Day 37 & 38

Thanks for those of you who chimed in on how often you wanted updates. Some read our blog with their morning coffee every morning and some can’t keep up with the daily posts. So, I’m going to do a little of both, some daily posts, some every other day.

Our last two days in Arizona were very unplanned because the snow effected all of our plans.

After we left the Grand Canyon and trecked back to our resort 79 miles away in Flagstaff, it was Becca’s turn to check the oil in the car and fill it up.

It’s a good thing because the snow came down that night!

So we decided to go buy some cheap sleds at Walmart and go sledding!

Guess what? Walmart’s buying department doesn’t know the Alpine climate and didn’t have any sleds since it’s “past season”….In March🙄

So we decided to go to the Observatory…

All tours were booked for the day.

But it looked like a great place to go sledding. I guess one or two other people have thought that too. Read the signs. No sledding. 🤣

But, it’s “past sledding season” according to Walmart.

The Pioneer Museum was closed too but we got to see the outdoor things. Check out these amazing Ponderosa Pines.

The museum has an old logging car train and pioneer logging equipment. (Lee Coulter’s business in Hope Valley if you watch When Calls the Heart like my girls do).

We ate lunch at Casa Durant, where the girls were very excited to see they serve home made Horchata!

My son-in-law introduced them to this cinnamon, creamy drink last summer and they have a definite affinity for it.

This place has excellent dips and sauces as well.

And this is the first time I can understand why anyone would like unsweetened tea. We discovered there is no such thing as “Arizona tea” in Arizona. It’s all unsweetened tea, unless it is raspberry or peach soda fountain flavored tea. But their unsweetened is really good!

Day 38

This morning roads were covered in ice, it was 28 degrees and still snowing. We were supposed to check out at 10:00. I was a bit unnerved by that thought.

At 9:59 a road scraper came by and cleared the road. Thank the Lord!

We had a 7000 foot elevation to drop and a 5 2:2 hour trip ahead.

We drove through the beautiful 1.8 million acre Coconino National Forest.

Just beautiful

GPS routed us to Route 66 to avoid crashes on 140. We got to go through the cutest town we have seen yet on Route 66!

Williams, The gateway to the Grand Canyon.

The old Santa Fe RR train is there.

And an old filling station museum.

With vintage cars out back.

Then we went through crazy Rock Mountains I was too chicken to drive through and take pictures in. Followed by endless desert!

Occasionally we’d see a few cows.

Mimi said they probably just had cows for show out here because they had way too much land! 🤣

Then we ran into something really cool looking for a gas station.

The Colorado River!

We drove UNDER the Santa Fe railroad train!

And there was this incredible Oasis out in the middle of the desert!

I’ve never seen a restaurant with a pool!

It is such a cool place. A definite respite from the summer heat for travelers no doubt!

The smoked chicken wrap and salad are delicious.

It was really windy and the girls said the water felt like mountain stream water. Cold! But there were people swimming.

We drove through endless desert again over Hwy 95, which is nauseating if you have car sick issues like me.

The long, straight, forever road with little hills every 50 feet. Nauseating.

I see why there were a ton of 4WD vehicles back at the restaurant. This is 4WD adventure country!

I learned, thanks to Mimi, how to control my motion sickness on this type of road.

She said DON’T LOOK DOWN!

It worked! I stared at a point of the mountain straight in front on every hill! No sickness! And I didn’t hit any trucks head on while not watching the road, which is great!

Nothing but rocky sand for the ground here.

Then, we spied a palm tree farm!!! In the middle of the desert!

The temperature was 75 degrees by the time we reached our resort in Indio, California.

What a drastic change of scenery and weather we underwent today!

From a blizzard at 7000 feet, to tropical paradise at sea level.

Here is the view from our back deck. The front deck overlooks the tennis courts. People are playing under the lights tonight because it’s warm enough too!

And the pool temperature is what the girls call PERFECT! They swam for an hour to stretch out from the long day in the car.

And we got Panda Express drive thru two minutes before closing for dinner.

Really, really, really excited to be some place warm, without snow for a few weeks. So, so, SO glad.

Day 36 The “Grand Day”

You may have guessed by the title of this post that this was THE day I had been waiting for on this journey.

The Grand Canyon

It was absolutely spectacular.

I am almost 50 years old and have never seen it.

I cried like a baby for the first 15 minutes of beholding it.

Hence the lack of smile on my face in this picture. Just had to process the overwhelm for a few minutes. It was too much. Creation is just a lot to behold in this place.

I pulled it together and we started hiking the Bright Angel Trail. It is incredible.

There were some pretty icy sections that took some careful negotiating to cross. I was so glad Mimi and Becca brought a leash for Nina!

And I’m glad we brought trekking poles!

Here comes a mule train up behind us. Here they are approaching an icy patch that took us 20 minutes to traverse. They do it in a bout 15 seconds.

