one morning on the top floor
I saw the owner waving from her apartment one morning on the top floor

This campground also had a free shuttle to and from town. When you got ready to come back you would call and he would come pick you up. Also, from 8-10 every morning there was a continental breakfast and waffle makers for fresh waffles. We helped ourselves to that a couple of mornings. I told you this was like the Four Seasons.



Williams is a nice little town where you can park your car and wonder around looking in all the shops, or you can eat at one of the many restaurants in town.

Little Italian restaurant
Little Italian restaurant







If your lucky you might even meet Elvis!

Love me tender...
Love me tender…

Williams is full of history and has a great visitors center/museum. If you ever get out that way and you don’t mind staying in a town with no Target, this is your place.

Up next we take a visit to Sedona and the biggest hole in the United States!