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Category: Route 66

I did not move to California

Despite what my blog might lead you to believe, Joel and I did not drive down Route 66 and decide to move onto the beach where there is no internet. No, as much as we would have loved to go there and never come back to chilly Illinois the thought of not having internet or, you know, money was enough to draw us back to the good old land of Lincoln.*

But somehow after finishing that part of the trip it was hard to write anything else. Our next stop on our journey was my sister’s house to see her new (as in 3 days old) baby. They actually have internet too but I couldn’t stop myself from nomming on my brand new nephew’s cheeks long enough to bother posting.

And then I was behind.

And then we kept driving and seeing amazing stuff and having the most wonderful of Epic Road Trips.

And I didn’t want to write again until I posted about visiting with them.

And I didn’t want to skip posting about the other cool places we saw.

And then suddenly we were home and I was kind of exhausted and had to unpack.

And that’s how my blog fell into a giant black hole and never left Santa Monica.

I actually do love blogging and so I have so much guilt over letting it go for this long. There have been so many times where I just wanted to sit down and write but I felt like I couldn’t because then I would miss posting about the rest of my trip.

But suddenly it’s September and I haven’t updated anything since June. It’s just been too long.

So I’m just posting. Summer is over and it was a good one. It started Memorial day with our Epic Road Trip and it ended with Labor day and a whole three days of blissful nothingness.

We stayed home all weekend. We played board games. We watched movies. We put together a puzzle.

We just enjoyed each other and relaxed.

It’s unfortunate that I didn’t document all the fun that happened between those two holidays but it’s high time I started posting again because I miss it.

I am committed to writing more thoughts on my blog. It can be hard because I know it’s not only people who live in my computer that read my words here. People who I actually see. In real life. Will read this. ::gulp::

I think it will be worth it though. I just have to not allow myself to talk myself out of blogging. I have time. I have things to say. Blogging makes me happy and I need more happy in my life. I’m taking my happy back and this is the first step. I plan to eventually back date posts about the rest of the trip so if you subscribe to my RSS feed you won’t miss those.

So, ::dusts off bloggy type cobwebs:: Hi. I’m back.

*California does, in fact, have internet so I’m not sure why I’ve implied it does not. I’m actually pretty sure even their beaches have wifi. California is just that awesome.

 

Final stretch

Mountains and desert and ocean! Oh, and traffic. Lots and lots of traffic.

The Route 66 portion of Epic Road 2011 is finished and of course it was an epic day.

We started out bright and early on a winding mountain road. We weren’t quite early enough to catch the sunrise but the views were still incredible.

It was quite an adventure. Not something I’d attempt at night but during the day it was definitely worth braving.

The tiny little town of Oatman is home to a bunch of wild burros. They’re the offspring of burros left behind when the gold diggers moved on. They didn’t have any use for them anymore so they left them to fend for themselves. Apparently they’re doing pretty well. They came right up to the car to beg for food.

Once we got through the mountains and entered California we had a nice scenic drive through the Mojave desert. The views were beautiful and there we some fun quirky things along the route.

Graffiti! No we didn’t add our mark. Still never bought any spray paint.

Shoe tree! Apparently whenever a tree grows in the desert people like to throw shoes at it. I didn’t have any shoes I was willing to part with.

My favorite roadside attraction of the day was the bottle cactus ranch.

We had the pleasure of meeting the artist behind the ranch, Elmer Long. He was so friendly. He came out and when we complimented him on his work he said he was still working on it. He also nonchalantly mentioned how the “British TV” had just been out the previous week. Then he regaled us with stories of the cabin he just bought and how the insurance company was making him put a new roof on, among other various repairs.

We chatted for several minutes and I think he could have talked all day. He was just such a nice guy and seemed to love having visitors. The bottle cactus art was neat to see but his friendly chit-chat made it extra special.

It was a good thing we had that nice little break because the last stretch of our trip was spent sitting at red light after red light. Good old LA traffic. I know I’m not the first to bemoan the traffic in the greater LA area but seriously, it took us 4 1/2 hours to go the last 50 miles. Four and a half hours.

That meant that we finally got to the pier and the end of the route just after dark.

End of the trail! Yay!

Family photo on the pier.

A beautiful end to an incredible trip. I can’t believe it’s over. It was quite the adventure and I’m so glad we did it. I’ll write more of my final thoughts and some pointers in case you want to take your own trip down Route 66 in the future. Hint, I highly recommend it.

Oh so grand

Today was basically devoted to the Grand Canyon. How could it not be? One of the natural wonders of the world deserves at least a day. Of course we could have spent a week there and not seen and done everything. The day we spent there was definitely spectacular though.

The Grand Canyon was something I’ve wanted to see my whole life. I’ve been to Arizona and the vicinity more times than I can count and have never been. I’ve always thought that was beyond wrong. I have now officially corrected it. My life feels a bit more complete as a result.

I assume that if you grew up on planet earth you’ve seen a million pictures of this wonder. It doesn’t disappoint, it is every bit as breathtaking as it appears in pictures.