They were too fast. We had to step aside and let them pass.

Incredible animals.

They navigated that icy terrain like they were wearing chains! Which, by the way, I am wearing next time we hike into the Grand Canyon in winter!

On the Bright Angel Trail, there are several shady spots that ice over and don’t thaw even on 40-50 degree days.

I feel so proud of myself for actually helping a man with a serious fear of heights, like myself, make it across one of the ice patches. Sometimes you just need someone who made it down successfully to brace themselves and hold your hand. That felt pretty dang good.

I definitely had a smile on my face when we were safely back on the rim. What an incredible feat.

We enjoyed some coffee and Canyon Crunch ice cream to rest at the top.

A experience of a lifetime with my girls.

Days 34 & 35

Not sure if it’s the time zone difference or my lack of great eating habits on this trip, but I am seriously feeling the drain. I am limping two days together here because I couldn’t stay up late enough last night to post.

There is a Starbucks on the golf course at Orange Tree resort. I walked there and got some coffee early before the girls woke up.

It was a beautiful morning.

I brought the girls back here for breakfast when they woke up.

Dragon Fruit drink

Then we went for a mid morning hike before the Arizona heat.

We did the Papago Trail to the Hole in the Rock

Standing in the Hole in the Rock

After our hike we went to check out Old Town Scottsdale.

There are plenty of cactus candy options here.

And many shops of Indian arts, crafts, and handmade jewelry.

There are some whimsical shops with Route 66 paraphernalia as well.

We spent some time on a fine art gallery.

Lots of American paintings.

Mimi tilted the frame of an $88,000 painting and I decided it was time for us to leave the art gallery. So we got a handful of the free jelly belly’s and made it out of there without having to mortgage the house.

Found more really cool cactuses in town.

And trees.

I can’t even believe I have been married longer than this tree has been growing. I am old!

We got lunch at the Grapevine

We hit the Antique store the kids have been anxious to visit since it is advertised to have 130 vendors.

We spent a WHILE in there!

Then ice cream time!

Nina and Becca prefer s Herbert.

They put cotton candy on top of your milkshake. That’s cute.

We went back to the resort fir an early evening swim.

Out to Thai for dinner

The portions are huge here!

And the Thai tea, perfect.

Day 35

We drove to Flagstaff today. It was a nice drive with lots of deserts, mesas, plateaus, Mountain View’s, and a new discovery spot.

The Aqua Fria monument

This is a 78,000 acre monument to explore with 4WD. Everybody brought their Polaris’s. All we had was a 2004 Sequoia. But if I had brought Dramamine, we would have tested what the girl could do!

As we neared Flagstaff, the snow capped mountains came into view.

It was 20 degrees warmer here in the afternoon than it was when we left Scottsdale in the morning.

Our condo is awesome and it overlooks the mountains.

The view from our deck.

Even a Mountain View from the master suite hot tub.

I should go ahead and say that if you are following my blog this far, then you are close enough to us to share resort booking info with you. You can request to learn about available vacation rentals we open up at:

Team@carolinasrentalmanagement.com

All the units are well equipped with kitchen, washer/dryer, and all the basics you need.

We couldn’t reach a new town and not locate all the antique stores.

I’m collecting old license plates of every state along Route 66 this time.

Nina is searching for tiny bowls and miniature kitchen utensils.

Mimi and Becca are into Vintage perfume bottles and lockets.

They all found treasures at Blue Moon

It’s cool how they up for these old buildings downtown into modern shops, like this outdoor store where we found trail guides for the Canyons.

And this bakery

Ok! So now I am caught up on the last two days of our journey.

Question. Would you prefer two days at a time or do you like getting updates every day?

Good night all.

Day 33

Rise and shine in Scottsdale, AZ with breakfast at Snooze

The Eggs Benedict is heavenly.

The gardenias are in bloom!

There are such cool trees here.

And the girls are mesmerized by all the different cactuses. Size, shape, texture, taste, and thorn varieties.

They had to taste the oranges too… anyway they could reach them.

Spend a nice time at the resort pool.

It was so nice for it to be warm enough to be in cool water today for the first time since last summer! It got up to 84 degrees today!

Nina just wants to call the bellman to drive us all over the resort today. Just swim and ride in the golf cart. That’s it.

Could pass up In and Out Burger since we are far west enough to try it!

The we went Antiquing … go figure. 😊

I love how the antiques stores here have ice cream shops in them and play vintage music. We want to hit ALL of them!

Dinner was at the Cheesecake factory.

The salmon was scrumptious

The low luscious, sugar free, gluten free, low carb cheesecake was amazing too!

We spent a late night in the pool. Such a nice day.

It’s such a beautiful , perfect night.

Day 32

Hello Cross Country Journey half way point!

