Monday, June 27, 2011

L.E.N.S photo challenge: tilt

On one of our visits to the Georgia Aquarium, I captured a moment of the boys' fascination with the jellyfish.  Alex had tilted his head to get an even better look at how the jellyfish moved.
I find this exhibit one of the most relaxing and awe inspiring of the entire aquarium.  Standing there I find myself getting lost in the swaying movements of the jellyfish...and, for a moment, all is at peace.

Home Is Where You Start From

Friday, June 24, 2011

matters of the heart

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
~Deuteronomy 6:5 (NIV)

That is why the Lord says,
“Turn to me now, while there is time.
Give me your hearts.
Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning.
Don’t tear your clothing in your grief,
but tear your hearts instead.”
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is merciful and compassionate,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
He is eager to relent and not punish.
~Joel 2:12-13  (NLT)

I will give them a heart to know Me,
that I am the LORD.
They will be My people, and I will be their God
because they will return to Me
with all their heart.
~Jeremiah 24:7  (HCSB)

LORD, the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel,
keep these desires and thoughts in the hearts of your people forever,
and keep their hearts loyal to you.
~1 Chronicles 29:18  (NIV)

Because your heart was tender
and you humbled yourself before the LORD
when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants,
that they would become a desolation and a curse,
and because you have torn your clothes and wept before Me,
I Myself have heard you—declares the LORD.
~2 Kings 22:19  (HCSB)

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance
or height, for I have rejected him.
The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them.
People judge by outward appearance,
but the Lord looks at the heart.”
~1 Samuel 16:7  (NLT)

Whatever prayer or petition
anyone from Your people Israel might have-
each man knowing his own afflictions
and spreading out his hands toward this temple-
may You hear in heaven, Your dwelling place,
and may You forgive, act, and repay the man,
according to all his ways, since You know his heart,
for You alone know every human heart.
~I Kings 8:38-39  (HCSB)

May he turn our hearts to him,
to walk in obedience to him and keep the commands,
decrees and laws he gave our ancestors.
~I Kings 8:58  (NIV)

Love the LORD your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your strength.
~Deuteronomy 6:5  (NIV)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wednesday's Walk: worth the wait

View of Denali from Anchorage July 2010

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Yosemite National Park

Sunday we arrived in Yosemite National Park.  It was somewhere in the 60's and partly sunny.  Not too bad of a start to the day.  There was a whole new land awaiting our exploration over the next two days.  I remember thinking that if the rest of the park was as beautiful as the drive in, it was going to be awesome! 
At one pullover spot we counted six waterfalls we could see from where we stood.  Later on, during one of the evening Ranger progrmas, it was disclosed that all the waterfalls we saw now would be dried up by late August.  That just didn't seem possible...but, it also didn't seem possible that it would ever warm up enough for people to enjoy the swimming pool they have in the park, either.  If you saw and heard the amount of water flowing over these falls, you would have a hard time believing that just like I did.   

Only as I posted these first two pictures here back to back did I realize something pretty cool...I took a photo of the very spot that's on the park sign.  Isn't that awesome?!!

