On to Flagstaff, Arizona, Route 66, and The Grand Canyon

As San Francisco’s beauty receded in the rear view mirror, we set our sights on Bakersfield, California then on to Flagstaff, Arizona. We left Route 66 and headed north to the Grand Canyon.

The road afforded more beautiful vistas as we climbed from 6,000 feet above sea level to nearly 8,000. Who knew that big hole in the ground was at such an altitude?

We paid our $25 fee and received our instructions. Gusto the Wonder Dog was welcome everywhere except on the shuttles. We’d have to hoof it. No problem. We found a parking place and took off.

The day was overcast with patches of sunshine as we hiked along the paved trail. When the Southern Rim came into view, I was reminded of the old days in a church’s sanctuary, where everyone whispered. My eyes feasted on the expansive views. Everywhere I looked, colors and textures beckoned. I’m usually shy of heights, but there was so much to capture my attention, I didn’t really think about it.

Gusto seemed unconcerned about the whole thing. He sniffed around, perking up at the appearance of two squirrels whose colors almost blended into the surrounding rocks. The two put on quite a show for their onlookers, posing for the cameras and no doubt hoping for handouts. Gusto wanted to eat them.

There are two squirrels––can you see them?

Soon, more wildlife joined us as a couple of elk does (are they called does?) wandered into the area, grazing with their spotted fawns. We saw them again later, as we munched our lunch at a picnic table.

As we finished our lunch, rain sprinkles urged us toward our car. The drive back down took us through patches of pouring rain, but we were happy and satisfied. We’d seen what we came to see and it defied our humble cameras. You really must see it to really appreciate it.

We were ordered by our spouses to take this next photo, as proof that we were really there. We’d avoided camera lenses up to this point. Clumsy, unflattering things. So here we are, thanks to a stranger’s expertise. That’s me on the left. Gusto’s in the middle. Daughter-in-law, Alyssa is on the right. The real star of the show is behind us.

If I ever have the opportunity to return, I fully intend to go. I would love to do a more thorough examination of the area. As we headed to New Mexico the sun set behind us. What a beautiful sight. We’re hopeful about tomorrow’s stops, but our hearts are set on home. Missing our hubbies and can’t wait to see them.
Thanks for stopping by. My next post will complete this journey with a few of my favorite scenes, including the final ones, when my son reunites with Alyssa. See you on the road!

From the Bluegrass to the Pacific (There and Back Again)

Today, I’m flying to Seattle for a short visit with friends and family. I was born in Seattle and some of my mother’s family still live there. My son married a Seattle girl and that was a double blessing, because I’ve had an excuse to return to the region and visit one of the most beautiful areas in the continental U.S.

My son and his wife are relocating to Kentucky, thus the reason for this trip. I get to make the journey, too. We plan to take full advantage of this opportunity to see places we’ve never seen. And we’ll be looking for dog-friendly places, since Gusto will be with us. As you can see, he’s happy to be included.

After we leave Seattle, we’ll head to Oregon, where we’ll stay a couple of days then head down the Pacific Coast, hoping to visit some new places we’ve never seen. I plan to post pictures and thoughts here and on Facebook, documenting this trip so my friends and family can see these places with us. Not like being there, I know. But hopefully it won’t be as bad as sitting through a long slide show of vacay pics with the neighbors. After all, if it’s boring, you can leave. I’ll try not to be boring and in any case, it’ll be short. Usually.

So thanks for stopping by and I hope you’ll drop back in during this series of blogposts. You can follow this blog or friend me on Facebook or like my Facebook author page to keep up with what I hope will be an interesting trip. In any case, I’d love to hear from you regarding your favorite Western or Midwestern stops, especially if you know of any dog-friendly places along the way.

A Successful Summer Slow-Down

Help! I slowed down too much! You know the feeling. Absolutely languid. This uber-hot summer required slow movement. Or so I tell myself. But the truth is, I finally accomplished a slow-down.

One day last week, the weather was absolutely gorgeous. The humidity was low, which is rare during a Kentucky summer. So my facebook post was:

I don’t know how much longer I’ll be off work, so I’m gonna go out and sit in the sun right now. Just because I can. Yeah.

You might be thinking I’m lazy, but that’s not really true. I walk six miles a week, keep up with my housework and . . . well I don’t have to list everything I do. But my plan of action includes a few minutes every morning, when I jot down the important things I want to complete that day. When my list is either completed, or satisfactory, I feel free to sit in the sun or read a book in the middle of the day.

Gusto Takes a Siesta

So today, I encourage you not to skip your break. Take it. Enjoy a leisurely lunch if you can. Give yourself permission to rest.

It’s even been hot in Seattle where Gusto lives. He’s definitely achieved the perfect slow-down. It’s called siesta. This is the only way to truly enjoy a hot summer afternoon.

So if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll put my feet up and enjoy today’s siesta. Anyone for a tall glass of iced tea?

Ten Reasons to Slow Down

Gusto enjoys the lake

I’m in a hurry. I eat too fast. I read books too fast. I skim the news on Yahoo. I half listen to my husband when he talks to me. I’m in a frenzy. My nerves are frazzled.

So I wrote a blogpost on slowing down. It sounded good, but could I really do it? Why slow down, anyway? In this world of microseconds and microwaves and instant everything, why take your time if you don’t have to?

If I slow down, perhaps my nerves will un-frazzle. Maybe my handwriting will improve. Maybe I’ll actually enjoy what I’m eating.

So what am I missing, anyway?

I’m a list-maker, so I came up with the following list (not necessarily ordered by importance):

  • Beautiful Sunrise
  • Wind blowing through the trees.
  • Birdsong
  • Waves crashing on the shore.
  • Breathing
  • Discovering the meaning of a story or novel.
  • Actually hearing all of my husband’s words. Not understanding; but hearing. 
  • Hearing and understanding God’s voice.
  • Grandchildren’s laughter
  • Taking time to show kindness to others, wherever I am.

These are all wonderful things. We miss many of them because we are in a hurry. We’re self-absorbed, always on the way to the next place or the next chore. Turn off the television and in so doing, we begin to de-structure our lives. There’s no longer any reason to put your book away, or come in from the front porch, or the back deck.

Put your feet up, sip your drink slowly and pretend the electricity is out.