We're a six person homeschooling family--complete with one 62 pound "puppy" and two grumpy part-Siamese cats-- on a cross-country pilgrimmage to a new brand new life (in the dead of winter). Come along for the ride! Is there a Starbucks near here?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Foo's favorite memories

I just realized that other day the being a moderator on the site means I can post.

Some of my favorite memories on the trip:

Calico ghost town: Mom handed me the camera and told me to take pictures, which made me extremely happy :). I love taking pictures, and making people pose. The picture below was my favorite. There where two groups for a while (boo, and mom) and (dad, the man child, and the little one), so I had to run back and forth getting pictures of each group.

(One day I'll get all of the pictures from my camera on here)

The Hoover Dam: In the picture below my mom told us to turn around as we where walking, so that she could get a picture, and boo and I turned around so fast she wasn't able to catch it. She just got us laughing after she said "I didn't get it. Do it again". The actual Dam was amazing. It was much bigger than I thought it was going to be, and I had no idea that it was on the border of Arizona and Nevada. Our favorite joke was "thanksgiving 2020 remember that one road trip when mom and dad made us walk all the way from Arizona to Nevada, and BACK!"

Jelly Belly factory: This was the first indicator to us kids that this trip was more "fly by the seat of our pants" than we thought. The factory was probably one of the best things we did. We got FREE stylish hats (they where even ajustable hytech...Yes?), FREE jelly beans, and FREE fun....Cheesy...Yes?. We bought some belly flops as well....Which boo and I are now fighting over for which ones we want for our "healthy" brunch...

The first morning: Again, mom gave us the camera and told us to "go take pictures". So we decided to kid around, and have a little fun. This picture is for all of my fellow Napoleon Dynamite lovers out there.

"Now take your fist and slowly easy it under your chin.....Now tilt your head....Picture Sea Horses...."

Fisherman's wharf: Fisherman's wharf was by far the best place we went. I got to see Alkatraz (didn't get to go in it though :(...) we hit all of the hot spots, and joked around the entire time, oh yes & FREE chocolate!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I'll be back...

I'm headed into a busy few days as we end our trip and begin to settle into our new life in Illinois.

I'm not done posting about our trip, but my internet is iffy for the next few days.

Check back next week to see how we completed our trip and any last minute thoughts from the road.

After we arrive, I plan to leave this site up for awhile...just in case any of you are interested in your own RV journey across this glorious country! I should be posting regularly over at momisright again soon.

And please, please, please leave us comments! I've heard from many of you that you are following our pilgrammage and that you even read momisright...jot a note in the comments of either blog. I get an email when notifying me when you do and it always brings a smile to my face!

Aloha for now....

Favorite on the Road Games

TLO adores this peg game from Cracker Barrel. The Boy does not believe that I made one just like this in eighth grade shop class.

Rush Hour by Think Fun is a HUGE hit! We had to go to Barnes and Noble to buy more cards to expand the game. Check it out...you'll love it, too!

Three States in One Day!

We started the morning in Texas.

We drove most of the day through Oklahoma...where the winds really do come sweeping down the plains (and onto the highway...yikes!)

We ended up in Joplin, Missouri.

En route, we were able to make a stopover at the Gleeson's, of the Gleeson Blogomerate fame, in OKC, a mere few blocks off of our route.

We were treated to warm, friendly hospitality and a yummy "Gleeson Goulash." I'll post the recipe over at momisright when I get it. It was kind of a shredded beef in almost a bbq sauce, with noodles. It was fantastic and was such a welcome break from our usual fast food and on the road sandwich lunches.

Their kids are just as adorable in real life as they are on-line! And Sean and Phoebe seemed like old friends.

Here are a few pics from our visit:

The Boys: Mitch, holding Gil, hanging out with Bede.

Faith and Jenna.

Our Oklahoma flag pic....featuring real, live Okies!

What a darling bunch of kids!

Route 66 Stop--"U Drop Inn" Shamrock, TX

Here's a flag pic of the kids at the "U Drop Inn" in Shamrock, TX.

This building has been lovingly and beautifully restored and is a shining example of Art Deco design. It used to be a Conoco station as well as a restaurant and Greyhound Bus station.

I met a charming docent when I visited and enjoyed talking with her. She told me they had received a federal grant to help with the renovations. If only more of the old Route 66 memorials could be so well-preserved!

Super Supper Deal!