We spent the day driving and walking and enjoying the park.  Our check in time for Curry Village was at 5 pm.  We had all afternoon with no schedule but that of wherever our footsteps led us. 
We hiked to Vernal Falls...the hike there was just as much fun as reaching our destination.  We saw so much along the way.  One of the favorites was this Stellar Jay that flew along with us.  He'd fly from perch to perch and lead the way to the falls.  Those birds are beautiful...and fast.  It's almost as if he knew I was preparing to take his photo for he wouldn't rest long enough for me to get a really good photo of him.
The waterfalls we saw from the pathway were beautiful.  As were the mountains, the stunning views of the valley, and the cute little squirrel who was sitting on a rock munching on a nut.
 Creation exploded with God's glory everywhere you looked.  Only the things that man added along the way would take away from what was otherwise perfect.
Yosemite is huge!  The things we did were in the Valley part of the park.  You could easily spend days there and not run out of hikes to take or new things to see.  We had some funny moments along the way.  After checking into our Curry Village tent cabin and placing everything that had a fragrance to it in a the bear proof locker, we set off to go to the evening church services at the Valley Chapel.  We had about 20 minutes to get there and on the map it seemed that it would be enough.  We had passed the chapel coming in earlier in the day.  It was just past the "Swinging Bridge".  On our park map we could see reality we couldn't get there from here.  Seriously.  It was on a one way road and from where we were the road went in the wrong direction.  After missing the acceptable time to even arrive late to church, we took the road that led you to the park exits and finally had gone far enough north to head back south and pass the chapel.  All we could do was laugh at that point.  At least we knew we weren't crazy for not being able to read a park map.
We had two nights in in Curry Village and the second in the Yosemite Lodge.  Our tent cabin was a tent on a platform with a lightbulb hanging from the ceiling, 3 twin beds, and one full sized bed.  A padlock kept out others when you weren't home and a bear proof locker just outside your door held all of your food/toiletry items to help keep the bears out, too.  Our tent cabin was a stone's throw away from the Village Lounge...a room with a fireplace, outlets, couches, tables and chairs...people were in there eating, chatting, going online, charging their whatevers, and just relaxing.  We invited some other kids to join in an UNO game with was fun meeting new people and sharing about our adventures.
The boys and Scott went out for the evening Ranger program while I stayed in the lounge to wait for my camera battery and cell phone to finish charging.  By the time I went out to join them, I could see the lightning off in the distance.  Alex was up on stage being the Ranger's helper during his talk about rock climbing.  I could see Alex liking rock climbing one day...just so he could say he's done it if for no other reason.
Yes, indeed, the forecast was correct and rain moved in overnight.  A cold (in the 30's), rainy night in a tent cabin with no heat does not make for a great night's sleep for me.  Not at all.  It was a long night and I was awake for most of it.  I probably should have gotten up to see if the lounge was still open just so I could warm up, but I was afraid I'd be getting up and wet for no reason, so I just shivered where I was.  
Morning did come finally and after some hot cocoa and shower I felt like life was returning to my body.  I had packed for chilly weather, not necessarily for wet and cold.  There's a difference.  On my way back from the shower, I saw Scott and the boys at the morning Ranger program.  Tim had just gotten off stage from helping with this one...he played the part of John Muir in a play narrated by the Ranger.  He was pretty excited about being the helper!
I went on back to the tent and started packing up our was time to get moving or the tiredness would catch up with me.  I packed up our few things and walked them out to the car while Scott and the boys walked around for awhile.  The rain had subsided and it was trying to warm the time we left Curry Village, it was in the 40's.  Oy Vey!
We drove over to the Village visitor center area where there's more to see and do.  The boys picked out some postcards for family back home so they wrote them and we went to the post office in the Village.  They thought that it was pretty cool that Yosemite had it's own post office...and I did, too.
By the time we were through visiting the Village area, we could check in to our Lodge room.  Oh, I was so excited at the thought of being warm that night!!!  
We moved our things into the room and then headed out to the trail that led to Yosemite Falls.  It was just a short walk from the Lodge.  You could hear the falls as well as see them from the parking lot.  The sound reminded me of a low flying jet's rumble as they pass overhead.  One of the rangers said that there's more water in the falls this year than there's been in 30 years.  Perfect timing if you like waterfalls...which, thankfully, I do.
We walked with the rest of society to see Yosemite Falls up close and personal.  I had thought that a Monday would be less crowded than the weekend, but it seemed more so instead.  A lady who visits the park every year said that the crowd wasn't anything like it would be in another month or two.  Probably 3 times the people will be there then.  I can't imagine where they'll all fit.
As for the Falls, it was still hard to believe that what I was seeing won't be visible in a couple of months.  Unbelievable is putting it mildly.  As you came closer to the Lower Falls, the breeze created by the falling water carried with it spray from the Falls itself.  Between my fingers freezing and my camera lens being covered with water in just a couple of seconds of being near the Falls, it's needless to say I didn't stand there and ooh and ahh for very long at all.  Just long enough to snap a few photos and hope the lens wasn't too speckled with water. 

After Yosemite Falls, the boys and I went for a bus ride in order to walk to Mirror Lake yet that afternoon.  There's a free shuttle bus that takes you from point to point to point in the Valley so you don't have to drive yourself or walk everywhere.  It had cleared up some and the temp was in the 50's by that afternoon, so it was a nice time for a walk.
The photos you see of Mirror Lake must be taken when the water stops flowing.  There wasn't much of a mirror reflection happening because the water was flowing into and out of the lake rather quickly.  Still a gook hike and beautiful part of the park to see. 
An interesting turn of events took place upon our arriving back at our room at the Lodge.  We had to change rooms due to a water main break which left us without water.  It took some time and patience, but Scott managed to get the manager to understand that staying in our current room without a working bathroom even at a lower c
ost would not be a good solution for our family nor would putting us up at a hotel 30 miles out of the park.  Moving to a new room worked out just fine.  I'm glad they agreed.  From our new room's porch you could see Yosemite Falls and even hear them when inside.  It was the perfect sound for drifting off to sleep.

