Friday, February 28, 2014


It sure is tough to write this blog after the trip! We arrived safe and sound back in Oakdale on Monday afternoon (2/24). Yes, there is a LOT of snow. Yes, it is very cold and windy. Yes, we are happy to be home! No new baby - yet.

I really wish I had more than a passing knowledge of geology. Driving through northern Arizona, Utah and Colorado is just amazing.  There are new rocks to look at around every bend in the road!

Our first stop after leaving Buckeye and the Phoenix area was the kitschy little town of Jerome, AZ. It was a wild mining town in the 1800's - Jerome AZ.
Today it is a small town artist colony, with great old buildings in various states of renovation - and some great stories preserved on plaques throughout the town. 
Most of the shops were not open yet - we drove in about 8:30 AM.  We took a walk and did some Nellie Bly.    The entire store is kaleidoscopes!!  Big kaleidoscopes, little kaleidoscopes, cheap kaleidoscopes, very expensive kaleidoscopes!  And it was open, so we spent some time looking through (and touching) some beautiful $9000 toys!! 
window shopping. Our favorite shop was 
Next we headed up the hill to the Gold King Mine Ghost Town.  Talk about lots of STUFF -- It was crazy!! Of course there was a gift shop and a spot to "pan for gold", but there was also a woodshop where they use plane large trees  into table tops and counter tops, etc.  GORGEOUS wood! And I can't remember the name of the tree.... It grows in the mountains of Arizona and part of New Mexico.
Jerome Gold King Mine and Ghost Town -
(*for some unknown reason the Sedona slideshow is here twice - #1 an #3)

Sedona - a beautiful but somewhat expensive tourist town.  We spent the afternoon walking and driving to some of the great viewpoints.

Next on the map is the border between Arizona and Utah. And  Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park - Navajo Parks & Recreation
I'm guessing we should have driven into the valley for some additional spectacular-ness, but even driving by on the highway was pretty amazing.  Utah is just such a different topography!  The variety of formations and rock types is just so different, and then the mountains by Salt Lake are another world!  I would love to spend more time there.  By now however, we've been gone for almost 6 weeks and "home" is in sight! So we we ended the day in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
The next day, Sunday, we drove through Vail and Denver and all the way to Lincoln, Nebraska. I was worried about driving through the mountains in February, but it wasn't awful - until we got to Denver! Pea soup fog all the way through the city! Yuk.  Then the snow started and the highway from just east of Fort Morgan, CO to just west of Ogallala, NE was brutal.  It was snowing and blowing and there were no plows in sight, so the roads were covered with snow and slush and then we had some freezing rain too.  Almost as suddenly, the roads were dry and clear and we made good time into Lincoln.

If you are looking at this on a mobile device, click on the pictures below to be taken to the Picasa album.


Utah and the rest:

Monday was the final leg of this winter's long journey. Many of the pictures from these last days were taken with my iPhone - through the window - while we were moving!  Don't expect much, they are story-telling shots.
We arrived in Oakdale about 2:30 PM.
5,757 miles - 10 states (11 if you count the 20 minutes we stopped in California by the Parker Dam)

So, we are back to "normal", whatever that is!  Anxiously awaiting the arrival of Grandbaby #8, looking forward to see family at Jeff and Sarah's wedding this weekend, getting to see some great high school hockey the next weekend and probably heading up to the cabin after that!

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