Sunday, July 31, 2011

But enough about us...

I know there are several of you (we won't name any names...) who just want to know how this 'little' guy is holding up.
He's doing just fine. Naps, sunbathing, 'swimming', eating/licking everything he can and getting lots of love from everyone in sight! What's not to love about this guy?!

 (waiting for the kitty to come out to 'play', he would actually sit/lay there ALL day)
He even got to be somewhat friendly with Kyle & Ashley's kitten! He tried to eat her, or at least marinate her in saliva several times, but after lots of coaching they bonded over a meal. He's a whole new doggie now! Hmm...maybe I could swing getting a little kitty!!! ;)

Homeward Bound

Got the truck running smooth again!! We decided to begin heading home, truck repairs took a good portion of our gas money...hopefully we can do a northern states trip another time. It's a bit disappointing, but we still had an adventure! Not exactly the kind of adventure we planned on, but it was still a break from real life (sort of...)!! I kind of think it was all part of the Master Plan for me to reconnect with my cousin Ashley. We had such an amazing time and Cody and I couldn't have asked for a better place to have a motor blow out.

On Friday we said goodbye (again, but this time with no tears) for now and Cody and I made the trek back to Cali. We're going to take a week or so to head up "The PCH" as it's called down here in So-Cal.  But first we had to stop in Long Beach for another over due visit with the Rutters. It's been a full weekendof hiking & good eats!
The guys crammed into the back of the car for a quick & yummy bite at a little seafood restaurant.
MALIBUUUUU! Ahh so nice to see the beach again!
Hiked up to Escondido waterfalls in Malibu--I think? Could have been Santa Monica...I don't know, we drove around a lot.
So that's that! We should be home fairly soon!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Colorado Whirlwind

While waiting for our second new motor last week, we decided to fly out to Colorado. In our trip plan we were supposed to have been there all week visiting with Cody's sister, Sarah and her boyfriend John, as well as Cody's grandmother  who flew in from Florida. So we flew out to Denver and spent the rest of the week cramming in all the fun things they had planned for our visit. It really is a beautiful state, we had a blast! Here's a day-by-day recap:

On Wednesday, 7/20, we flew to Denver and made our way back to John & Sarah's home in Pueblo, CO. On the way stopped at Pike's Peak, but it was only one hour 'till they closed the park so that was a no-go. Got back on the road and decided to check out Garden of the Gods. It's a really nice park with lots and lots of trails and humourus rock formations (didn't see the kissing camels though, I guess not everyone 'gets it'..) But we got to walk around & climb around a bit and enjoy double digit temperatures (as opposed to the 110'F in AZ!!). 

That's Sarah & Cody climbing up the rock, by the way Sarah is PRO in flip-flops! From there John took us to his favorite pizza place in Pueblo, called Do Drop Inn. It was really good! I guess the use honey in their dough recipe so the pizza has a subtle sweet taste.

On Thursday we went up to Royal Gorge Park and I let Cody literally take my life into his hands. Cody & Sarah talked me into the ginormous swing at Royal Gorge which basically swings you out a few thousand feet over the canyon.

After that we checked out the rest of the park, they had bison, elk and a nearly veritcal tram to take you all the way down into the canyon. And Cody found a pair of sunglasses to replace the ones that I had lost!
On our way back I saw this sign (can't remember which town it was) but it's got a list of cattle markings and who that marking belongs to. How cool is that?!! We finished the day with dinner at good friend of mine, Chili's!

Friday, we visited Bishop's Castle. Basically this guy started building a castle to live in (I think) and he got called out for not getting permits and such, so he kept on building and now its a free tourist attraction and platform for his hate for government. It was quite the castle! You can climb all around the 5 or so stories, bell tower and funky rotating globe and bridge that leads to nowhere. Now he's in the process of building a moat to keep anyone he wants to out of his castle. He's been building for 43 years, 6 so far on the moat. He's definately a talented man. The iron work, masonry and exposed beams and so on were pretty inspiring! For the most part it's very solid too! The only things I felt nervous on were the bridge at the tippy top that sways a bit when you walk on it and then it just ends and the random elevator shafts that don't appear to be in operation. And to put the icing on the cake, you get to hear Bishop yelling & ranting about Republicans, Democrats, the price of gold, the events of 9/11 and so forth as you explore his masterpiece. I must say that he certainly retains quite a wealth of information and ideas between his work ethic & know-how and theories on how our world will end and exactly who will be to blame. If you're curious here's his website (btw donations are tax deductable & you can have your name printed on some of his stained glass castle windows--if you're so inclined...):

(this dragon head is the chimney, smoke comes out of the mouth when there's a fire!)