We were up and at 'em the next morning and off to our last stop, Reno, via another scenic route.  Not the first route we had mapped out because there were a few roads still closed due to snow, but a scenic one nonetheless.  Brief stops off along the way at Silver Lake and Lake Tahoe were refreshingly chilly and beautiful. 
Truthfully, I was tired of living out of a suitcase and ready to be headed home.  The kids enjoyed the Circus Circus Hotel's Midway games and shows.  I enjoyed the idea that I'd soon be back in my own bed. 
Turns out it was one more night in a hotel in Phoenix before that would happen.  4 flights and 39 hours after arriving in the Reno airport to fly home did we land in Atlanta.  Flying standby always has its ups and downs.
It was good trip, but it was great to be home!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

...with a chance of rain

Now, where was I on this tale of tales?  Oh, yes, just leaving Death Valley...finally.  I must say that I quoted Psalm 23 several times throughout our journey in DV...especially the part, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death...".  It just fit.
On the outskirts of Death Valley, you run into what almost seems like a ghost town.  It's a mining town.  If the mine ever leaves, it will be a ghost town.  There are actually two little towns that rely on the mine for existence.  I was saddened by the conditions in which people lived.  Maybe they are happy there; one could only speculate.  It was almost creepy as you drove through...very depressing to say the least.  I was very happy to find ourselves in Ridgecrest with running water, a RiteAid, and a really good Mexican restaurant. 
Yes, it was good to be among the living once again.
We enjoyed the continental breakfast in our hotel before heading out for our day's journey to and through Sequoia and King's Canyon National Parks en route to our next resting area, the Snow Line Lodge.  I don't know if there's any other route, but we definitely took the scenic one.  There were some interesting and fun places to stop off and have some fun along the way.  Lake Isabella was the first of many.  The cloud cover over the water didn't take away from the beauty of the area at all.  
A little further down the road we came to a little town that compares to GA's own Helen.  It exists for the sole purpose of being a mountain/river getaway.  So many camping, fishing, and rafting by/down the Kern River.  Those rafting were all in wet suits.  That water was flowing cold.  We stopped and enjoyed feeding the trout at the local hatchery.  Free and fun entertainment!  It was the dry option in the river city. :)

The next few hours of our day were spent winding around corners and switchbacks in the mountains.  If you didn't like the direction you were headed all you had to do is wait five minutes and it would change.  Literally.  The weather didn't, though, for it was consistently cloudy and chilly the entire day...until we even were high enough in the mountains to even find snow still on the ground.  I knew it was inevitable, but, still, snow in June?  Really?!
Snow, sequoias, waterfalls, and rocks surrounded us as we traveled along.  We ate lunch at a little hole in the wall, Nelson's, somewhere in the middle of a mountain.  It was really good!  Maybe I was just thankful it wasn't PB&J again for lunch. :)  
Just after lunch I started noticing blooming yucca plants on the mountainsides.  Not just your ordinary yucca plants...blooming yucca plants on the upside of 7+ feet tall.  They looked like trees.  
       In my wanting to photograph a yucca plant tree, Scott pulled over at a spot that not only held many a yucca, but also a treat of a waterfall that we could hike down to without much of a problem.  Two for the price of one sale out in the middle of nowhere.  Yay!  Inbetween all of these treats, to pass the time in the car, I was immersed in my book, "The Last Pirate".  It took place in sunny and warm Florida...a distinct  
contrast to where I was at the moment.  It was a really good book, btw.  I so enjoy authors that have the ability to take you to where they want you with their words.  It was that kind of book.  Anyway, a few hours later, we emerge from the mountains and find ourselves surrounded by a different type of trees.  We were in the orange groves of California.  The nickname, "Sunny California" was on vacation, however.  But the oranges made me smile and be thankful that we were out of the mountains for the moment.  A right turn up ahead took us right back into the mountains and into Sequoia National Park.  Thankfully it was Saturday and there weren't workers actually working on the road, but we still had to manuever around one lane roads up in the mountains...and, wait our turn for a one lane bridge.  It was kind of scary now that I let myself think about it...remember, I was on a boat on the breezy shores of Florida through this at the time. :)  I did put down my book long enough to start spying some very large trees among the others.  Those sequoias are no joke!  The small ones are enormous and the big ones...well, they are just that, BIG!  It was fun walking around in the land of giants.  It puts things in perspective, really.  I enjoyed hearing and reading some of John Muir's thoughts as we went through the visitor center.  One that really caught my attention..."No wonder the hills and groves were God's first temples, and the more they are cut down and hewn into cathedrals and churches, the farther off and dimmer seems the Lord himself."  Also as we went through the land of trees, another verse kept coming to mind.  "You will indeed go out with joy and be peacefully guided; the mountains and the hills will break into singing before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands." (Isaiah 55:12) The sounds of the forests were beautiful. Creation praising it's Creator. I was right along with them thanking God for the opportunity to see more of His wonders. As we walked on snow covered trails, shivered in the rain, and took in the magnitude of it all I was overcome with joy that I was there. 

