Monday, January 26, 2009

Day 16 - HOME

Took pictures of the only full size replica of the Parthenon in Nashville.  Hit the rode on to Knoxville, then Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Cherokee.  Very quiet on a Monday in January.

Some snow on the ground coming across the Great Smokies - icicles on the mountains.  Roads were clear.  We stopped at Great Smokey Mountain Knife Works - a huge store.  They sell much more than knives.  Really nice store - beautiful waterfall inside.  Home at 6:30 PM.  

It's hard to believe that in 16 days we only had one rainy day and one foggy morning.  The weather in the western part of the country was wonderful - warm and sunny.  Coming home was cold, but no rain or snow.  

Trip of a lifetime!  6,273 miles in 12 on the road - we spent two days in San Diego and three days in Las Vegas for a total of 16 days.

Time to start thinking about our next trip!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Day 15 - Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee

Not a lot to see on this drive.  We went the Clinton Library in Little Rock, Arkansas.  The building is interesting - enough said. 

Crossed the Mississippi River - drove through Memphis - decided not to go to Graceland -   that can be another road trip!  

We're spending the night in Nashville.  Plan to hang here a while in the morning, then head east -  maybe stop  in Pigeon Forge and Cherokee.

First picture is in Memphis - next two are Clinton Library

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Left Gallup, NM at 7:30 AM - Thick Fog for about an hour.  Then blue skies - cold all day thirties.  Albuquerque, Tucumcari - Route 66 - highlight of the day - Cadillac Ranch.  We met a young man there who grew up in High Point!  On to Amarillo - the largest cross in the western hemisphere in Groom.  Shamrock - another Route 66 town.  Wigwam Village - nice old cars.  Wonder what the teepees are like inside?  Our longest mileage day - about 650 miles - not too much to stop for.  Staying in a really nice, new Comfort Inn in Weatherford, OK. 

Friday, January 23, 2009

Day 13 - OLD ROUTE 66 TOWN

Left Vegas at 7:30 this morning - Boulder City - Hoover Dam and the new bridge being built which is awesome.  Kingman, AZ then Oatman - one of my favorites - an old western town. Drove 23 miles on old Route 66 to get there - curves, switchbacks, dips, no guardrails - it was fun.  On to Flagstaff and Williams - didn't stop there - we saw them a couple of years ago. Petrified Forest, Painted Desert.  Spending the night in Gallup, New Mexico.  Today was our first rainy day - in the desert, no less!  

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Day 11 & 12 - PENN & TELLER - THE RIO

We spent 
yesterday afternoon checking out some of the casinos - then drove to Henderson 
to Green Valley Ranch Hotel and Casino - a really "upscale" area.  It's a shopping areabuilt to look like a city.  
Penn & Teller show at the Rio at 9:00 last night.  It was a great show - combination of comedyand magic.  They definitely have their own style.

The Rio Hotel, Casino and Theater is one of the most beautiful I've seen.

We met a couple from Wilson, NC in the Rio yesterday.  They're also on a Road Trip.

We heard some loud noises this morning - looked out the window and there was the window washer - we enjoyed watching for a few minutes.  What a job.

I may go down to the Casino today to see if I can lose some money - odd that we never quit while we're ahead.  I think I've lost a total of $20 - lots of entertainment for the money.

We're having such a great time, we're going to stay one night longer than we planned.
Our plan is to leave Vegas Friday morning heading to Kingman and Route 66.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I could get used to living like this - maid service is nice!

I tried my hand a the poker machines - more than doubled my money - 
started with $5 - left with $11.75 - you have to know when to quit - big money!!

It was fun - think I'll go back a little later.

In case you wonder, no, I am not going to ride the Stratoshpere rides.  Katia rode them when we were here with her.  I didn't take the two pictures of the Stratosphere - got them on the internet.

After dinner with Zac and Debra - I managed to lose the money I won earlier in the casino - plus a little more.  Maybe better luck tomorrow.


Day 9 & 10 - Monday & Tuesday
 January 19 & 20, 2009

Miles of oil wells and huge refineries.
Miles and miles of orange groves - trees are so full of oranges - must be picking season
Miles and miles of olive groves, strawberry fields, pecan groves and others we didn’t recognize

Sequoia National Park and King’s Canyon National Park - World’s largest tree - General Sherman in Sequoia and the third largest in King’s Canyon Park - General Grant. Pictures don’t do them justice.
Lots and lots of snow on the ground - roads were mostly clear. Sunny in the forties.

More windmills - mountains full.  

Nice drive to Las Vegas - we are staying in the Stratosphere for three nights.  Feels good to unpack and stay awhile.  Can't believe they have a free laundry room so we will have clean clothes!  We are on the 20th floor looking out at the strip.  Busy day.  We’ll see Zac and Debra sometime tomorrow.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Day 8 - Los Angeles -

Pacific Coast Highway - Newport Beach - Balboa Beach- Huntington Beach
beautiful area.miles of public beach access - bicycling, jogging, beach volleyball, etc.
Huge oil refineries right in the cities - even oil wells.

