Fun Facts on the Road Back to Texas!

These little tidbits are not rocket science – just some thoughts as we drove to Amarillo today.

  • The app, “Gas Buddies”, is awesome.  (Thanks, Jimmy!)  We referred to it during the entire trip to find the best gas prices on the road.
  • Never underestimate a good tailwind!  After fighting the winds for the last several weeks, we had a great tailwind on I-40 coming back to Texas today.  Whee!
  • Comments we made today were: “Oh, look – license plates from Texas.”  “Oh, there’s an Academy.”  And my personal favorite: “OMG!  I see an On the Border.”
  • If you’re ever in Santa Fe, just know that they’ve done away with plastic bags.  You have to pay 10 cents for a paper bag – even in the department stores.  Go, Santa Fe!
  • While traveling, if your man gets hungry, get ready for snippiness.  If you both get hungry, someone has to go to timeout!
  • The closer you get to Texas, the faster you drive!
  • McDonald’s is the only constant while traveling.
  • Well, there’s the whistling, the growling, and the WIND!
  • Don’t complain about the gas prices in Texas; it’s cheaper here than most states.
  • There is a place called, Green Chili Willy’s Grill, in Amarillo that has fantastic chicken-fried steak!  I highly recommend it!
  • After being in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, we have no idea what time it really is!!  Seriously, what time is it?

We plan on spending some time in Amarillo and traveling home in a couple of days.  Stay tuned!

 

 

Santa Fe!

We’ve slowed down quite a bit – taking in the mountain scenery, shopping for jewelry (smiley face), reading, watching our new favorite series, Ray Donovan, getting some much-needed rest, and eating some delicious food that only Santa Fe offers.  By-the-way, did you know that it is frowned upon when you order an adult beverage and then order from the Kid’s Menu?  Gary told me that, but I didn’t believe him until the waiter said, “You can’t do that; that’s just not right!”  He and Gary high-fived, and then he brought me my drink and a very small turkey burger from the Kid’s menu.  (I think Gary is still smiling, but actually, I won!)

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The weather hasn’t been ideal since we’ve been in Santa Fe.  The wind has blown like a banshee; it’s been cold, and you can hardly see the mountains for the sandstorms.  However, that hasn’t dampened our spirits; we’ve still managed to spend time and money at the market downtown.

We’ll take our time coming back to Texas – neither one of us is admitting that we’re ready to come home.  We like to think that we’ve earned our little 30-day retirement trip, and we hope that you’ve enjoyed the daily updates.  It’s so much fun when you can take your friends and family along with you – blog style.

So, thank you, Santa Fe . . . you’re the perfect place to complete our journey!

P. S.  Oh, I’m not done . . .  you know there will be some “fun facts” on the trip back to Fort Worth, Texas!

Breaking Bad!

Disclaimer:  If you’ve never watched the series, Breaking Bad, then this post will mean nothing to you.  If you have watched the series, you will totally get it!

Gary and I were never really interested in watching the very popular show, Breaking Bad.   Being educators, we just couldn’t wrap our brains around watching a show about a chemistry teacher who cooked meth with an ex-student to help off-set the expense of his cancer treatment.  Just soooo many wrong things about the plot and storyline . . . until one weekend, when the weather was bad, and we decided to watch, maybe one or two, just to see what all the talk was about.  After binge-watching for weekends-on-end, we became as hooked as everyone else and saw why the actors were winning so many awards.

So, coming to Albuquerque was particularly interesting knowing that the show had been filmed there.  We found all the filming locations and talked at length to people from Albuquerque about the show (not too many of them were fans, I have to admit).  Perhaps, the most interesting person that we visited with was the Candy Lady in Old Town.  She made all the candy (made to look like blue-crystal meth) for the show.  She was delightful, and it was our good fortune to catch her at the shop when we purchased our “blue meth”.  Nothing would do, but for Gary to dress up like Walter White!  He was a dead-ringer and now wants a hat and glasses like Walter’s.  Not to worry friends; it won’t happen!

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If you’re a fan, you’ll recognize these places.  The chicken place is now called Twisters, and we ate there three times – the food was amazing!  Gary sat in the booth that Walter always sat in when he met with Gus.  Oh, the fun we had!

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The only house that we didn’t get a picture of was Walter White’s.  We drove by twice, but the people who now own or rent the house have had such trouble with people stopping by that they park themselves in the garage and almost dare people to stop and take a photo.  We chickened out and left Albuquerque.  Now, on to Santa Fe for a couple of days – headed back to Texas.  Is it spring there???

 

Turquoise Trail and Wild Hogs!

Yep!  It was quite a day in Albuquerque.  Gary had it well-planned and well-organized; no surprises there.

