Monthly Archives: June 2010

The end of the road

Well, it’s the last night of our vacation.  I’m in a hotel room but my brain feels like it’s still on the interstate, chewing up mile after mile of asphalt.  Since Saturday morning, I exited Nevada, and crossed Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and half of Kentucky.  Tomorrow is the rest of Kentucky, a portion of West Virginia, Virginia, and back to North Carolina.

Somewhere today I passed 5,000 miles on the trip meter and I think I can feel every one of them in my neck and shoulders but I’m not complaining because it has been a great trip.  The kids are still in one piece and as long as I’ve kept them in Redbox movies and a daily fix of french fries, they’ve been happy.

I’ve come across a thousand places I want to live:  a farmhouse in rural Indiana, a ranch in southern Utah, on a mountaintop in Colorado, and on the plains of Kansas.  Each place I’ve come through has its own beauty and majesty and calls to a part of my heart that will forever want to wander and explore all that this world has to offer.

But one place calls me louder.

I miss my husband.


I miss my cat.

Until he brings in something dead.

I miss my pillow.

Next time I’m traveling with it.

I miss my kitchen.

And food that doesn’t come in a paper bag.

I think I’m ready to be off the road for a little while so I can process the stories and events of the last three weeks.  The word that keeps coming back to me is “unexpected”.  So much of what I saw was not as I had imagined it would be; it was fascinating to get a real sense of place and culture. 

I can’t wait to share my pictures and stories but, more importantly, I can’t wait to get home.

Have a nice day.

We resume broadcast

No, I didn’t fall over the edge of the Grand Canyon though there was certainly plenty of opportunity. It just got a little busy what with train rides, dancing the chicken dance accompanied by an accordion, getting evacuated from the Hoover Dam, meeting a bloggy buddy, and celebrating a certain trio’s 11th birthday.

I clearly have a few stories to tell.

I’m starting to drive eastward for the first time in two weeks. I’m also starting to have the first “this seemed like a good idea at the time” thoughts.

I kid.

But probably not by Tuesday.

Have a nice day.

Ten on Tuesday

1. We had our best meal in New Mexico Tuesday morning at Sophia’s Place in Albuquerque. It was also featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives and with ten tables inside and the bathroom outside and around back, it definitely qualified as a dive. The food, though, was so delicious. Mr. CPQ and I both had the huevos rancheros and the kids had breakfast burritos that were bigger than their heads.

2. We crossed the Western Continental Divide today. Funny, we crossed the Eastern Divide on the first day of our trip which seems like it was eons ago.

3. Speaking of eons, we toured the Petrified Forest and saw the remains of ancient trees littered across the ground.

Yeah, that was about as exciting as it sounds.

4. In other news, we drove past the forest fires in Flagstaff. We couldn’t see any flames, but we saw the smoke from 70 miles away.

5. I stood on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.

6. We drove past the Wigwam Motel in Holbrooke and I wish we had made reservations there. How cool would that have been?

7. We have yet to see a cactus.

8. We had dinner at the Pine Cafe in Williams. They are known for their pie.

9. Mr. CPQ had the strawberry cheesecake pie which is the single slice with the red topping on the lower right side in the picture. I had the Boston Creme.

10. I’m already planning my post-vacation diet.

Have a nice day.

Tuesday Travels

We spent Monday morning touring the Palace of the Governors and the fascinating New Mexico History Museum learning about the 400 year history of Santa Fe which was approximately 399 years too many for the boys and when I say “boys” I may or may not be including the biggest one as well.

We then went to the St. Francis Basilica and because it was the first time my Baptist children had been in a Catholic house of worship we had to take a few extra minutes to explain that the water in the basin was not for splashing nor did it contain goldfish and those things in the pews were called kneelers and no, we couldn’t blow out the lighted candles at the front of the sanctuary. Once these basics were covered, they did a great job of maintaining reverence and we had some great discussion about different ways people worship.

By this time it was almost 1:00 and Mr. CPQ was about to keel over from hunger so we went to Backroad Pizza which is a local place that had been featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and we had a ginormously large delicious pizza that you’ll have to wait and see pictures of later because I’m typing on my phone and I can only attach one picture.

(I wanted to attach several pictures of the crime scene we stumbled upon at the trading post on the Turquoise Trail but those will have to wait until I get back home. And it wasn’t a major crime but the boys were excited nonetheless and forever more they will remember this vacation as the one where the sheriff showed up.)

The day ended with a swim where everyone’s feet turned blue from a fresh paint job on the bottom of the pool and an interesting al fresco dining experience at the Church Street Cafe in Old Town Albuquerque where the waiter tripped and spilled an entire pitcher of Diet Coke all over the surface of our table only to turn around ten minutes later and drop his tray sending my combination plate sailing through the air and breaking spectacularly on the stone floor.

Tomorrow we’ll pull up stakes and drive through forest fires in Flagstaff and make our way towards the Grand Canyon where the boys will get to ride a train for the first time and I’ll get to practice saying, “Don’t get near the edge!” for the jillionth.

Have a nice day.

Santa Fe

We’re in Santa Fe this morning and I made a beeline for the Plaza Bakery. When I worked at the Glorieta Conference Center twenty years ago, it was one of my favorite places to go for ice cream and pastries. It was also the place where I ran into Arnold Schwartzenegger (no spell check – I’m typing on my phone) with Maria Shriver and Danny Devito. They were in town filming Twins and it was their off day and they were eating ice cream and wandering art galleries. (I guess if you have a bajillion dollars they’ll let you walk into fine art establishments.)