But I know what you really came here for is to see the pictures of us. Right?

Just say yes.

Well good because there are a bunch. And since this is my blog I’m posting my favorites. All of them. Be forewarned, there are a lot. But I saved the best for last.

Just after our first glimpse. Looking at this picture I can still feel the awe I felt as we came around the corner and the canyon came into view. My stomach dropped and all I could do was gasp. Absolutely stunning.

Just chilling on a rock. You know, at the Grand Canyon.

One thing I couldn’t get over was how close you’re allowed to get to the edge. No rails or bars prevent you from just walking off.

Or being an idiot and jumping off. I wonder how many tourists have plummeted to their death because they wanted to get a cool photo.

Not these idiots. At least not today.

Funny story about that picture. We clearly have not played with our camera enough because we could. not. get the timing down. What you don’t see are the 15 outtake photos of us in various stages of landing. Finally some dude came up and offered to take the picture for us. I think he was just tired of my sighs of exasperation.

Family photo.

Fact: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are more delicious at the Grand Canyon. Look it up.

Gratuitous close up of me.

And finally, the hands down best picture ever taken at the Grand Canyon.

Our love? A world wonder all its own.

 

A picture worth almost dying for

Today was our shortest driving distance of the trip so far. That and the fact that a good chunk of original Route 66 is gone between Albuquerque and Flagstaff meant that we spent a decent amount of time on the interstate and made fast time.

That’s not to say that we didn’t have a wonderful time. We made sure to stop along the way for some photo ops.

Owl Rock. Bet you can’t guess why it’s called that.


Tiny little double bridge. I wouldn’t recommend driving through it with anything much taller than our little Accent.

Who can tell me what movie this is in?

The highlight of the day was definitely the Petrified Forest National Park.

Unbelievably gorgeous!

The only downside was it was unbelievably windy.

It was too hard to keep my eyes open long enough to get a picture.

Phoebe was not impressed either. I’m pretty sure if I had let go she would have blown away completely. I’m not really even exaggerating.

Despite almost getting blown over by the gusts of wind I braved going out on a ledge for some pictures.

I didn’t realize Joel was taking my picture but I’m so glad he did. This may be one of my favorite pictures of me ever.

Almost getting blown off a cliff to my death for a photo? Worth it.

The only bummer of the day was trying to visit the meteor crater only to find out it’s completely fenced in. You have to go through a visitor center to see it and no dogs are allowed. Obviously leaving Phoebe wasn’t an option so this was about all we saw of it.

That mound in the distance? That’s it.

In the long run it’s not that big of a deal. Having Phoebe with us has been so fun. I wouldn’t trade this time with her for my own personal meteor crater.

Not that I’d know what to do with a meteor crater if I had one.

Probably charge admission.

But allow dogs of course.

Tomorrow we get to see the Grand Canyon, which is the site I’m probably most excited to see on this whole trip. I just hope the wind calms down so I can get some decent pictures.

You know, looking at the camera with my eyes open.

And maybe not getting blown off the edge. That’d be good too.

Why freaking not

Today was the epitome of taking advantage of every moment and not letting anything pass by.

We got up early and started the day with fresh made waffles courtesy of our motel. Nom.

Our first stop was the Bug Farm. We almost missed it but we turned around and I’m really glad we did.

It’s the VW Bug version of Cadillac Ranch. I love me some VW Beetles. Obviously it was extremely windy again. However this time no whales, humans or half buried cars were flashed.

Then it was on to Cadillac Ranch for more buried car fun.

We should have thought to bring some spray paint. Not something we keep in the trunk of the car. I know, you’re shocked.

Love him so.

Phoebe was decidedly not impressed. Her face here cracks. me. up.

We passed the midpoint!

As we entered New Mexico Route 66 turned into a dirt road. We debated taking the interstate for all of two minutes but where’s the adventure in that?

Best part of dirt roads? Being able to stop whenever you want to pose for a mini photo shoot.

By far the highlight of the day though was when we reached Santa Rosa. I was looking through our little guide and noticed something called Blue Hole that was a little off Route 66. It was described as a large well that’s 81 feet deep with crystal blue waters. It sounded neat so we decided to detour a little.

When we got there we realized that not only does it look neat but it’s actually a popular free place on a hot summer day. Anyone can just jump in. Now the water is seriously 64 degrees so it’s not exactly a swimming hole but there was a steady stream of jumpers.

(That old dude about to jump? Not Joel. Or me. In case you were wondering)

Joel and I wandered around with Phoebe and took a few pictures. I must have had a look on my face because Joel turned to me and said, “You want to jump in, don’t you?”

I so did.

However, I didn’t feel like being the only soaking wet one so I made Joel agree to jump in too.  Joel didn’t really want to because he was nervous about his swimming skills. Since there were two lifeguards on duty though I told him that was no excuse. Plus, I knew he’d really love it once he did it.

I think deep down he knew it too because it didn’t take much convincing before we were back at our car pulling on our bathing suits.

