Monday, August 11, 2008

Road Trip: Day Five (goodbye hole, hello Gutierrez)

July 19th we left the Grand Canyon area and drove to New Mexico.  It was time to drop off my three nieces with my sister (and brother in law) and end the summer romance for two of them.  We would become a much smaller party of eight soon.

Early that morning there was a Cowboy Show that some of us were motivated enough to wake up for. Those who did attend enjoyed it. It was a pretty funny show and once it was over you got a chance to have your picture taken with the cast. Here's Nicole and Patrick with the sheriff.

After the cast pictures were taken Nicole and Patrick then found their way to the horses. There was a request for horseback riding from day one and we'd been trying hard to make it happen. Spending $50 a person for a guided tour or something was NOT something we were ready to splurge on but certainly we must know someone!

After the show I took a quick one-hour nap while everyone else watched an hour or so of TV before heading back to the road. We stopped only once on the way to New Mexico and that was to grab a meal at the Golden Corral.

But then it was back in the car. The weather was turning from painfully hot to occasionally raining. It made for a pretty rainbow a few times.

But mostly we were just starting to get stir-crazy from the road.

It was a great relief to get to the Gutierrez' place where there was plenty enough room for everyone to spread out and get into their own things.

They also have a bunch of animals that helped to entertain those who were sort of "done" with people but not really ready for an independent brain game either.

Road Trip: Day Four (from Lights to Holes)

We were back on the road before noon. This time though it was slightly more lively in the car. Oh yeah, we really rocked things up this day. SOME of the time I didn't have the view of my parents' van in front of me. SOME of the time I had the view of my parents' van in the rearview mirror.

It was pointed out that perhaps I was not being entirely safe there taking a picture of my rearview mirror while driving. So I handed off the camera and allowed for them to snap some pics. Here's just one of the 30 or so shots like these.

Our next destination was a big hole in the ground. It was so big in fact that some might call it "grand".

I gotta say though... all together... our group is pretty darn grand as well. See... all together we pretty much overshadow the canyon.

So speaking of shadows... I did find a way to snap us AND the canyon...

We took a walk seeing some other views of the canyon. For those who haven't been there before the ledges certainly have safety railings and such but when you take a little mile or so walk to an information center you'll pass all sorts of ledges that you can climb down on. I let some students go exploring a bit to really get a feel for the energy of this place. They were safe. GIving one another space and keeping their distance from the real "edges". In fact the only one who really got scared was a my mom. Who screamed wildly for them to come back a few separate times. Admittedly it did look a bit dramatic from far away.

In the end we found it best to just sort of split up and walk at our own pace enjoying the scenery. I was alone some of the time. And other times I caught up to one or two of them finding their own personal favorite spots there.

Road Trip: Day Three (Vegas again)

We were still in Vegas the next day. We did some shopping and purchased some poker chips with our faces on them. There on the strip I got a call from Anita Creamer a newspaper columnist in Sacramento and was able to set up some interview time. But other than that... it was pretty mellow. It was the day I found time to post some blog updates while they hung at the pool.

And then, that evening, we went to a magic show. Not just any magic show of course... it was rather the World's Greatest Magic Show. I know that because that was it's title. The Teens loved it. Magic is pretty cool in general but to these teens it's the end all of awesomeness. I am really glad we were able to provide them with an appropriate Vegas Show.

So yeah... Vegas wasn't a total wash. Magic and buffets were enjoyed by all.

We were back on the road the following morning.

Road Trip: Day Two (Vegas)

So... here's the thing about Vegas.  It hate it.  I try to like it.  My mom loves it.  But me... I just am not a fan.  I think the only way I could like Vegas less was if I were still under 21.  But since I AM 21 I was able to do the real fun stuff like wait in line in a casino rather than wait on a couch in a casino. Look at their happy faces. Don't they just look THRILLED with Vegas?

And then later... I got to stand in a line to get a casino-card (cheaper admit into a buffet) while they again got a wait on a couch. See the smiles this time? It's cause they took to wrestling for space there on the couch prior to the photo being snapped. I did spend some time telling them to behave more appropriately in Vegas. But the truth is... I would have been bored out of my gourd and looking for some wrestling entertainment myself if I were them.

We ate at a buffet and I went and played a little Texas Hold 'Em (up 6 bucks at the end of a hour or so) before walking the strip. It was late. It was hot. And their legs were a little out of practice. So when we stopped for sodas there was a bit of a meltdown. This picture was luckily taken before the commotion.

Some more "waiting" occurred and then we decided to head over to Freemont Street to just get all this touristy Vegas stuff done in one horrible night. Freemont Street has a big light show every hour on the hour. The "hour" that we attended was not really geared towards kids. So the lit-up, sultry, stripper show (not flesh but in "lights") paired with the full frontal ads we saw for escorts-in-your-room here and there around town made for a real desire act as kindergardeners. So that's just what they did, post light-show, outside the casinos, there on Freemont Street. There was some anti-boy sentiments and then jumping an cheering and holding hands. It was the kind of play that can't really be captured in a photo but here's a taste of it.

Road Trip: Day One

July 15th...a road.

A car full of peeps.

A van in front of us.

This happened...

And this...

The participants of both of those two events though have requested that their names not be released onto this blog. Anyone who knows a Jr. Higher would expect both of those "events" to occur. There is just something about this age. It gets the hormones a jumping. Jumping together. Jumping apart. And all that jumping gets a person tired.

Not that you would see that at the end of the day. We checked into a hotel in Needles. It was pretty basic. The Teens swam while the adults relaxed. I picked up some Del Taco for dinner.
And then some of them stayed up watching movies on my computer. It was a pretty mellow day followed by a pretty mellow night. I went to sleep long before they did.

Uh... not much to report.

So much time has passed since I last blogged.  I am currently in Fairbanks, sitting in a chair at the public library alone.  I get on a plane tomorrow morning and I will be back in the village around 6:00pm I figure.

So let's see... July 13th was San Francisco and July 15th we began the road tip.  So... July 14 we did very little.  We went to a movie... uh... Hancock.  They LOVED Hancock.  I thought it was better than I was expecting.  Interesting twists.  Enough of a movie to talk about afterwards.  A good popcorn flick.  

... and then we met my parents for a Chinese food buffet.  This was their first buffet and they enjoyed it immensely.  Little did they know they were on their way to Vegas where there would be many more buffets to come.