We discovered that Cracker Barrel does a family meal to go!

For around $35, we got enough food for six of us to have dinner, plus about four of us to have a second "C.O.R" dinner (Clean Out the Refrigerator) the next night. (So, enough for 8, easily, if not more).

It was so good!

You pick a main dish of either Chicken 'n Dumplings, Meatloaf or Roast Beef and then get three generous portions of "vegetables." We added a fourth (fried apples). You also get a baker's dozen of either biscuits, corn muffins or a loaf of sourdough bread.

We are sorry we didn't discover this earlier in the trip. A well-rounded home-made meal with little effort (and lots of leftovers) is such a God-send!

God Bless Texas!

Both of the older girls were born in Texas. Foo in 1989 in San Antonio. Boo in 1991 in College Station. Here, they return to their "roots."

The Amarillo KOA also had the added attraction of...

Wild bunnies!

A-L-B-urquerque to Amarillo, TX

We stayed in Alburquerque, NM for one night and then moved on to Amarillo, TX.

Know what these are?


Cadillac Ranch, just west of Amarillo. Another piece of Route 66 memorabilia.

For the record...Hubby was unimpressed and wouldn't let the kids sign the cars. His response? "They had been vandalized." Well...DUH, Honey. That's the idea!!!

The kids were freezing in this picture and didn't want to stay and pose in funny ways with the cars.

The Winner of the BEST Gift Shop!

Located at the junction of Highway 285 and Interstate-40. (Actually, I think it's considered a Trading Post.)

I could have spent a fortune here! Fortunately for Hubby, it started snowing a lot and we rushed off to try outrun the storm (we did).

My Indian Blanket

I think I've mentioned how much Foo and I have enjoyed the great gift shops across this great land of ours.

I purchased this Indian Blanket in New Mexico. They are softer than I expected, even though this is an inexpensive "tourist" one. The handmade Native American ones (about $400-$600 and up) were so soft and gorgeous!

It's been a wonderful lap blanket in my chilly front seat.

And, no. It is NOT a "Native American" blanket. It is an "INDIAN" blanket.


"I'm Mommy..."

Payton has this way of doing things and then looking at us like we're the crazy ones.

Like she'll sit in a seat when someone moves and then look at them as if she is trying to convince us, "But, I'm Mommy. I'm supposed to sit here." Or, "I'm Daddy. That was my hamburger I just ate."

We've had a lot of fun with this on the trip.

It might help to know what Payton's "voice" sounds like. She sounds like a female Goliath, from the old Lutheran Davey and Goliath cartoons.


We'll show this to them when they grow up, to prove to them that they really did like each other.

Life on the Road

Foo and The Little One watching "A Little Princess" on DVD.

All the kids chillin' in the "dining room."

Boo helping The Boy check email.

The Painted Desert

The Painted Desert, part of the Petrified Forest National Park.

These formations are called the "Teepees."

At the northern end of the park, there is a visitor's center that features a free 20 minute informational movie. It was excellent!

6 stars!!!

Another Petrified Forest

We call this the "Album Cover" photo.

Interested in a Family RV Trip?

You really, really must check out Lolo's Extreme Cross-Country RV Trips!!! This great site chronicles seven summers of RV adventures by Herb, Lolo and their two boys. They were my inspiration.

Do not miss it!

No...The Petrified Forest is Not Scared (or really a forest, either)

All over Holbrook, you see "Rock Stores." This seemed funny at first. They sell gorgeous pieces of polished and unpolished petrified wood, gems and fossils. Very cool.

There is petrified wood all over Holbrook, even next to the KOA bathroom. Stone-like pieces of wood that you'd swear were poured into tree-shaped molds.

The Petrified Forest is a National Park (tip: Glad we bought our National Parks pass at The Grand Canyon. $50 annually.) It also features the views of the Painted Desert and ancient petroglyphs. We really enjoyed our visit here!

More Route 66 from Holbrook, AZ

Gettin' Our Kicks....

On Route 66!

The end of our trip will parallel "The Mother Road" or Route 66. Here are some of our pics from Holbrook, AZ:

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Mesa to Holbrook, AZ

We took Rt. 87 to Rt. 277 to Rt. 377 and found the entire route to be smooth. It was an evening drive and we had crystal clear skies.

Holbrook KOA was deserted, except for us, but the bathrooms and showers were still top-notch.

We had Cruise America winterize our second RV, seeing we are headed north and it is the dead of winter. So...no water for the rest of our trip!