We began the day by “Wild Hogging” (in a jeep) along the Turquoise Trail, stopping at little towns along the way.  Perhaps, our favorite stop-off was in the little town of Madrid, where the movie Wild Hogs was filmed.  We meandered into all the shops, visiting with store owners, and developing a real appreciation for the artists and the galleries in this town.  Gary and I have watched the movie, Wild Hogs, probably a dozen times, so it was fun to actually be in the town where all the action took place.  We constantly said, “Oh, that’s the Maggie’s Diner; oh, that’s the staircase; oh, that’s the drive through the country.”  We’re such groupies!!

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After taking a dirt/gravel road through the hills (not recommended for anything other than a jeep), we landed at the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.  We hiked the path through the tent rocks (weirdest think I’ve seen, yet), and decided that on the next adventure, we will for sure buy some hiking boots – walking shoes just don’t quiet cut it!  We also decided to take a jeep trail into the mountains to get the best scenic view possible.  Gary has developed such a skill for driving in the mountains – he, of course, whistles, growls, stays way-far-away from the edge, and tells me NOT to tell him to look down and “get over it” – only made that mistake once! (wink)

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We love Albuquerque . . . the food’s been great; the artists are amazing; and we have Breaking Bad photo ops to add to our adventures.  Watch out, Albuquerque; we’re not done, yet!

We’re Alive to Blog Another Day!

It just goes to show you that you cannot judge a book by its cover.  The “Root 66 RV Park” was very enjoyable . . . well, maybe that’s an exaggeration.  The pros:  great internet, peaceful (only 1 of 2 RVs there – thank goodness someone else was there), owners lived on the property. (I’ll let your imagination run wild here.), and convenient to the highway (for a quick exit).  The cons:  I think the pictures pretty much told it all.  I forgot to tell you that one of the funniest moments was when Gary said, “I can’t wait to see what the showers look like.”

On our way to Albuquerque, NM., we stopped at the Painted Desert – Petrified Forest National Park.  This park offers displays of 225 million-year-old fossils.  It features one of the largest and most colorful concentrations of petrified wood in the world, making it very surprising and fascinating.  Would I have ever known to stop here?  Uh, no, but Gary had researched it and thought it was worth a visit.  It definitely was!!

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The drive through the park was 28 miles, and it was such fun in the jeep.  We stopped often, took lots of pictures, and walked 4 ½ miles through the ruins.

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Did you get that?  I thought my Fitbit was going to vibrate off my arm.  See that little spec of a person in the picture?  That’s me at the BOTTOM of the Blue Mesa Trail – a walk into the heart of Petrified Forest Badlands.  I was the only one in the basin, and I’ve never experienced such a quiet and soulful experience in my life.  P. S.  I think Gary got a little worried, but not enough to come and get me.  (smiley face)

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My heart is beating faster now as we travel to Albuquerque (yes, I have finally learned how to spell it).  We have an AWESOME RV Park reservation (I’ll just bet we do!), and we’re both looking forward to it.  Gary has the whole day planned; we going to visit all the locations of the Breaking Bad series.  Of course, we are; that’s what we do!  Happy Easter, everyone!

Standing on the Corner in Winslow, Arizona

There was “frost on the pumpkin” (18 degrees and snow on the mountaintops) when we left for Winslow, Arizona (photo op).  And, yes, Gary whistled that song ALL day long.

We opted to bypass the infamous Meteor Crater (reviews said that it was just a big hole in the ground, and we felt like we had seen so much of that already) and decided to stop at the Walnut Canyon National Monument.  You know the walk is going to be difficult when they tell you at the visitors’ desk to make sure you have on good shoes, as the walk is a one-mile, strenuous-island trail that descends into the canyon.  Well, we’re pros . . . we had descended into Carlsbad Caverns, so how hard could it be, right?  I’m not gonna lie – it was pretty strenuous; however, we experienced the dramatic geology, varied vegetation, and wildlife that made living in these cliff dwellings and pueblos possible only 800 years ago.  I thought the most interesting fact was that the Park Ranger was a descendant of the tribes that inhabited these dwellings.  She said that her knowledge came from her ancestors instead of books.  I loved that little tidbit!!

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Cue Eagles song (this one’s for you, Christopher and Kyle).  Whistling as we drove, Gary could hardly wait to arrive in Winslow.  It’s a v-e-r-y small town with lots of tourists (like us) stopping for a picture.  We’ve learned through our travels that people are thrilled when you walk up and say, “Would you like to be in the picture, too?  I’ll take it for you.”  They’re always so shocked and very appreciative – all the encouragement that Gary needs.  He’s met more people taking their picture for them.

