Laughter is Good Medicine

I woke up this morning in Phoenix, or, should I say Mesa, at my aunts house. It was already pretty warm outside at 7:30 so I took Myra on a short potty walk.
I may have to stay around here a little longer as I have been completely spoiled. Check out this breakfast of champions!

Sliced strawberries and pineapple with whip cream on top (it has to have dairy to be a well balance meal right?).  We stayed out on the front porch and enjoyed the warmth and slight breeze, as we talked for several hours about life and all that entails.  About 11:30 we decided that Mexican food sounded really good, and so we got all put together and headed for lunch on the town.

I was keeping an eye on my watch, as I was scheduled to pick up a friend at the airport at 2:30.  Towards the end of lunch the minute hand was moving closer and closer to 2:00pm.  I was thinking we were pushing it as it was going to take 20+ minutes to get to the airport from my aunts house.  We payed and quickly got out to the car and on our way.  A few stoplights into our return drive from the restaurant Aunt Heidi says, “you know it’s only one here right?”.  I had forgotten about the time change between Farmington and Mesa.  I didn’t have to rush, I didn’t have to sweat it.
We got back to her place and I refilled the water bottles and packed the car.  We talked a bit more about drawing and art, and before too long, it was time to say goodbye.
The directions to the airport were very straightforward, so with the address plugged into the GPS, off I went. As an Idaho farm girl raised at least an hour away from the nearest freeway, you would think Phoenix traffic would be a bit intimidating, but this GPS thing makes me feel like I have a super power.  Well, today it wasn’t quite as helpful as usual. As I sat in the front parking lot at the address given me looking for my friend and talking on the phone we realized that I was not at the same building she was at.  I drove in a few circles, and about three U-turns later found her on the other side of the street in a rental car return maze that could have only been dreamed up by airline staff out to have a good time at my expense.  All dressed up cute in her business clothes Mary Beth was ready to kick off her heels and head out of town.  It was now three and the traffic was starting to slow, and we just wanted to get out of town before true rush hour hit.
We had discussed the “plan” and changed it a few times before we decided to head towards Tuzigoot, so we could take the scenic route to our Sedona destination.  About 11 miles out of Verde Valley we saw a sign for Agua Fria National Monument.  I kind of have a personal goal to see all of the national monuments and so I couldn’t exactly pass this one up.

This sign was almost immediately off the freeway off ramp, and was accompanied by a rather washboard looking dirt road.  Thinking there must be a visitors center just up the road a ways, we headed on.  Now, I haven’t done a lot of dirt road or gravel road driving in a while, and found myself going much too fast.  After a sharp turn/ loose gravel combination that made our lives flash before our eyes, we decided on a slower pace.  Maybe 5 miles into our gravel road we turned around because there was no sign of a visitors center and I had less than a quarter tank of gas.  Being stranded in the desert on a gravel road in the heat of the summer seemed like a scenario to avoid at all costs.  It was very beautiful though, and I promised myself I would look up more on the significance of the park later on.




The drive into Sedona was as beautiful, just as it was last time, and I enjoyed getting to share this jewel with a friend.




We found our hotel and then quickly headed back out to explore.









It got dark quickly, so we returned to the hotel, took Myra for a walk, found a cool bug, and then it was time to crash. Looking forward to a few more days of laughter.  Thank you Aunt Heidi for being such a wonderful host, and Thank you Mary Beth.  I may have laughed to the point of tears a few times today, and like you would say, “it is good for the soul.”
Love you guys!

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Honduras day 1

Today we arrived in Honduras and made it through customs.  Had lunch at the airport then headed off to see the work site.


After a quick tour of what we will be starting on we headed to our hotel.


Our home away from home may not have hot water but it a does have air conditioning.  I think we have the better of the two choices.

Greatly looking forward to a wonderful trip and to be used by God here in Honduras.


