Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 4: Cadillac Ranch, TX to Great Sand Dunes National Park, CO

We slept in Amarillo, and got up early to head west. This was our big driving day. So, Ant Farm's Cadillac Ranch is just outside the city limits, and we decided to stop by it. I was shocked by the police presence and just sheer number of people there! It turned out to be Larry Frederick's Life Across America ride through Amarillo. He is a retired policeman who was injured in the line of duty and saved by blood transfusions. He rode across the United States on his bicycle as a nationwide blood drive. Please, go on out and donate blood or plasma and support this great cause!

We also decided to support Tavolini ;)

We headed west...on super, super back roads. I have always been a fan of paper maps, AAA maps to be specific. (Rand McNally, I'm sorry--but you are not nearly as accurate) I do have to say, over the course of this trip, I found that GPS is even more dedicated to finding rural routes than I ever was with my box of AAA maps. What can I say---I'm impressed!

Fine dining outside the Valero station. Tavo opted for deli meat and some cheese...

..and I went for my Grandpa's favorite fishing snack--sardines in hot sauce ;)

Gratuitous New Mexico shot in honor of Christo. Yep, we were in your home state for a couple minutes ;)

Then we hit our destination, Great Sand Dunes National Park in Mosca, Colorado. So beautiful! They backed up to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, which are the southernmost subrange of the Rocky Mountains.

It's bear country, and the ranger SCARED me to death by saying that bears can tell what coolers are and that they have food in them....even if they're in my car! (lol......I think he was pulling my leg??!!)
Our view. Can you believe this?? I really was amazed. Okay--I'll be honest. I kind of wanted to stop and just stay here for the rest of the week. It was THAT beautiful. Seriously.

(Only drawback? No showers. We found this out AFTER playing in the dunes and hiking all over and getting really filthy and sweaty. Well, there are always baby wipes...)

Our view. OUR VIEW!!! We fell asleep and woke up to this!!!

After setting up camp, we went hiking all over the dunes. This is so fun!

Then we went back to our campsite. Camping and food to come!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Road Trip: Days 2-3: Arkansas and Oklahoma

(Shameless self promotion--you can vote for me on the right. Project Food Buzz--my post is below. Thanks!)

We stopped off in Little Rock to see the Clinton Library and to have a bit of lunch.

Daily schedules of every single day he was in office! Wow, I will stop complaining about long days forever.

Then we continued on to Hot Springs for the night. What a cool town--it looks European, almost--all these very old bathhouses and cobblestone in between mountains. Very beautiful!

We opted for the Happy Hollow. This was a very quaint little motel just off the strip...but there were a LOT of daddy long legs. That aside, loved the 60's look and the box of candies that came with the room.

HOT! hot hot hot hot hot!!!

Ouch! ouch! ouch! Sooooooo hot! (can people really immerse themselves in this? This was insanely, scaldingly hot...)

The next day, we went up to Mount Ida, and dug crystals. Fun!

Actually, I dare say this is one of the nicest outhouses I have visited ;) I think it was composting toilet, though I am not positive.

We left Arkansas and stopped off in Oklahoma City to check out the Oklahoma City Memorial. I was surprised to realize that this happened 15 years ago. I'm from Michigan, and remember that we went up north coincidentally on the weekend they found Timothy McVeigh. We were on M-53 and the whole road (this is rural farmland) was being blocked by cops and such.

Great memorial--the chairs and the museum reflection really hit me.

And then, we drove off into the sunset.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Road Trip--Day One: The South and Memphis

Here we are, back home for more than a week (!) and I'm finally posting. There is something overwhelming about posting a trip once you get back--if you remember, I've always been a bit delayed (i.e. Brazil, Puerto Rico, Colombia...) So, I'm actually doing quite well here, I dare say. I think the only time I posted right away was New York...and that is totally out of respect to Christo. Otherwise, I am lazy.

We decided to rent a car as opposed to using either of our slightly (or quite) elderly vehicles. I remember with astounding clarity having to hitchhike or catch a greyhound multiple times due to vehicle breakdown. So, that settled, look at what yuppies we are! We rented a Prius! (Enterprise--shockingly good price and they didn't pay me to say that)

All packed up! (Not one or two.. THREE coolers resided in there...along with all of our "blue" stuff. Huh, must be a popular shade)

Driving across the beautiful Southeastern United States. We left Georgia, and hit Alabama and Mississippi on our way to Tennessee. We stuck to the back roads for the majority of our trip--we just used interstates through major cities and late at night.

I so wish we had gone to the Soul Patrol Anniversary!

This ain't just whistlin' Dixie...

The Mechanized Cavalry!

We rolled into Memphis as the sun was setting. Had enough time to visit Sun Studios, then take a quick swim at our hotel pool :)

Then we got all dolled up (I'm wearing flip flops with my thrift store gown) and hit Beale Street!

Next morning, we did a quick stop at Graceland.

(so, we may have opted to park at KFC and walk as opposed to the $15 Graceland parking fee...but we looked GOOD doing so)

Then we headed towards Arkansas!