Monthly Archives: May 2012

Colorado River Discovery: Rafting Down Glen Canyon

Glen Canyon, Reflected

And now for the highlight of our trip thus far: a floating raft tour down the Colorado River!  I have to tell you: this was absolutely amazing!  We rafted down Glen Canyon, beginning at the Glen Canyon Dam and ending at Lees Ferry.  The canyon was huge!  And so incredibly beautiful!

We had made reservations with the Colorado River Discovery tour, which is the only company allowed to do any sort of motorized boat tour down the Colorado.  They have a ten year permit for which they had bid from the US Government; they only have five years left before they either rebid or relinquish the monopoly to another company.  Our tour guide, Megan, was extremely informative and is the one who told us all of this.

The tour began at the Glen River Dam, where the dam is holding back Lake Powell.  My sisters, my grandma, and I hopped into a huge blue inflatable raft and off we went!   Continue reading

Four Corners, USA

Being in Four Places at Once

So this morning we stopped at the Four Corners monument.  For those of you who don’t know what this is, it’s where the corners of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah all meet.  Which is entirely awesome for people like me who always want to be in two places at once.  In this instance, you can be in four places at one time!  (Though, technically, you’re standing in one place, in just so happens that in that one place your feet are touching four states’ lands.  So four states at one time?!  That doesn’t sound as cool…though it is still pretty neat.)   Continue reading

Family RV Trip: Day 4

On the Road to the Canyons
(Taken through the front window of the RV)

So last night we stayed at a Walmart parking lot.  I’m not gonna lie – it was pretty uneventful.  What we lacked in water and electricity hook-ups, we made up for in replenishing our food supply.  Oh, and I’m starting to perceive a trend with these nights.  They typically go like this:

  1. Fall asleep exhausted.
  2. Awake at about 5:00 to either a dog stepping on you, licking you, or clicking their nails on the floor.
  3. Attempt to fall back asleep (usually successfully).
  4. Awake (but pretend to still be sleeping) at 6:00 when mom, dad, and grandma are going through cabinets, making coffee, and getting breakfast together.
  5. Begrudgingly get out of bed, reminding myself both to go to bed earlier and to appreciate more the mornings when I’m home, in my own bed, with nothing to do for the day.

Proof that we actually stayed at a Walmart

So, yes.  To summarize the above, we were awake very early, and headed off to Four Corners, UT, CO, NM, & AZ.  We spent a bit of time there, taking pictures of standing in four places at once and shopping at the various Navajo and Ute stalls where they were selling their Native American goods.  (American Indian?  Native American? Apparently they’re undecided, and prefer to be referred to using their tribal affiliation.)  Then, before we knew it, we were back in the RV to head to Page, Arizona… It was 10:15 am and we knew we had to be in Page by 12:45 for a raft tour down the Colorado River.  It’s a 2.5 hour drive…   Continue reading

Family RV Trip: Day 3

The “Oasis” for RVs
(Ours is the one in the middle)

Another day on the road, and what a day it’s been!

We awoke bright and early at the Oasis RV Resort in Amarillo, Texas.  (This is where the photo above was taken.  It looks like Texas, does it not?  And kind of looks like an oasis in the middle of the desert, sans spring of water).  We hit the road as soon as we could; after all, we had a full 11 hours to travel to Page, Arizona, including a stop at the infamous Four Corners!

The morning hours passed uneventfully, with more playing of cribbage, as well as the game Fluxx.  We also spent time reading and napping (I know… We’re a fun bunch).  We finished our drive through Texas and entered New Mexico – the first time I’ve visited this state!  The landscape changed almost immediately with the inclusion of plateaus, canyons, and lots of red rocks.

We ate lunch on the road, making sandwiches in the RV, and were just past Albuquerque, NM when suddenly my sisters and I realized we were far warmer than we’d been an hour ago.  Actually, we felt warmer than even fifteen minutes prior!  Ashley stood up to see if the AC was running just as Katie and I noticed the microwave wasn’t on.

The generator had stopped working.

Yes, that’s right.  We were in the middle of the desert in New Mexico with no generator.  Roasting by the minute.  Toasting, if you will.  One of the first thoughts to flash through my mind was, “We’re going to die!”  Continue reading

Family RV Trip: Day 2

Driving Towards “Oasis”

“Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain…” ~Oklahoma!  (Yes, that is Hugh Jackman in the video!)

Last night we spent the night at Village Creek State Park in Arkansas.  Our time in Arkansas was brief but interesting, to say the least!

First of all, there was a toad in one of the stalls of the women’s restroom (if you ever visit this park, avoid the first stall!  The toad was still there this morning!)