There won’t be any art galleries on our tour this morning (I’m still smarting from our last trip) but we’ll still get plenty of culture, even if it comes in the form of a green chile and cheese croissant.

Have a nice day.

In which we try to kill ourselves in one day

I’m taking the boys to meet up with my sister-in-law and her two sons in Oklahoma City to go to the zoo and wander in the 97 degree heat and look for animals that will be smarter than we are because they will have taken shelter while we stand outside and bake and say over and over again, “Aren’t we having fun, kids?”

If we survive our morning, we’re then going to the giant house of pizza and arcade games where the kids will free range and the moms will collapse set up shop at a corner booth and pass out quarters until we’re broke.  After that we’ll head over to the National Cowboy Museum because it’s indoors and cool  educational and we’ll try not to get kicked out of the museum gift shop.

Fortunately, this one shouldn’t have wind chimes.

After we’re finished there, we’re stopping by the airport to pick up reinforcements Mr. CPQ who is joining our traveling three-ring circus and I could not be happier and I have already rehearsed my “Welcome to Oklahoma” speech when I see him exit the airport doors.

It’s going to be somewhere along the lines of “Tag!  You’re it!”

Have a nice day.

You oughta be in pictures

Alternatively titled “I went through Mom’s photo albums last night”

Also alternatively titled “Not sure how to create a narrative with these pictures so I’ll let them speak for themselves”


I firmly believe that all pinatas should be larger than the birthday girl.

Rockin’ the white socks with my favorite puppy, Zorro.

Blazing the frontier of fashion in my socks and sandals…

And if any of y’all submit this to Awkward Family Photos, I’m shutting the blog down.

Have a nice day.

At the beauty school

Mom asked me this morning if I wanted to get a pedicure with her and since I’m never one to pass up an opportunity for a little pampering, I quickly agreed.  She told me I might not want to agree so fast because the place she was thinking about taking me was the local beauty school because they’d run an ad in the paper for pedicures for $9.95.

Pampering at a discount?  I’m totally in.

The person that answered the phone told us to mosey on down about 10:00 so we showed up ready to go only to find out that the technicians were scheduled to take their fifteen minute break at 10:00 and could we please just wander around the adjacent shopping center while they mentally regrouped from their morning session of “Learning how to communicate with your customers”.

I wanted to suggest that learning how to communicate the appropriate appointment time might be a good place to start but my mother gave me a look that suggested I might want to refrain from doing so.

We wandered over to Star Pharmacy and browsed the greeting card section until our new appointment time and when we returned we were warmly greeted by our nail tech who led us to her station and promptly proceeded to ask if we could please remove our own nail polish because “I just got my nails done yesterday and I don’t want to mess them up by getting them in fingernail polish remover.”  And because this is rural Oklahoma, even the instructor didn’t seem to think that was an awkward request to make and Mom and I figured that for $9.95, maybe having their customers take off their own nail polish was just a way to save on labor costs.

It reminded me of the last time I was here and Mr. CPQ and I ran over to grab a cup of coffee at the only Starbucks in town (located in the hospital lobby in case you need to know) and as he and I ordered our respective drinks, the barista rolled her eyes and said, “I don’t know why people order different drinks around here because I just make them all the same.”  

To which Mr. CPQ answered, “Then I’ll have whatever you’re making.”

We managed to survive our nail appointment and learned way more in that hour than we wanted to know about meeting husbands on-line, tile flooring, impacting the future of hair in America and the rhythm method of birth control before paying our $9.95 and being asked if we wanted our nickel back.     

You can bet I wanted that nickel back. 

I need to start saving my pennies for the next visit because blog fodder has never come so cheap.

Have a nice day.

Call the Glass Doctor; We’ll fix your pane

I’m sitting in the waiting area (it’s too small to call “room”) of Glass Doctor in Lawton as the crack from the rock that hit the Suburban’s windshield somewhere on I-40 gets repaired.

I don’t know if I’m more excited about getting it fixed or about having 45 minutes of quiet to peruse 8 month old glass industry trade magazines.

I’m hoping it doesn’t take more than an hour to fix because there’s only one small bathroom here for customer use and it is WAAAY too close to the receptionist’s desk for comfort (and now you know I have space issues with public restrooms).

This is the first time I’ve ever had any kind of car issue on a trip. I called my insurance agent back in NC to ask her what I needed to do and she said, “Oklahoma? Really? What in the world are you doing THERE?”. I tried politely explaining that there was civilization away from the East Coast but I could tell she didn’t believe me.

Maybe she will when she gets the bill.

Have a nice day.

Monday Musings

I’m home.

Those are beautiful words to me, almost as beautiful as “No, we don’t have to drive 800 miles today.”

We had a great trip, made even more wonderful by the fact that I got behind a car with California tags that was headed west at a speed akin to greased lightning and he and I were best friends for hours as we ticked off mile after mile of asphalt.  I was disappointed that I had to leave him in Oklahoma City and was tempted to pay his hotel for a week if he’d trailblaze across the desert with me next week.

We were whupped by the time we pulled into my parents’ driveway last night and for the first time since I was twelve, I went to bed before my mother.  I don’t think I’m going to step foot outside the house today and the agenda is pretty light for a few days.  We’re going to sit and visit, two of my favorite things to do.  We’ll talk about the neighbors, fuss over the roses and the tomato plants, go to Walmart one or twelve times, and enjoy being together.

There’s no place like home.

Have a nice day.