Not geographically, but time wise. We just finished 32 of our 63 day trip!

Today was one of those perfect examples of “the joy is in the journey”.

What was supposed to be a 3 1/2 hour trip took nine!

Because on this trip, we have the freedom to stop whenever we want to stop, see whatever we want to see, and do whatever we want to do!

So I hit the coffee shop on the way out of Pinetop, AZ, and the girls hit the Cannoli shack. I’m not sure what the name of this cute little pick up window restaurant is, but they have cannolis, and that’s all that matters to Mimi, so we call it the Cannoli shack.

Our buddies we met yesterday told us to stop and see the Tonto Bridge on the way to Scottsdale, so we decided to do that.

Boy, were we I’m for a treat none of us had any idea about!

A stunning drive through the Tonto National Forest. Just breathtaking.

We got into a little town called Payson, AZ just before the bridge and couldn’t resist the Antique store that greeted us upon our arrival.

The girls found a couple of treasures and we had the owner of the shop to direct us the best local lunch spot.

She sent us to Mackey’s

It a was a gorgeous day for outdoor dining! 66 degrees and our first day without snow in over a month!

And their “famous chili” is noteworthy!

After a bit of a climb down to the State Park, we encountered the Bridge!!!

Never, have I ever had a hike like this!

We took the Pine Creek Trail despite the warnings.

Let me just say there are all sorts of reasons could not have done this trail 2 1/2 years ago!

It was covered in giant rocks of the most beautiful shades of purple!

Stream to cross in several places.

Caves and over hangs like we saw the cliff dwellers build under last week in Mesa Verde.

In the 1800’s a cowboy hid in these caves for two days while being hunted by Apache Indians.

Mimi says she could live here. Talk about playing hide and seek for days!

And a giant pool of water!

This natural bridge is spectacular!

I’m going to have to tell you that the next picture was taken by Mimi while I was doing the scariest thing I have ever done in my life!

Y’all… I am afraid of heights. Like deathly afraid!

And I had Nina (age 6) behind me!

We both had to either cross this bald, smooth rock on a cliff with a deep pool of water 50 feet below, or take the one mile hike over the boulders back the way we came.

We did it!!!!

I can’t even believe we did this!

The girls can’t believe I was so scared. They scooted over in about 2 minutes. It took me 30 minutes to go 10 feet! I was sweating the whole time!

I’m probably on some YouTube video tonight from a spectator standing on this spot watching, but I am so grateful we made it and are all alive!

The Tonto Natural Bridge is an experience I will never forget and glad I will live to remember.

We got back on Hwy 87 to Scottsdale

This is a beautiful drive.

And if we hadn’t already had the most amazing blessings today, very unexpectedly, the girls spied what they have been so anxious to see for our whole trip.

Suguaro Cactuses!!!

We drove through a whole forest of them! They were everywhere!!

We had to stop.

Some of them are huge!!!

The Suguaro tastes a bit bitter, but kind of like a Mexican green salsa.

But this guy, tastes delicious!

Kind of like Kiwi fruit without the seeds!

Oh, what a day it was! Dragging them out of the cactus forest took some negotiating.

We finally made it to Scottsdale and checked into our resort.

The birds singing in the orange tree and the fragrant smell of the orange blossoms is impressive.

We headed out to dinner for local cuisine at a Vietnamese restaurant visited by Guy Fieri, Slanted Rice

It was phenomenal

The Filet Mignon was amazing.

The girls tried the Clay pot rice and chicken dish.

Before bed, Nina had to show me our back yard.

I do believe we are going to enjoy our stay here very much!

Day 31

For breakfast we tried Darby’s. Warning. The Cinnamon roll is big enough for six people.

Do you remember the night we tent camped on the rim of the Palo Duro canyon, and it felt like the wind was going to lift the tent off the ground all night?

Well, I found out today that the campground we stayed at got hit by two tornadoes on Saturday night destroying 6 RV’s!

Here is one of them.

I am blown away with gratitude we weren’t there on that night in a tent!

We stopped for some Tiger Chai tea and Boba for the girls.

Arizona Coffee Brewing Co. is a nice place to hang out. There is a wood stove, couches, and games to play.

The girls played cards and Nina did some painting.

A nice couple we met at the coffee shop suggested we hike the Mongollon Rim trail.

It was nice, short, easy trail and we enjoyed it.

The trees and rocks are amazing.

Mimi is telling us (from reading the posted info) that this Douglas Fir and this Alligator Juniper growing together is a rare phenomenon because they each require such different environments to grow in.

This area has the largest population of Ponderosa Pines in the world!

We ran into that same couple heading onto the trail when we were heading out. They had their kids with them. Their four kids are the exact same ages as four of ours. That was neat.

We did a drive thru lunch at Alibertos.

