Saturday, January 2, 2016


We went to Phoenix for our holiday

 The dogs came with us. Of course. For the first time, T and I took turns sitting in the back. (He's gotten so tall, we figured it was only fair.) The dogs did wonderfully.

 Once again we sat in traffic for almost three hours getting out of Denver.
(Picture of the volcanic rock we were driving past.)

 We spent Friday night at the KOA campground in Raton, NM in a Camping Cabin.
(More volcanic rock pics)

We love Camping Cabins. We have access to a bathroom, shower, beds without having to worry about our dogs. The dogs and I shared a double bed (the beds are not big and the cabin is a single room), while J and T each took a bunk. The dogs have a tendency to freak out a bit when we travel and then do better if they can be touching me while we sleep. We pulled in after ten, picked up our packet waiting for us at the after hours check-in, went to the cabin and found the room was warm and ready. We unloaded, crashed, woke up and showered, then hit the road again without ever talking to anyone there. (I did, accidentally, release the dogs to do their business in a private fenced yard. In my defense, it really was perfect for a dog run.) We were back on the road before eight and heading south.

 Random art work made out of barbed wire.

 Distant Mesa in NM.

 And more mesas.

 Juniper, Cedar and Pinon trees.
Lots of wide open spaces

 Many, many Mesas.

 The colors were incredible, not as bright under a cloudy sky.

 The rocks range from pale green to dark red and every imaginable color in between.

We decided after looking up Cedar trees on Js tree app, that most of what we were seeing was juniper, American Red Cedar and Pinon.

Those cliffs were so red and just didn't show up in the photos.

Mountain with a face.
Do you see it?

See it now? It was pretty cool in person.

So many cool rock formations.

There is a cave you can pay to explore. We didn't stop.

Nifty bit of trivia: Louis La'Mour described a lot of landmarks and unusual geographic things in his novels and all of them were based on actual landmarks and topography of the land. I used to think about riding through the areas he described to see if I could find them.

More interesting rocks.

We drove South through Albuquerque and then turned west. At Holbrook, we opted to turn South again rather than going through Flagstaff, due to impending traffic issues we always have on I-17.

 The road takes you through Salt River.
There are wild horses there. We didn't realize that's where we were going.

 The scenery was amazing. It just takes your breath away to realize the scope of our planet.

 We stopped about half way down the canyon as the sun was just setting.

 It's the kind of beauty that is indescribible.

 The Grand Canyon is magnificent, but so are many of the smaller canyons.
We were bummed it was so close to sunset, although the color was amazing.
 I, of course, was itching to see the canyon from the point of the river.

 I wouldn't have been unhappy to see the wild horses either.

 That really was the color of the sky.

We got safely to my parents house with plans of going back home the same way so we could stop and see the river and the canyon in the day. Those plans were derailed by the blizzard that tried to eat Texas (and parts of New Mexico).

 Winter Solstice Dawn from my parents' back yard.

We spent a week with my mom and step father. We saw The Force Awakens, ate lots of good food (In n Out, El Pollo Loco), opened gifts and watched football. My mom made the best Christmas dinner and I managed to not destroy the prime rib (next time we don't try a new recipe on the prime rib we are serving for dinner - I just use my old standby of salt and pepper rub.) Then it was time to head back home. We had to drive north on I-17 toward Flagstaff because blizzard was happening between us and Albuquerque. We cancelled our reservation at Albuquerque and made a new one for Grand Junction, planned to spend 10 hours driving instead of just under eight, got up early and loaded the truck.

 We took home a grill and a recliner, on top of what we had brought with us.

I hate driving north on I-17. Traffic was so slow we got to watch that Sugaro sprout and grow while waiting.

It took three hours to go 20 miles.

That mountain wasn't there when we first got stopped.
It shot up out of the ground while we waited.

This was north of Phoenix about 60 miles. It stays decorated all year round.
It has stuffed animals and Holiday decorations.

I have no words.

The drive was long and so miserable J got sick from lack of sleep. I was falling asleep in the back of the truck when she suddenly had to pull over. I drove (again) for the last 45 minutes to find the KOA. I hate being that tired, but it was still safer than the 10' drifts we would have been facing in Albuquerque, not to mention we would have been stuck in the KOA cabin for a day if we hadn't gone home the way we did. It was almost midnight when we pulled in and unloaded. Once again the cabin was lit and warm when we got there. I think J might have been asleep before the light was turned out.

This is Grand Mesa. It is the largest flat topped mountain in the world.

It rises 6000 feet (top elevation of 11,000) and covers 500 square miles, and is 40 miles long.

It was majestic.

So very breathtaking with the snow.

They were such good pups and traveled with us very well.
They are very happy to just be with us.

It's always amazed me the difference in the view between driving west and driving east.

It's the same mountains, but they look different depending on the direction of travel.

We made it home fairly early in the day on Sunday. We had enough time to unpack, rearrange the living room to accommodate T's last gift (new tv) and even watch some football. It was a great week and we really enjoyed spending the time with my mom. We are ready to be finished with the holiday, however. Time to get back to our normal routine.


  1. I loved these photos. Thank you for taking them and sharing them! The landscape out there is beautiful; it's so different. Grand Mesa is my favorite! The photo of T sleeping with the girls is adorable beyond words.

    What a great trip! (Excluding the traffic) I'm glad you and the family had such a great time!

  2. How wonderful that you got to take the pups with you. I'm glad you had a good week and safe travels there and back.