As we were leaving Sequoia Nat'l Park and headed toward our stop for the night, I was looking forward to a quaint little mountain stay.  It didn't take long to figure out quaint ain't the word for where we stayed (forgive my rhymed too well not to use it).  How do I describe the Snow Line Lodge?  Good intentions.  That about sums it up.  Mind you, it's the middle of nowhere CA, between two national parks, on a rainy day/night after a long day of driving in the mountains.  You would have desired quaint too.  Ms. Cindy has taken on the task of reviving an old bar/lodge that has a history behind it...I'm not really sure of all of that history, nor am I sure if I want to know all of it.  The rooms are upstairs with a common area downstairs.  The rooms are tidy and clean...warm and dry.  The downstairs is a mixture of personal items, an old bar area, an out of tune piano, and a black cat named "Knuckles"...all warmed by a wood burning stove.  That last item I loved!  Ms. Cindy made me some hot cocoa, too.  That was a very welcome warmth to my wind chilled soul.
The rains poured down outside, the heat poured out of our room's space heater, and I finished my book before turning out the light.  It was a day among days and one I won't ever forget.          

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

unseasonably cool...

Upon the boys receiving their Junior Ranger/Paleontologist bagdes from Ranger Ron at the Grand Canyon, we head out for the Hoover Dam.  Maybe I was tired, maybe because it was a week ago (or a little of both), but I don't remember much about the drive or scenery between the two places until we got to the Route 66 signs.  By then, the scenery reminded me alot of what we saw on our road trip last year, but it was more interesting because we were on Route 66.  Historic Route 66.  And, Tim promptly took his Cars cars out of his backpack and started playing with them right on cue.  I was the one to choose the dinner stop, so I naturally chose the Route 66 Diner.  It was great food and alot of fun sitting at the counter with the boys on those infamous spinning stools. :)
For this trip, I did something I don't often do...I brought the camcorder.  Really, it was probably more of a burden than a blessing, but time will tell after we watch the movies of our trip on it someday.  And most likely laugh out loud at what we filmed.
Anyway, as we were on the road to the Hoover Dam/By Pass Bridge, I had the camera rolling.  First attempt. Epic failure.  Couldn't see the dam from the new bridge.  The sides were too high.  (Probably a good thing so no one wrecks staring at the dam while driving.)  Second attempt.  Failure again because we weren't (translated, I wasn't) going to hike up a dirt mountain to get to the bridge to walk to the middle of it to photograph the dam.  (Will probably regret that choice one day, but at the time, I was spent).  Third attempt.  Success!  Perfect setting, including having to round a bend in order for the new bridge to fill up the windshield, as we first caught a glance of it.
Now, as to why we didn't walk over to the dam and stand on top of it while parked near it, I don't know.  But we didn't and were okay with this decision at the time.  It was a huge dam, with lots of construction projects still going on around it, and a security stop even. 
We took photos and we moved on to Vegas, Baby.
Las Vegas...what can I say that hasn't already been said by someone else?  I've been to Vegas before.  Lots of people, lots of things to see, eat and do.  If you want to pay for it.  I know it's called Sin City, (I think it thrives on that nickname), but there's a little bit more to Las Vegas than the casino industry and show girls.
