Wednesday, September 16

The Amazing Road Trip ends: Hoover Dam and Las Vegas

On Saturday, we drove to Hoover Dam on the way to Las Vegas. I suggested it since my Dad had talked about touring it earlier this year and Colin kept telling me what an engineering marvel is.

We took a tour of the insides. It was pretty huge and impressive.

They're building this bypass bridge, which Colin volunteered to hold up for a while.

On to Las Vegas, where we spent the last afternoon and evening of our road trip. Colin won about $25 on the slot machines "teaching" me to play. (I contend that he only left that much ahead because I encouraged him to take the money and run.)

He used his winnings to pay for part of our yummy buffet at the Wynn that night. We ended our evening in front of the Bellagio watching a famous fountain show, which was a perfect end to a wonderful trip!

(If you want to see all the pictures I took, you can go to my Picasa site.)

The Amazing Road Trip: The Grand Canyon

We got to watch two sunsets at the Grand Canyon: from Hopi point the first night and Yavapai the second night.

In between those two sunsets, we did a little stargazing, slept at Bright Angel Lodge, took a short guided fossil walk (you can see some really cool fossils right off the rim trail!) and hiked down a few hours into the canyon on the Kaibab trail to Ooh Ah Point and Cedar Ridge.

The Grand Canyon is truly amazing! No words or pictures can describe the feeling of standing on the edge of it and looking into what seems to be forever.

The Amazing Road Trip: Sedona and Palatki

Thursday, we made the beautiful drive from Flagstaff to Sedona. It turns dramatically from forest into expansive red rock formations. I'd heard about Sedona before, but didn't realize how beautiful it would be.

We visited the Palatki Indian Ruins found in the cliffs of red rock. It's staffed by volunteers who tell you what you're seeing at each site. There are remnants of dwellings and rock art on the cliffs.The weather was perfect - sunny turning into overcast with a surprise thunderstorm as we were hidden in the cliffs. When we drove back through Sedona, we realized we'd just missed a flash flood!

We drove to the Grand Canyon Thursday night, making it just in time for in the next post.

The Amazing Road Trip: Saguaro and Lowell Observatory

Wednesday, we went to Saguaro National Park.

It was an interesting contrast to the day before because in Carlsbad, we didn't want to touch the formations because it would hurt them. At Saguaro, we didn't want to touch the cacti because they would hurt us. Colin and I both got a few pricklies in us before we got out of there.

We were excited to see this one, because we'd seen one on a postcard before we went in the park. Colin apparently likes the thumbs up sign a lot.

We got so carried away (okay, we probably got a late start too) at Saguaro that we just barely made it to Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff (what a great city! a nice cool break from the heat earlier in Tucson) before they closed. When we got there, it was just clouding over, so at first we couldn't see anything. But right before they closed, the clouds in front of Jupiter cleared up and we saw Jupiter and her four moons through two different telescopes. We could even see the stripes on the surface. We also got to see the Andromeda Galaxy, which I think they said is the farthest thing the human eye can see. Amazing! I think Audra recommended this place. Very much worth it.

The Amazing Road Trip: Carlsbad Caverns

On Tuesday, we were sent off early in the morning by my parents with omelets, biscuits, and coffee. We made it to Carlsbad Caverns in time for a picnic lunch before we met our tour in the cavern.

Colin had signed us up for a tour of the lower cave. We donned gloves and headlamp helmets then went down a rope and three ladders to get there.

We were instructed to stay between the orange tape to keep from disturbing too many of the cave formations.

We were told this tour is one of the few where you can see cave pearls, which are formed around bits of sediment or bones.

I took my little camera and the only light we had was the light on our headlamps, so the pictures aren't all that great, but if you're ever at Carlsbad, I recommend this guided tour!

After our tour, we drove through El Paso to Deming, NM where we spent the night.

Tuesday, September 15

The Amazing Road Trip begins: Austin goodbyes

Colin flew to Austin to drive with me back to California. We looked at possible wedding places, had last minute goodbyes with friends and got packed up and ready to go.

We had dinner with Carolyn and Suzanne at Korea House. Yum.

Coffee at Dominican Joe's with my cousins Audra and Sarah. Colin's in the background working on Sarah's computer. Sarah sang his praises after that.

While Colin was researching places for our road trip (he planned an awesome itinerary for our trip), he found out that barbecue in Lockhart is not to be missed. So, we drove out there on Friday night.

Sunday I had a last hurrah at Mimi's house for people to stop by and Monday morning we packed the car and drove to Abilene to see my parents before heading further west.

I've been busy unpacking, organizing, finding my way around this place, and applying for jobs, but I finally got all the pics uploaded! So, I'll post the pics from Tuesday through Saturday tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 1

getting ready to say goodbye

I'm jobless, but plenty busy lately because I'm getting ready to move to the L.A. area! Colin and I decided that it was probably a good idea to at least live in the same city before we tie the knot. So, he's coming in tonight to stay a week and we're gonna head towards the West coast sometime next week. In the meantime, we hope to find a place to get married (still haven't set the date), meet for a few pre-marital chats with my pastor, and say goodbye to Austin friends for a while.

I've started the packing and saying goodbye process, but I don't think it's really hit me yet. The other day I told my friend that I wouldn't be able to go to some show in September because I'll be "out of town."
I finally went to Flip Happy Crepes with my cousin Sarah. It was delicious. And, they have really amazing cold brew coffee. Have you tried cold brew coffee? It was so nice that I thought it had sugar in it!

The Smothers brothers and me at Chez Zee for brunch on Sunday. Such a lovely place! Since it was under 100 degrees outside and such a warm festive feel on the inside, we felt like it was the holidays already.

Besides packing, I just finished reading this love story, which is almost as addicting as the Twilight series, trying to finish the books I have borrowed from friends and the library before I go, plus I just started P90x (bought it for less on ebay!) and have an ever lengthening to-do-before-I-go list. I might be staying too busy on purpose to keep myself from thinking about how I really need a job and am a little scared to move to California, but I don't know.