And the rest of the day was some more exploring around the Arkansas River & Grandma made spagetti and meatballs just in time for movie night! YUM!

Saturday we returned to Denver for the day and spent the night as well since we had an early morning flight back to Phoenix on Sunday morning. Well actually, Saturday morning we were all in lazy mode, so we didn't up to Denver till 3pm! But we made it just in time for the Coors Brewery tour in Golden (just outside Denver). It was a really fun, self-guided (I think those are the best!) tour and lesson in how much goes into brewing. I also didn't realize how many beers Coors is responsible for: Keystone, Blue Moon, Killian's, Batch 19 and Colorado Native, just to name a few!

At the end of the tour you are welcome to sample up to 3 full glasses of beer or any Pepsi product. Psst-the Blue Moon Summer Blend is REALLY good! And I'm not really a beer drinker, so that should tell ya something!

We finished the day with Bloomin' Onions at Outback. 'Nuf said. It was a good day. :)

And now we are back in Az, the boys worked on the truck's new engine last night. Ashley & I were able to pry them away from the vechicle for a scrumptious meal of pulled pork sandwiches and french fries, and then Kyle made a Toberone Pie. Yep, you read that correctly. And then it was back to work for them, they just wouldn't quit. Unfortunately, the radiator got damaged and so today & tomorrow will be centered around replacing that and breaking the new engine in....will we ever have a working truck again/will we be stuck in Az FOREVER???!!! ;)

P.S. Don't tell Tanner, but Cody had some serious bonding time with Sarah's boxer, Doc. Take a look at the underbite! His face pretty much always looks like that, I laughed everytime I looked at him!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Some things are just (not) meant to be...

Well, things haven't changed all that much since our last  update. We spent a week with Kyle & Ashley celebrating 3 birthdays (Kyle, Kyle's mom & myself!), cooking & swapping recipes and getting all caught up with eachother (its been 10 years since we've visited!!). The new engine arrived Friday afternoon and Cody & Kyle spent all day Saturday (and almost all night too) putting in the new engine. Sunday they refilled all the necessary fluids (oil and junk) got our things loaded and started on our way to Alburqueque and find that something was very wrong.
Luckily (??) we had just barely reached the edge of town (how quickly it turns to desert A.K.A.  middle-of-no where.  So Kyle and the little princess came to the rescue and we got the truck towed back to the house. So now its all about trouble-shooting with the technician at the auto shop and getting good use out of the warranty that came with the engine. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Happy Jack is a Happy Place

Just had a wonderful long weekend camping in Happy Jack with my Arizonian cousin and her family. They suggested an area called Jones Crossing which is an old free-range cattle ranch, still occasionaly used. Check out the TREES! Oh, how we loved the shade!
We took a day trip to Tonto State Park which is the home of the largest natural bridge. We hiked down and explored the tunnel and pools of water within. It was amazing & totally not what you picture when you think of Arizona! It's a MUST-DO if you're ever here!

On the way back to camp we stopped in the cutest town ever (I know, you've never head me say that before...): Strawberry, Az! Here's an example of the cuteness--the permanent honey & fruit stand.
We got homemade ice cream in this cute little shop which doubled as an antique store! Yeah. amazing. Talk about a perfect combo! It was Coca-cola'd out, so that just really put it over the edge! :) And I was pleasently surprised when I ordered my PB & Chocoalte Swirled scoop "for here" and received it in a vintage glass with a real spoon!

We arrived back at camp barely beating another rain storm (this monsoon season is really something!), so we scrambled to put up the tarp again and spent the majority of the evening huddled underneath eating & playing rummy.
 Rounded off the weekend with a trip back to Strawberry in the morning for a fabulous breakfast and a tour of Kyle & Ashley's super cute home (psst--my love for old things, goodwill & flea market finds  and every kind of olive is genetic for sure)....And we still haven't left their house...two days later because um well...our truck engine kinda died. Well technically it wasn't dead yet, but let's just say we would be playing a dangerous game to keep truckin along through the desert. In the hour or so it took to drive down the mountain to their home there was this clunking/rattling/awful sounding noises coming from the engine that just grew and GREW and GREW.  So the husbands teamed up and got to excavating, found the problemo and ordered a new engine.

 And now we wait...