Walking the strip is fun (and free).  Lots of lights glowing and blinking at night.   (McDonald's big yellow "M" even has lights on it.)  People from all over the world.  Good ice cream.  Cool stores to browse that you don't find just anywhere, M&M's World and FAO Schwarz are just two of them.  And nothing can beat the Bellagio's water fountains that dance to music.  I've seen it before, but we weren't up for making it there this trip...time change does that to a person.  One hotel has a show where two pirate ships battle it even sinks.  It's a favorite attraction of mine.  Another fun thing to do is the Freemont Street Experience.  Above your head exists a canopy of lights that when combined with music can hold your attention while you marvel at the wonder of it all.  This year's show wasn't as awesome as the one I saw before, but to see how it all comes together is rather cool.   
Our hotel for our night's stay, South Point, had a 64 lane bowling alley inside of it and it was open 24 hours a day.  Craziness!  There were several restaurants inside of it, had a $5.99 breakfast buffet.  That's cheaper than Golden Corral by far and it was good so the boys and Scott say.  I had a granola bar once we hit the road. 
As Scott and the boys went out for bowling and breakfast, I listened to the local news while getting ready for the day.  Whenever the weatherman gave his report, I cringed.    Unseasonably cool weather...with a chance of rain coming in from the northwest.  We were headed northwest of Vegas.  This was suppposed to be my "warm weather treat" kind of vacation.
  I was not supposed to be chilly while in Vegas...but at least it was sunny.  The sunshine and cool temps made walking the strip that morning a great time!  We showed Tim the Eiffel Tower and even took the elevator to the top.  The views were stunning!  The boys couldn't get over the size of the Bellagio's "pool".  They wanted to go swimming in it, and were shocked that something that size would just be for fountains.  I honestly never realized how big it was either until I looked down upon it.  Crazy big...just for fountains. :) 
We made it out of Vegas with our retirement savings and college funds still existing (in spite of paying $16 for 3 ice cream cones) and headed for Death Valley. :)  Our goal was to reach Ridgecrest, CA before nightfall.
Death Valley is an experience that keeps on going and going for miles and miles.  Somehow, the Visitor Center lies a couple of hours inside the park by my guesstimation. (it certainly seems that way anyway).  Some want to stay and hike and explore every nook and cranny.  We just wanted to experience some of the sights as we drove on through...and it worked for us rather well.
Two things to keep in mind about Las Vegas and Death Valley.  The dry heat is no joke.  We were all suffering minorly from dry noses and throats no matter how much
water we were consuming.  Poor Alex was the worst off...and in the middle of Death Valley I finally found something to take the edge off his sore throat.  Chloraseptic Spray for $12 something...2.5 times the amount I would have paid normally, but it was all they had for a little guy in tears because of the pain.  Two things I'll never go West without again...decent tasting throat lozenges and nasal saline spray.  Both of which I had in my medicine cabinet at home, I just never thought to take them with us.  I won't make that mistake again.  I already pack everything else from the cabinet...two more items won't matter.
As for being in the lowest point in the USA, and usually the hottest...our car's thermometer never read over 99 degrees.  And I never broke a sweat while walking up to the lookout points.  It was really comfortable weather.  And, I liked it...alot. 
The sweetest thing ever was hearing Tim walking down the path from Zabriskie Point singing, "Deep, deep deep as the sea.  High, high, high as the sky.  Wide, wide, wide as the ocean blue is Jesus' love for you!"  Everyone could hear him and it didn't matter a bit.  My little missionary at heart singing praises about His Savior.  LOVE IT!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