We have dish pans in the sinks, have gallons of water for cooking, bottles of water for drinking and heavily depend on the campground bathrooms and frequent rest stops* along the highway for bathroom breaks.

And I have created the perfect on the road potty system...stay tuned for pictures (of the system, not demonstrations!)

*These stops also have the added benefit of usually being attached to gift shops, therefore realizing the trip that Foo and I are actually on...The Great American Gift Shop Tour).

Pets on the Road

The pets have been doing pretty well on the road (Payton is feeling much better today and, in fact, is terrorizing Kahlua as I type.)

Kahlua hides under Hubby's seat or in one of the upper cupboards, while Kona sleeps on the top bunk (the highest spot in the RV, of course). Payton now settles down on her cushion between the two front seats.

The cats received something called a Purr-Pad (not pictured) for Christmas and these have been great! They settle right down on them and I think it makes them feel more comfortable on the road.

Change in plans...

Because we've realized we need to arrive at our final destination by this Friday, we had to cut out a detour to Tuscon where we were supposed to visit our friends, Laura and Kelly.

Now, they made the trip to Hawaii twice (three times for Kelly) while we lived there and we came within an hour and a half and couldn't get down to see them. We suck, I know.

But Laura and I are going to make plans to get away some place fun now that I'm on the mainland. In fact, I'm going to be meeting up with so many friends (Laurie...Missy...you all know who you are) that my vacation may never end!

Sorry, Laura and Kelly! See you soon, though...I promise!


Outback Restaurant "to go." Highly recommend the Steak Salad...yummy!

Mesa, AZ

Apache Trail/Mesa, AZ Flag

Psst..it's warm here!

New "Home"

*Penguin not included.

The Grand Canyon to Mesa, AZ--a loooooong drive

We drove from Williams to The Grand Canyon and then down to Mesa, AZ in one day.

This was a moutainous drive, in which we reached 8000 ft. at one point. It was also a winding road, that gave at least some of us car-sickness.

Still, beautiful. Entire patches of snow-white birch trees in the forest. Snowy moutain peaks. Beautiful cliffs.

We spent the night in Mesa so that we could turn over the "Roll in to AZ" RV to trade it for our "Roll out of AZ" RV.

Que es eso? (sorry, I couldn't make the upside-down question mark)

We are actually doing schoolwork on our trip (although not as much as I would like).

Every day, we start our trip learning Spanish with Spanish in Ten Minutes a Day.

If you'd like to know where the table is...just ask us!

Adios! (Again...can't get the character map to work, so no upside-down exclamation point, either.)

Knitting Lessons

This year for Christmas, Boo knitted all of our gifts. She knitted most of us wonderfully warm scarves for the wintery weather and I received thirty-five knitted dishcloths!

She gave The Boy knitting lessons, yarn and needles. He's knitting a blue scarf for himself and is doing quite well. Watch for a photo of his progress.

Grand Canyon Flag

It IS a Grand Canyon!

We left our snowy Williams, AZ campsite and drove about an hour north to The Grand Canyon. We stopped at the National Geographic Visitor's Center outside of the park and saw an IMAX film about the history of the Grand Canyon. It rated 5 stars by the family. (I thought it was slightly corny, although informative.)


In every photo or movie that I've ever seen of The Grand Canyon, it looks sunny, reddish, and, well, if not hot, at least warm. And I always thought AZ, in general, was a hot place. Again...IT'S NOT!!!

The Grand Canyon was magnificent. Everything you'd expect (although I've established it's at a high altitude and, therefore, chilly.) Gorgeous beyond belief.

I approached my first view of the Canyon in awe. I actually teared up a little, realizing that I'm forty years old and this is the first (and who knows) maybe the last time I'll ever see this creation of staggering natural beauty.

The Boy walked right up next me and spit right over the edge.


Vegas to Williams, AZ

We left Las Vegas, NV and headed for Williams, AZ. Gorgeous views, as usual.

I have realized that my geographic knowledge was severely lacking. I grew up in Northern IL. It's flat there.

After I married, I moved to San Antonio, TX for three years and then to Bryan/College Station, TX for two more. With the exception of the Hill Country, it's pretty much flat there, too.

I had no clue that NV, AZ, and NM are not flat! We reached an elevation of 6700 ft. above sea level in Williams and I spent a sleepless night afraid our water systems would freeze.