Unfortunately we couldn’t go at the same time because we didn’t have anywhere safe to leave Phoebe. I made him jump first because I was a little afraid he’d back out if I had already jumped. Once it was my turn I was surprised that my legs shook a little as I got out onto the ledge. From up there it looks way scarier than it does on the ground. The scariness was nothing though compared to the icy shock of the water. I’m pretty sure I’ve never felt water that cold in my life. It took my breath away.

Totally worth it though.

And just like that we were on our way again. I can’t believe I even considered not jumping for a minute because it was a little inconvenient to change into my swim suit in the car. Or that I didn’t want to get my hair wet. Good grief.

We jumped off a high rock into ice-cold water. Why? Because why not?

And that’s exactly what this trip is about. Why freaking not.

More than OK

Remember how I mentioned we were making our own rules for this trip? Well shortly after we braved the sidewalk portion of Route 66 at dusk we decided to hop on the interstate and jump to Tulsa for the night. We then doubled back a bit this morning to visit The Blue Whale of Catoosa.

Because how can you miss a giant blue whale in the middle of Oklahoma?

I don’t know if you can tell by this picture but it was extremely windy. I originally just had the dress on but added the leggings after I stepped out of the car and promptly flashed my undies to Mr. Blue here. Maybe that’s why he’s smiling…

I may be cheesing it up but Phoebe’s hair doesn’t lie. It was windy.

There was so much to see between Catoosa and Oklahoma City that it took us almost 5 hours to make our way between the two cities. We just kept stopping to snap photos.*

At one point we stepped out of the car to take a picture of a bridge. I just walked along the side of the road like a normal human. Joel on the other hand was tired of sitting so he ran along the dirt beside me. He happened to look down just in time to awkwardly trip/jump over a giant fire ant hill.

Suddenly he decided that I had the right idea and walked along the side of the road, eyes on the ground.

Once we got a little ways outside of Oklahoma City the scenery was mostly this:

Or some slight varient.

The most excitement we had was the constant zig-zag game old Route 66 likes to play with I-40. Drive. Stop sign. Turn right. Bridge. Stop sign. Turn left. Drive. Stop sign. Turn left. Bridge. Stop sign. Turn right. Drive.

Etc.

I’ve never seen so many dead end roads in my life.

It kept me, as the navigator, on my toes anyway.

After what felt like forever we finally made it to Texas. Our plan was to make it to Amarillo but since we had so much fun at the beginning of the day we didn’t get quite that far. When the sun started going down we decided to just find the nearest hotel and get an early start tomorrow. No point in driving if you can’t see anything.

Tomorrow we hope to make it to Albuquerque by night. If we don’t it means we had too much fun along the way.

And that is more than ok with me.

*In case anyone cares to get picky those photos may or may not have been taken in between Catoosa and Oklahoma City. I don’t remember exactly but they were some of my favorites so there.

Joel drives on the sidewalk

As I hold on and scream….

Just kidding.

About me screaming that is. He actually intended to drive on a very old portion of Route 66 that’s known as the sidewalk highway. Had we not had to make a few detours due to some poor navigating ::cough:: I’m blaming the map ::cough:: we would have arrived at this portion a little sooner which would have been ideal. We made it at the last possible moments of daylight though and it was neat to see.

It’s all about the journey

Hm, blogging… let’s see if I remember how to do this.

First of all, thank all of you for your kind comments here and on Twitter about my dad. Things could have been so much worse than what they were. He’s not all better yet but he is recovering and for that I’m so thankful.

So much else has happened since I fell off the blogging wagon I don’t even know where to start so I’m just going to skip to current time. I may eventually try to recap things but my current adventure is way too exciting to bother with that right now.

Yesterday Joel, Phoebe and I began Epic Road Trip 2011. We’re in the process of completing number 27 on my 30 by 30 list. Driving across the country on Route 66.

Or getting our kicks on Route 66 as they say.

This is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve been on more road trips than I can count. They’ve always been to get somewhere in particular, as most road trips tend to be. Because they’re destination focused it doesn’t leave time for the random things in between.

Like the word’s largest rocking chair.

Every time I’ve taken a road trip I’ve always said that someday I want to take a trip where I get to stop at every strange and stupid thing. Just for the heck of it.

This is that trip.

And it’s even better than I hoped it would be.

It’s unbelievable how true flexibility makes things so much more enjoyable. Any time-table? Ours. Any rules or guidelines? Ours. If we decide something looks cool, we stop. If not, we don’t. If there’s a particularly dull stretch of road we may hop on the interstate for a few miles to save a few minutes that we can later use on something interesting.

We stopped at that ridiculously large rocking chair.

I kissed Mater.*

We’ve laughed and talked and joked and dreamed out loud and just had the most amazing time ever.

There’s no rush to be anywhere because here is exactly where we’re going.

I often have a hard time living in the moment because I’m so focused on my goals and where I want to be in the future. This trip is exactly what I need to remind me that there’s really nothing more important than right now because right now is my life.

It’s all about the journey.

*Oh hi Disney/Pixar, obviously I meant a Mater-like tow truck. Don’t sue me.

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