seeing something new

There's comfort in the familiar...but there's excitement in the new.  As the days counted down to this trip, it was hard to contain my excitement.  As we were wrapping things up in Phoenix, getting ready to head north to the Grand Canyon, it was hard not to smile.
In a few hours I would be standing on the rim of a mile deep, 277 miles long, and up to 18 miles wide canyon.
The Grand Canyon.
As a very flambouant Ranger Ron put it, there is only one Grand Canyon.  It's not the grand canyon of someplace.  It's The Grand Canyon.  Period.  It's the Canyon that other canyons want to grow up to be like. 
On our way in to the park, I started wondering if it would be as grand as it's name.  We had come all this way, made a long drive sort of out of the way to just see it.  "What if's..." kept running through my head.  Those doubts couldn't dampen my excitement, though, but for only a second.  Then I'd be smiling again.
We entered via the south entrance.  It was closer than any other from where we were, so we went with it.  Sometimes you have to go on what works for the moment.  We only had a few hours to enjoy seeing what we could before moving on to the Hoover Dam and to Vegas for the night.
There was a haze in the distance, but the wind was brisk and the sun bright.  A beautiful day to be hiking around the rim.  With every step one direction or the other brought different light to the same view.  It made the crevices, the rock walls, the canyon look new with each step.  Add the wispy clouds that made a rainbow shape over the Grand Canyon and one has a memory to remember. 
We spent quite a bit of time at the rim and at the visitor center...the IMAX movie they showed was breathtaking and a good way.  We hiked to another view point on the rim before heading to the geology center to hear a ranger program so the boys could get their Junior Ranger badges.  Ranger Ron's 13 minute talk may just be my favorite memory of the visit.  He was hilarious and made the view of the Canyon behind him come to life. 
One word to describe my visit...grand!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Family and the Late Night Snack

We awoke rather early that first morning of was nice and cool as we prepared for our day.  We had a light breakfast at the hotel coffee shop basically by ourselves due to the early rising hour.  We strolled by the pool to check the water temperature and see the new waterslide awaiting our attention.  It looked so inviting!  On went our stroll around the resort, taking time, of course, to stop and smell the roses along the way.   
Our room came with complimentary driving range passes and golf cart access, so we took the boys out for a morning golf adventure before the heat of the day came.  I joined in on the fun at the driving range and in spite of using junior right handed clubs it was alot of fun.  After enjoying the cool morning of golfing, we let the boys go swimming and try out the waterslide before heading over to Scott's great aunt and uncle's house for a visit and lunch.
There are two kinds of family where even if first meeting you feel as if you've known them all of your life...or one where you meet, get through an awkward few moments of politeness and look for the quickest exit route.  Visiting with Aunt Pat and Uncle Walter is always great!  So causal and yet so informative of the history of their lives...of our family's life.  It's a time we all look forward to.  The boys love chatting with them and telling them stories, too.  Scott's dad's cousin Susan was there, too, and we so enjoyed meeting her.  She was so warm to us and the boys for having never met three of us before.  She was there helping her parents for a few weeks.  The boys took to her right away and enjoyed the golf cart rides she gave them to and from lunch.  After lunch then back at the house, she treated them to a variety of flavors of ice cream to sample and choose from for dessert.  One she introduced me to was from Ben & Jerry's called "Late Night Snack".  Guess what's in it...caramel and chocolate covered potato chip clusters.  I had to try it just to see what it was like.  Those were sure enough real potato chips inside that chocolate coating...tasted like Lays even.  Not my kind of combination for ice cream, though, but it was fun trying a new flavor.  
After our wonderful visit with our Roth family, we headed back for the Wigwam for some more splashes in the pool and an early bedtime.  After a little bit in the pool, I left Scott and the boys to their water games and I headed to Walmart to gather our food and water supply for the days ahead.  Alex was the only one awake when I got back around 7 pm Phoenix time.  The otherwise quiet city had just come to life and we were headed to bed.  Such is the life of an East Coast visitor to the West.

Friday, June 10, 2011

27 hour Birthday!

On my birthday, we had a whirlwind of a day!  Finished our last day of school in the morning and by 2:30 pm we were in the airport all checked in for our flight to Phoenix to begin our 8 days of vacation.  Because it's a 3 hour time change from ATL to PHX, my birthday indeed lasted 27 hours...and I loved every minute of it! 
Having missed our normal dinner hour while in flight, we went out to celebrate, once we landed.  Needing to find something convenient to where we were, we settled on Ruby Tuesdays.  They brought me a plate of cupcakes at the end of our meal...two carrot cake and two Red Velvet.  The carrot cake cupcake I had was delicious! 
Poor Alex was suffering from exhaustion and a stopped up ear from the landing.  Tim, exhausted as well, fell asleep on the way to our hotel, The Wigwam, and didn't even remember getting on the golf cart for a ride to our room from the parking lot even though he was alert enough to walk over to the golf cart himself. 
Needless to say, we all slept well that night!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Vacation Views

Grand Canyon

Lake Mead

Hoover Dam ByPass Bridge

Dante's View in Death Valley
Zabriskie Point in Death Valley

Lake Isabella

King's Canyon
Silver Lake

Lake Tahoe