Thursday, October 15, 2009

We are home! Great trip, wonderful experience, but came home tired and ready to sleep in our own bed. Don't know why anyone feels that they have to go overseas to see beautiful sights when this country has everything you could ever want. This is ONE FABULOUS COUNTRY and everyone needs to see more of it!
Thanks for sharing our trip with us and hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. We'll have to try this again in a couple years. Can't wait!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Texas and Homeward Bound

We've been visiting friends in DFW since Friday. We stayed in Grandbury at good friends, Becky and Charlie's, resort. Charlie has spent the past 3 years renovating his guest house right on Lake Granbury. It's gorgeous and we all voted....It's a 5 star accomodation! The best thing is that we got to spend time with them, too. Mike K worked with both of them for 12 years at GM in Arlington (right between Dallas and Ft Worth) so they are very special to us.

Also spent Saturday with Ann and Rick, our very good friends in Arlington, too. Mike T, Mike K, Rick and I toured the new Cowboy stadium and were blown away. It is huge. The tv screens hanging from the ceiling are 60 yards long and 7 stories high and valued at $40 million, $5 milliion more than the old Cowboy stadium cost to build about 30 years ago. The new stadium was $1.3 billion. I like football, but.....???? I know it was planned before the economy went bust but I find it a bit much. But that's Jerry Jones and the Cowboys and I still root for them.

We had a great time in Texas. Enjoyed gearing down and relaxing with friends. The only problem was that we did not see the sun the entire time we were there. In fact, we still haven't seen it. I'm assuming it still exists.

We are in Vicksburg, MS tonight and should be home by Wednesday, if all goes as planned.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Carlsbad Caverns and onward

We actually went into the cave this morning. We went down 750' in an elevator and took the 1 1/4 mile self-guided tour through the Big Room. There were interesting formations everywhere, with some areas looking like a group of Christmas trees, some looking like an audience of small people, and a lot looking like the Travelocity gnome. Of course, you already know that the growths from the bottom are called stalagmites and the ones from the top are stalactites but did you know that when they meet together they are columns and all the formations are collectively called speliothems ? You learn something everyday!

The rangers told us that the bats we saw last night took 2 hours to come out of the cave. That's a lot of bats. He did tell us that some of them were returning to the cave and he didn't know if the same ones were turning around and going back again. A storm was coming and they may have sensed it.

We drove across the Permian basin of Texas this afternoon where there are oil rigs everywhere. Saw many more of the wind turbines again. It seems that they are everywhere except NC. Also saw huge fields of cotton and endless fields of what we later found out was maize, a form of corn. All in all, today was a B O R I N G ride. You know it's boring when you get excited about maize.

We are in Abilene tonight with plans to go to a suburb of Ft Worth called Granbury tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

El Paso and Bats

We took a short tour of El Paso today including the University of Texas at El Paso, who happens to play in Conference USA with Marshall. The campus is surprisingly pretty with consistent architecture. Most of the buildings were adobe with brick or stone trim, many of them with tile trim pieces. Nice. Also saw the Sun Bowl where they host an annual bowl game. Very nice stadium.

We arrived at Carlsbad Caverns around 4:30 but unfortunately it was too late to go inside. Our timing is impeccable. We'll be there tomorrow morning!! (Warning: If bats creep you out, go to the next paragraph!) We stayed to see the bats come out of the cave opening. They do that everyday around sunset. When I say bats, I mean 300,000 to 500,000 bats. It looked like swarms of locusts streaming out. It took at least 20 minutes for them all to get out. In fact, they were still streaming out when they left. The ranger said they can take as long as 2 hours. And this was out of an opening that looked to be at least 15 feet in diameter. It was fascinating in a creepy sort of way. The skin on my back is still quivering.

After touring the cave tomorrow we are heading to Dallas.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Saguaro National Park and Tombstone

Howdy Pardners,

We started our day going through Saguaro National Park which consists of rolling hills covered with various types of cacti. A half mile trip through it would have been more than sufficient but the trail was a one way trail and we were trapped. It was interesting but not my cup of tea. I've had an aversion to cactus ever since I had the "incident". Nuff said.

We have been looking for a "western" town and finally found the closest we will probably get. Tombstone, AZ (as in the movie, Tombstone). It is a restored old west town, famous for the gunfight at the OK Corral in 1881, which is reenacted at 2 PM every day, exactly 45 min prior to our arrival. (Darn that cactus park!) We had seen the Boothill Graveyard where many of those killed in that gunfight were buried. We saw a few of the cowboys who had been in the reenactment, including US Marshal Wyatt Earp, with whom we had our pictures taken. We also ate in Big Nose Kate's Saloon, a rather raucous looking place. Big Nose Kate was a girlfriend of Doc Holiday along with multiple other men, if you know what I mean.

On our way out of Tombstone, we were stopped by the Border Patrol. He saw that Mike K had on a Marshall hat and commented about Randy Moss. Go Herd!

Traveling through New Mexico tomorrow. Not sure what where, though!! Story of our trip!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sedona and Phoenix

After leaving Flagstaff, we drove a scenic route down toward Sedona. We saw some gorgeous scenery. Sedona is a beautiful place, located in a canyon surrounded by huge red rock formations. A charming, artsy community high enough to have moderate weather but not high enough to be overly cold. (So they say)

We drove through Phoenix, stopping at the Capitol. I certainly don't want to offend any Arizonians (Arizonites?) but their capitol doesn't compare to any that we have seen, especially West Virginia's. The original building is now only for show and they do their governing in a building that looks like a 60's office building.

We are in Tucson tonight, planning to go to the Saguaro National Park tomorrow. It's named after the cacti you see in the Roadrunner cartoons and lots of westerns. You know exactly what I'm talking about, don't you? We just have to watch out for rattlesnakes and stinging insects (such as scorpions) that the signs keep warning us about.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The GRAND Canyon

After a harrowingly windy (gusts up to 60 mph) drive, Connie got us to the Grand Canyon where we peeled her fingers off the steering wheel. It took all three of us to do that! We can't complain about the weather we've had, though. We've seen rain one day and that was at Mt Rushmore, eons ago. Now we see that Wyoming and Montana are going to be hit with a lot of snow, even closing the interstates. We are sooooo lucky.

Saying that the Grand Canyon is breathtaking is an understatement although it really does take your breath away (the height alone scares the bejeebers out of you). If you can visit one place in this country, this should be it. Absolutely spectacular. So beautiful that pictures do not do it justice. We spent all afternoon there, driving from one overlook to the next. As sunset approached we looked up and there was the full moon rising above the canyon. God put an exclamation point on his work. Stunning.

We're in Flagstaff, AZ tonight. Not sure where the wind will blow us tomorrow.