Sunday, September 06, 2015

Griffin and Daisy

This is not our Boston Terrier, though Griffin wishes it was. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014


We stopped at the Meteor Crater tourist site and the Lowell Observatory on our way through Arizona to California. 

Lowell Observatory, where Pluto was discovered. 
Building housing the telescope that found Pluto. 

Griffin in the exhibit hall. 

Fantastic Hubble Telescope exhibit. 

Joshua Tree NP

I loved driving out to Joshua Tree (it was only a national monument in the late 80s but it's been upgraded), to get away from the busy smoggy LA life. It was quiet, peaceful, and had two really interesting environments, because it straddles two deserts. 

A little light reading for Griffin. 

Griffin got another Junior Ranger badge while we were here.  

We are staying in Bakersfield on our way to San Francisco for two nights. All the Alcatraz tour tickets are sold out, but I'm sure we will find something to do!

Scottsdale and Route 66

We visited a friend who moved to Scottsdale after teaching at my school for a few years (her husband is a doctor). Their three-year-old twin boys loved Griffin!  Max called him "the boy" while Ender actually remembered his name. They pelted him with beanbags and played catch with a balloon. It was fun to watch. 

Everything is dangerous in the desert!

Then we drove back up north to Holbrook, AZ.

Our motor inn/lodge, with cars for sale out front adding to the ambience.

Decoration in our room

We drove on a few sections of Route 66, including through Winslow, AZ.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Grand Canyon South Rim

After staying in cool cabins at the North Rim, we had to drive out and around to the South Rim, which is usually about 4 hours. 

We saw a big herd of bison just after we left the park, talked to a nice owner of a gas station who is flying to Seattle this weekend for her daughter's reception, and then had to make a decision. 

We were already taking four hours, we added on another hour to go see Lake Powell (Griffin loved the ranger program/slide show about John Wesley Powell), and Glen Canyon Dam. 

We stopped at a trading post, but it wasn't really our thing. Too kitschy. 

We got to the Grand Canyon South Rim entrance about 4, then to our campsite about 5.  This part of the park is huge!  It reminds me of Yellowstone, a big infrastructure for 5 million people a year. 

Loved the architecture by Mary Coltrr, including this watchtower. 

We set up camp, turns out we were next to a couple from Everett, riding their motorcycle to parks.  We explored via shuttle bus, since parking is tough. The views were amazing!

Griffin got his Junior Ranger badge, looking for wildlife, writing poems, and drawing some things from the canyon. I love this program. They learn a lot and it gives them something to focus on. 

Here is the El Tovar Hotel, one of the oldest lodges. Griffin was curious about the heads on the walls. Different era!  I love the old lodges, though. Wish we could afford to stay in them!

We had a visitor next to our campsite when we got back. 

This bull elk had huge antlers!  He just kept using them to pull down branches and leaves. He knew exactly how to use them as a tool.  

Then, the thunderstorms started again. After having every ranger start their talk with information about "monsoon season" (July) and how to avoid being struck by lightning, Griffin was nervous. So we sat in the car while it poured, and thunder and lightning crashed around us. After two hours, at 6pm, I called it. We packed up everything in the rain and got the heck out of there.

I'll post video when we get back. We spent the night in Flagstaff before going to Scottsdale to see my friend Alissa, who taught at Ridgecrest until this year. She has two 3 year old twin boys who adored Griffin. 

Now we are north again, along Route 66, in Holbrook, AZ. We are in a motor inn across from the Wigwam motel, large concrete teepees that inspired the Cozy Cone Motel in the movie Cars!

We had dinner at Joe and Aggie's Cafe, and the current owners parents helped with the research for Cars. His dad was named Stanley, and they used that name for the founder of Radiator Springs. Some of the lines were from his mom's interviews with the director, John Lasseter.

Loved the neon everywhere!  And the thunderstorms followed us here, of course. 

Off to Joshua Tree tomorrow, with some stops to see other Route 66 sights!

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Grand Canyon North Rim

We spent two nights in a cabin at the North Rim, where the rangers (which Griffin has now decided will be his future job) said that only 10% of tourists visit. The other 90% go to the South Rim.  We loved the peace and quiet and lack of commercialization at the North Rim.

Front of the lodge

Hike out to Bright Angel Point

Sitting in the beautiful Sun Room looking out over the canyon

One of the decks at the Lodge, looking out over the canyon. There were some spectacular thunderstorms across on the South Rim one night and we sat and watched them from here. 

Brighty of the Grand Canyon, subject of a book by Marguerite Henry, a real-life burro who worked in the canyon.  I read the book in elementary school and was excited to see his statue here!  People rub his nose for good luck. 

Some of the cabins where we stayed. Small and cozy. 

Griffin in our cabin. 

Lodge registration area. Sun Room beyond. 

Friday, July 04, 2014

Zion NP

Hot!  That is the first word that comes to mind when thinking of Zion National Park. It was 104 degrees yesterday at the Visitor Center. Good call to cancel the camping reservations. 

We went back today with a little bit more cloud cover and did a hike and visited the Human History Museum. Beautiful park, amazing sandstone cliffs, and interesting history. 

Waiting for the Zion-Mt Carmel tunnel to open (an RV was coming through the other way and it's too narrow for an Rv and a car!)

King snake

Emerald Pool

Off to the Grand Canyon North Rim tomorrow!