Los Angeles - traffic unbelievable even on Sunday.  Frank Lloyd Wright - Hollyhock House - really neat h ouse - priceless view.  Forest Lawn Cemetery - hundreds of acres -   fountains, statues, etc. -Hollywood - feels like a small town.

We planned to go to Disneyland  tomorrow - changed our minds when we saw about ten lanes
of traffic lined up forever to get in at 4:00 PM today - then I remembered that tomorrow is a 
holiday - school is out - so we changed our plans - no Disneyland this trip.

Time to escape this place - we drove for hours and hours just escaping Los Angeles.
I thought we were through - then saw a sign saying "Welcome to Los Angeles"!


San Diego - Art and Sculpture everywhere in this city.
A huge statue of the famous WWII couple kissing - on loan from New York.
Coronado and Imperial Beach -  beautiful.
Shopped at at street festival in Old Town.

FIRST BAD DECISION OF OUR TRIP:  Bus tour to Tijuana, Mexico.
Motormouth bus driver - shopkeepers in Tijuana chasing us down the
streets to sell something - children on the street selling things - felt so
sorry for them.  I spent too much money.  Drank a really good margarita!
Free samples of tequila!  Time to go - bus won't start!  Thirty minutes later
bus starts - get to border - a million people trying to get in the U.S.  Had to
get off the bus - have everything xrayed - walk upstairs - then downstairs -
then back on the bus for a slow drive back.  I never want to go to Mexico again.
Very tired.

Friday, January 16, 2009

San Diego - Absolutely Beautiful!

San Diego is definitely one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen.  
Point Loma - Cabrillo National Monument - Naval Base area is awesome.
Check the picture.  Weather is more than perfect - about 70 degrees and
blue skies.

We drove by huge sand dunes, mountains that looked like huge piles of rocks
and some of the most productive cropland in the country.  What a great
country we live in.

We're staying on Harbor Drive - can see the huge yachts in the harbor and
walk along the harbor.  Patio on the deck looks out to the harbor - does it
get any better than this?

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Should I buy this six door monster truck?  I know my oldest son would love it.  The Barrett Jackson Auto Auction is hard to believe - thousands of cars and trucks and all kinds of vendors.  People with lots of money to spend.  Doesn't cost much to look!

Saguaro National Park this morning - thirty to forty foot tall cactus - millions of them covering thousands of acres.  That's Lester standing beside the cactus.  Kinda big, isn't it?
Then on to Casa Grande Ruins  

Casa Grande Ruins - remains of an ancient Hohokam village and Great House.  How did they manage to build that house?  

Canals used to irrigate crops - I had never seen that.  

Weather is absolutely perfect - around 70 degree high and sunny.  I hear it is really cold in North Carolina right now - I guess we picked a good time to travel.  

We are in Chandler, Arizona for the night - close to Phoenix.  

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Windmills in Texas

Windmills by the thousands - in Texas.


Tombstone Arizona - Beautiful little town - step back in time!

Carlsbad Caverns
Really amazing.

Day 4 - Carlsbad Caverns, El Paso, Tombstone, Tucson

This has been a long, busy day.

Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, is one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. We spent 2 hours walking through it - the size is unbelievable. I'll try to post a picture if I can figure out how!

On to El Paso - hard to know what to say. I'm trying to be positive, but can't think of much positive about it.

Western Texas is so big, so dry, so desolate. We drove for hours and hours at 80 mph with nothing but barrenness. I know there must be beautiful parts of Texas but this was not one of them.

Tombstone, Arizona - a beautiful little town that feels like it is still in the 1800's. Driving to Tombstone while the sun was setting was really pretty - the sun behind the mountains in the west - the eastern sky the most beautiful pink and blue.

We had to go through a Border Patrol check driving back from Tombstone - seemed like an odd place for it. They just asked each of us what state we were born in - said good evening and that was it.

On to Tucson to spend the night. We got here about 7:00 - tired.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Day 3 - Abilene, Lubbock, Carlsbad

Day 3 - Tuesday, January 13

Breakfast at our hotel.

On the road to Abilene - miles of nothing except thousands of windmills and oil rigs.
Drove to Sweetwater - then headed for Lubbock - the Buddy Holly Museum is awesome.
Lester and I both really enjoyed it. Drove by the statue of Buddy and the home he lived in.
Then on the road to Carlsbad, New Mexico.  Really good dinner at Furr's Family Cafeteria.

It is so fun having my laptop - and wireless internet in our rooms.

Having a great time.  We have our cell phones if you wanna give us a call.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Day 2 Fort Worth

Left yesterday at 7:00 AM - drove 740 miles
spent the night in Vicksburg, Mississippi in a wonderful hotel casino - Horizon - the casino is a three story riverboat.  Great dinner.

Spent a couple of hours at Vicksburg Battleground - really enjoyed it.  

Drove on to Dallas - went to the JFK museum Texas Book Depository - after seeing it, it is hard to believe one man got three shots off from that position.  Drove on to Fort Worth - had a good dinner. Spending the night at a Best Western.

Tomorrow - on to Abilene and Lubbock to see the Buddy Holly museum.

We're having a great time.