Then went on a crazy, insane hike to The Ice Cave

It wasn’t that it was so long or so steep, but it was so rocky and muddy!

I do not recommend this hike unless you are a horse or riding on one!

Yes, we made our safety chain and tested out the frozen river.

There were several very wet crossings.

Some yummy nuts to eat we learned about on the Rim Trail earlier

Some wild, gnarly trees (giant Alligator Junipers)

Cool rocks and miss

And the girls new favorite fascination , cactus.

A pretty reservoirs

Lots of animal tracks and poop

Rich black soil I want a truck load of back home in my garden.

And I came five feet from stepping on a gray fox.

It was getting late and I forgot all of my protective weapons and gear in the car, so it was time to turn around (without ever finding the cave) and return two grueling miles back to the car.

It’s a good thing Mimi put a leash on Nina. Her little legs were toast by this time. All of us were aching from our thighs to our toes!

My fitness pal says we put 10 miles in today. I believe it!

We made it back in two hours and were ready to clean two inches of mud off our shoes, shower and go to dinner.

Charlie Clark’s has a really yummy steak salad.

We are exhausted. Time for a good night’s sleep as we prepare for a long drive tomorrow.

Day 30

We have been away from home a month.

Have put over 3500 miles on the car.

And have endured some tough weather conditions we are not used to enduring.

It’s a good thing we still had a few ingredients packed in the car to make breakfast since we awoke to a winter snow storm today.

Mimi and Becca made biscuits from scratch for the first time all by themselves.

They turned out perfect.

We hung out inside by the fire all morning.

Mimi made me the richest pot of coffee.

They went out to gather snow and made snow cream.

It looked so good I tried some in my coffee!

It was tasty!

When the snow fall stopped we went out and did some antiquing .

And boutiquing

Lol

We had lunch in the Lions Den.

They have the cutest little tacos.

We visited some bears (Burly Bears)

Found a cute little coffee drive through.

Great service! The barista was pretty tickled with the 300% tip we left her.

We went thrifting a while because some how we have managed to dwindle down to almost half of our wardrobe by leaving things behind in hotels and resorts across the country.

I have given up on ordering shipments from Ileftmystuff.com and Theyfoundmystuff.com

🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️

For dinner we experienced the best pasta ever.

The spaghetti was better than mine. The girls didn’t tell me that, though. Aren’t they sweet?

Quick stop in the collectibles shop and we ended our night IN the movie theatre where we watched Tom and Jerry for $5!!

It was a nice, relaxing, snowy day in Pinetop.

Day 29

We said goodbye to Bison Ranch today and made our way further south in Arizona hoping to find some warmer weather.

We didn’t.

Found an adorable coffee drive thru on the way.

Stopped for a bit of antiquing on the way.

It warmed up to 47 degrees so we went horse back riding.

Mimi and Ace

Becca and Snowball

Nina and Buz

My horse was named Brody

It was a nice, easy ride through the Ponderosa Pine forest.

The reservoir is pretty.

Look how little Nina’s horse was. Hers and mine were both 30 years old.

We left the ranch and headed to our room to unpack.

And spent some time on the tennis courts hitting balls everywhere but over the net.

I found the map of the ice Cave Trail we were on with the horses today, but want to hike up to the cave this week l.

It was cold snd starting to get dark on the courts do we found a really awesome steakhouse just down the street.

It hassle a really wood burning fireplace in the dining room. So cozy.

And a delicious menu.

Highly recommend Charlie Clark’s. In fact , we want to go back this week!

Day 28

We spent the morning in the game room playing corn hole, pool, and ping pong.

Then I taught the girls how to play Gin.

We had the most amazing burgers at the Red Onion Lounge.

And went antiquing

The girls favorite four letter word (open) sign was out at this shop today.

Then we drove to Winslow.

We didn’t stand on the corner, as the song goes, but we did see the meteor crater!

Here is a piece of the 150 feet wide meteor that hit Arizona long before we were here to discover it.

It’s a huge crater! Comparing it to the ones on the moon, it is mind boggling how big THOSE are!

The meteor hit earth at 26,000 mph

The wind was crazy. It felt like we are going to be blown off the rim!

It was neat asking the girls questions about the things they heard in the museum movie about dinosaur extinction via meteor impact in Mexico 65 million years ago.

They seam to agree that there are some “holes” in the theory as well.

Even the huge meteor that hit Russia in 2013 and was felt for miles, didn’t kill all the people on the planet, or even in that area of Russia.

It’s also is interesting that we saw the fossils of many suddenly deceased dinosaurs yesterday in the petrified forest, very, far away from Mexico.

Yeah, I know the theories. It’s just cool to see first hand what a stretch they are.

We had a relaxing night playing pool after dinner at the Bison Ranch saloon.

This has been a relaxing first stop in Arizona. We head to our second stop tomorrow.