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Didn’t know where we would be staying the night.  All Gary said was, “Hope you’ve enjoyed the last several RV Resorts; this one may be a little different.”  My only question is always: “Does it have hook-ups?”  It did, so how bad could it be, right?  Well, all I could do was laugh when we pulled in, and Gary said, “I knew it was going to be problem when I saw the sign, and it said, ‘Root 66’, and they would only accept cash.”  Come on . . . now that’s funny.  The pictures say it all, but I have to be honest . . . it has had the BEST internet of any place we’ve stayed so far.  How weird is that?  Gary says that it’s because NO ONE is here.  Well, there’s that!

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Our view from the RV . . .                                       The sign on the road by our RV

We took the RV park owner’s recommendation and ate at a Mexican restaurant named “Romo’s”.  Yep, that was a sign, Kenneth Romo!  Gary always looks for different things to order from the menu and discovered that they had chicken fried steak with red/green chili sauce, beans, and rice, so he HAD to order it.  After waiting for 45 minutes, the waiter came out and said that we’d have to wait another 30-45 minutes for them to make the red sauce.  You remember who recommended this place, right?  We ordered a Cheese Crisp and nachos, watched March Madness, and left 2 hours later – full and happy!

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We’ve off to the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest from here.  Hope we’re alive to post tomorrow.  (need a serious emoji for this one).  Calm down, kids; we’re fine.  We’re packed and loaded, if you know what I mean!

Getting Your Kicks on Route 66!

We decided to stay one more day in Williams, AZ., basically just to relax and learn about this small town.  It’s very interesting . . . the community caters totally to people who stay in the Grand Canyon Hotel/RV Park (very remote and off-the-beaten-path).  The store owners pride themselves in selling Route 66 memorabilia (the street runs right through the middle of town) and Native American jewelry.  Now, you know why I wanted to stay.  (wink, wink). 

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The very first store that we entered displayed art and jewelry from artists in the area.  They even had artwork done by students in the community, which won us over immediately.  Gary says that I’m a weird shopper.  Really?  I say that it’s because I know what I’m looking for, and that when I see it, I want it.  That’s not weird, is it?  Anyway, I spotted some earrings, a bracelet, and a necklace that I kept going back to, but never did say anything.  We left the store, went to eat at a really, quaint restaurant called The Raven (fabulous food), and all I could talk about during lunch was the jewelry that I saw and liked.  When we left, Gary said, “Let’s go back to that store; I told the lady to put that jewelry back for you and that we’d be back.”  The picture below is the lady who designed the jewelry that we bought.  And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is what happens when you spend 24/7 with someone in an RV for 30 days.  (Just kidding . . . that’s just Gary (insert a heart here). 

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We walked into every store, bought Route 66 “stuff”, and ended the day at a restaurant known for their pies.  I know, Jennifer and Janet; it’s not exactly on my “clean eating” routine.  Great day, huh???

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We leave for New Mexico tomorrow.  I’m really not sure I EVER want to return to reality!  Life is good and getting better!!

One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World!

Spoiler Alert:  If you’ve been to the Grand Canyon, you already know . . . If you haven’t been to the Grand Canyon, you must go. . .

I know that every descriptive word has already been used to describe the beauty of the Grand Canyon.  I can only think of one thought that actually came to mind at our first glance:  It takes your breath away!  Literally!

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Once again, Gary gets all the credit on this one.  He wanted this day to be special, and it was!  I promise to try and be brief, but don’t hold me to it.

As you know from the previous blog, we BLEW into Williams, AZ.  It’s a small town that was developed strictly for the purpose of providing a railway to the Grand Canyon.  We had reservations at the RV park adjacent to the train depot, making it possible to walk and catch the train.  Before the train departed, a staged gunfight (alluding to a train robbery later in the day) was provided at the depot.

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We boarded a 1920s train car that was magical!  It had fruit, pastries, snacks, coffee, juices, entertainment, and ALCOHOL (keep in mind that this is 9:00 a.m.).  Apparently, people in the early 1900s started partying early in the day.  The ride took about 2 hours, and during this time, we met the most amazing people from Chicago, California, Missouri, and Michigan.

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Immediately after we arrived at the depot at the Grand Canyon, we boarded a bus for lunch and the tour.  Once again, we tried to capture in pictures the absolute beauty of it all.  You will notice from the pictures that I was the one venturing to the edge.  There was only one time that Gary got really nervous about me being so close; he said it was because of the wind gusts. (wink, wink)  Now that would be special . . . being blown off into the Grand Canyon.

P.S.  He didn’t think that was funny!  (Casey won’t find the humor in that, either).

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The ride back on the train was just as special.  We sat in a different car (by design) so that we could experience going to the back of the train and waving at people.  They served cheese, crackers, fruit, chocolate-covered HUGE strawberries (to die for), and ALCOHOL!  Man, these early folks knew how to party!  Sure enough, when we were almost home, the train robbery happened – complete with cowboys on horses riding alongside the train; the train stopping; the cowboys boarding the train; and robbing us (tips for the entertainment).  Then . . .  guess what happened?  We celebrated surviving the robbery by toasting with champagne!  Okay, so I’m so on board with this 1920s style of living!