Second, we had to work out sleeping arrangements.  I ended up literally sleeping on top of the kitchen table.  Continue reading

Travel Tuesday: Torino

Cappuccinos Amidst Beautiful Architecture

So, I know I’m on a trip right now and should probably post a picture and update about that, but I can’t forget my Travel Tuesday posts!  I think, for now, I’m going to keep them international, though eventually they may be of different places in the US.  For now, I want to share Torino (also known as Turin), Italy.

Torino was the host of the 2006 Olympic Winter Games.  As such, they have the perfect venue for skating competitions, and therefore hosted the 2010 World Figure Skating Championships.  Evan and I qualified to compete there and, despite sustaining a concussion prior to leaving, we ended up placing 9th.

After the competition, a lot of us went to visit the old Olympic Village there and were saddened to find it falling apart.  However, the rest of Torino was just incredible!  The city itself is in a beautiful location.  In the northwest of Italy, Torino finds itself surrounded by the Alps for a gorgeous view no matter where you look.  My mom and I spent a day just wandering around Torino, eating at various cafes, looking at statues, and admiring the architecture.

First of all: the food!  I made it a point to try anything Italian-sounding.  Continue reading

Family RV Trip: Day 1

“Fly Killer” Practicing on Each Other

My blog is about to take on a slightly different style.  It will be transitioning into a travel blog as I spend the next 2.5 weeks in an RV with my family, driving around the US.  Yes, that’s right.  My entire family, plus my grandma and our two dogs, in a confined space for an extended period of time.  This should make for some great experiences!  I’m hoping this blog takes on a journal-type feel mixed with inspiration from “The Everywhereist” (I highly recommend Geraldine’s blog, if you have not read it) as I document our adventure from landscapes and sights to personal stories and memories for all of us to reference in years to come.

I burst out laughing as my family pulled up to gather me from the Nashville, Tennessee airport in a huge RV, and all I could see what this tiny little white head peeking out the window in front with it’s ears perked up.  My family had arrived and, as usual, Bella (our dalmatian puppy) felt it was her job to lead the way.  I hopped into the RV and off we went, with barely time to say hello before our dogs pounced!  Bella and Abi (our black lab mix) covered me with kisses, and I almost instantly remembered that I had forgotten to take Claritin (darn those dog allergies of mine).

Finally I had a chance to breathe and reconnect with my family, as I haven’t seen them in months.  And suddenly, we’re RV-ing!  (If that isn’t a verb, it is now!)

Let me tell you, spending your day in an RV is literally only as fun as you make it.   Continue reading

Backyards and BBQs

A Cute Mess

It’s that time of year: BBQ season!  This is Memorial Day weekend, and as the weather increasingly warms, so does our desire to spend time outside.  Throughout the spring and summer, barbecues are prevalent and people want to gather together, have a good time outdoors, and eat great food on the grill.

I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, surrounded by kind neighbors who were raising families.  This meant lots of kids, and lots of great memories.  Whether we had gathered for Memorial Day, Labor Day, or any day in between, there were sure to be laughter, chatting, and children running around the backyards.  Sometimes we’d have planned activities, but usually it was just mayhem.

When I was young, I loved these gatherings.  However, as I grew older (you know, being the mature age of sixteen), I found the newer generation of young kids to be crazy and the parents to be boring. Continue reading

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

Drenched

This is the view from my window right now.

… Okay, so it’s not exactly the view from my window in that I’m not staring at a deck that walks out onto the beach with the Atlantic Ocean in front of me.  But it is precisely how my window looks at this moment: drenched with rain.

Where is our 85° sunny day?!  What happened to the beautiful summer weather?  I could swear that the Weather Channel had said nothing about rain!

Oh wait… Now it’s a thunderstorm.   Continue reading

Ripple Effect

Effects of a Raindrop

**Warning: This post is not going to be about the science of capillary waves, skipping rocks, or any other such water-related things.  Rather, it will hopefully be a metaphor for how I am perceiving life at this moment.**

Have you ever observed raindrops on a pond?  Or even what happens when a rock is thrown into a lake?  The clean, smooth, perfect surface of the water is suddenly pierced, and from that puncture a ringlet of ripples emanate around it.

I find life to be much the same.  We are born, we have this entirely clean slate, and then suddenly our clean slate is pierced by something.  Anything.  Whether it be a person,  an event, a decision.  Our life is suddenly influenced.  And from this change in our life, we see many resulting developments.  Some we never predicted could happen, some we hoped and wished would occur.  But no matter what, our lives seem to be a continuing ripple.   Continue reading