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I think the final win/win for the day was when we left the train, bidding all our new friends farewell, and discovering that the two people from St. Louis, Missouri, were both educators – he was a retired coach and teacher, and she was an assistant superintendent, retiring in June.  We exchanged emails and promised to connect with them when we came to St. Louis – you guessed it – to a baseball game.  She said, “Oh, please let us hear from you; I have season tickets to all the Cardinals games and have really good seats behind home plate.”

I haven’t been able to slap the grin off Gary’s face.  P.S.  Haven’t we seen ALL the baseball teams in the United States of America?  Gary just read this and said, “No, there’s a whole other spring training in Florida with teams we haven’t seen, yet.”  Yippee!!  (insert sarcasm here)

 

These Are the Things That I Now Know . . . #9

You’d think that I’d have learned everything by now, huh?  Nada!
  • It doesn’t matter which way you enter or leave Sedona, it’s amazingly beautiful!
  • The drive from Camp Verde to Williams was uphill all the way!  We’re moving on up (like the Jeffersons).
  • If you’re ever in Flagstaff, find the little “hole-in-the-wall” called Satchmo’s Cajun Barbeque.  I now know that it has the best catfish on the planet!!
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  • Never knew that water makes such a difference in the way my hair looks, but NOW I DO!
  • The sunsets and the moon are so much brighter in Arizona.  (Well, that may be a stretch; it’s just that you can see them more clearly.)
  • When you’re retired, you truly do forget the day and date of the week.  (No haters of people who are still working  . . . it’s just true!)
  • You know how trucks are always passing us on the highways??  So, in the mountains, you get to actually pass them – not going downhill, mind you; they still have a huge advantage, but uphill . . . l-o-o-k-o-u-t!
  • Cue song:  I love the mountains; I love the rolling hills . . . boom-dee-a-da, boom-dee-a-da, boom-dee-a-da, boom-de-aye.
  • Gary???  Not so much!  🙂
  • One might think that they’ve seen big rigs (RVs).  Nope!  I’ve seen the biggest rigs EVER at the RV parks, and they’re all pulling something (usually a huge trailer).  By the way, I’ll never complain about my Toyota getting 17 miles-per-gallon again!
  • Never, have I ever, ever, ever experienced wind like we’ve had since arriving in Williams, Arizona.  You ask, “Is it possible for a motorhome to blow over?”  Let me answer that for you: “NO!  If it were possible, we’d be on our side or upside down today!”  Now, I know!

To be continued . . . at the Grand Canyon!!

Have You Ever Heard of Jerome, Arizona? Me, either!

After supporting the local Youth Boxing Association by eating breakfast at a fundraiser (we needed a kid-fix), we traveled through the town of Cottonwood, known for the beautiful cottonwoods that grow along the Verde River, on our way to Jerome.  Guess who discovered that they’re allergic to cottonwoods??  Gary’s comment: “I’m going to say ‘Bless You!’ one more time, and that’s going to count for all the times that you sneeze from now on.”  (I think this was after I had sneezed about a hundred times.)

Just when you think you’ve seen everything . . . another quaint, little town appears in the mountains.  (fyi . . . it is not unusual to see initials on the mountains in Arizona to signify the town) Years ago, Jerome was a thriving copper/gold mining town with quite the flair for “ladies of the evening”.  It seemed that each store or shop that we entered had a history – a history of a famous madam who ran a brothel for the miners.  The story goes that the town of Jerome, high on top of Cleopatra Hill at 5,200 ft., was built by the miners.  It became known as America’s most vertical city and the “wickedest town of the west”.  Built on a 30-degree incline, the town basically became the largest ghost town in America after fires in 1894 and 1889 and the force of gravity caused the buildings to collapse.

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In the 1950s, musicians, artists, bed and breakfast owners, writers, museum caretakers, craftsmen, and falling-down landowners began to develop the town.  Externally, the town hasn’t changed that much and is an enchanting community of about 450 people.

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We ate in a restaurant called The Bordello of Jerome – fitting, don’t you think?  You can tell from the picture that the food was delicious (I normally don’t post pictures of food).  I had decided that a world-famous chef had prepared the food, until the two chefs came out of the kitchen.  I’m pretty sure that they rode to work on their MOTORCYCLES!

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The streets were narrow, the sidewalks steep, the scenery breath-taking, and the Biker Bar was amazing!  (Thanks, Prissy, for the recommendation.) 

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We’re traveling to Williams, AZ, tomorrow and getting  really close to the Grand Canyon.