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The Longest Round Trip of My Life


We left our apartment in Farmington NM at 6:30pm 6/18.  After deciding the best plan of action to get everyone to Oregon was to drive the family to Idaho where we could meet up with my parents, who would drive them to their house in Central Oregon where we had a few different options of ways to get them to Salem.  We were mostly packed so we threw everything in the car right after dinner, I grabbed a uniform for work in case I couldn’t make it back and needed to get a hotel and drive to work from there.  There was pretty much no complaining from the kids the whole drive, because everyone was so eager to get to Oregon to see Grandma and Grandpa, Hadassah, and Cyrus.  Chad drove first.  We drove right into the sun and were so relieved when it finally set as we crossed into Utah.



We planned to drive into Salt Lake, spend the night, and then meet my parents somewhere between Burley and Boise early the next day.  We stopped in at three different hotels in the Salt Lake-Ogden area, but none had vacancies so we had them call the other hotels in the area of the same chain, and they were all full as well.  At this point we were in Ogden or Logan, I can’t remember which, and we decided it’s 2 or 3 am, so by the time we find a room and get the kids in it, it will be 4:00, and then what’s the point.  By this time I was wide awake in my nightshift groove, so I took a turn driving.  We got into Twin Falls around 5:00am.  I had been told by my parents to stop in Burley, so I was already pushing it.  Since everyone was still sleeping, I figured let’s go see craters of the moon while were here.  By the time we get there and have breakfast, the park will almost be open, and we can see it, then get back to Twin in time to meet the rest of the relay team.  So I headed north.  After about 30 min. we got ahold of my parents and permission to meet them in Boise at the outlet mall.  So we turned around and by the time we got back to Twin falls it was 6:00 everyone was awake and ready for breakfast.  Thanks to IHOP, which was just over the Snake river, we could grab a bite and got back on the road in not too much more time.

Chad drove our next leg.  He had not slept too soundly in the previous four hours, but he had gotten some sleep and he was worried about me trying to drive back on no sleep (rightly so).  I took the opportunity to sleep from Twin Falls to Boise although again, although it wasn’t very restful sleep, and I was wide awake by 44 miles out of Boise. We texted our teammates who we discovered had just left Baker and were a little over two hours out from our rendezvous location. We pulled in thinking we could possibly keep going and meet them in Ontario I supposed then I could say I made it to Oregon, but I knew I needed a little more rest and I was already pushing myself in miles that I would have to drive home by myself on minimal rest.  So, we stayed put and took a nap in the car.  When we heard that mom and dad had made it to Meridian we got the kids and dog out of the car for a run, to get some energy out and stretch and maybe use the bathroom.  The kids were excited and very cute to watch.  I am going to miss their energy, laughter and smiles these next three weeks.  I am looking forward to some sleep, reading, and contemplative time.  I have not been getting that alone time with my creator since we embarked on this adventure.
My parents pulled in around the corner in a white 15 passenger church van around 10:00am only a second after Caleb told Hannah, “they could be here any second.” It was pretty funny.  And as soon as Eve recognized the faces she came running. Nothing like a I’ve missed you so much I’m going to sprint and dive into your arms kind of greeting to let you know how much you have been missed.
After talking and catching up, transferring bags and car seats and a potty break for them, feeling the time crunch I gave all the adults good bye hugs and we all got buckled in.  Realizing as I turned to wave my good bye that I had not hugged the kids good bye it sunk in how much I’m going to miss them. Three weeks is a long time. I know they will have lots of fun so I won’t worry too much. I know they know I love them but still a big missed opportunity to get in a good bye hug.


North to Burley I set my sights.  I do so love the higher speed limits in Idaho and Utah.  In an inky two and a half hours I was pulling into my childhood best friends house for lunch and a chance to get off my backside. I knew I looked like crap and probably smelled like crap but Colleen didn’t mind and after a hug I asked if I could take a shower and she said, “make yourself at home.”  I took a quick and wonderful shower and felt human again.  Thank you so much Colleen for lunch and a shower!
I couldn’t stay as long as I wanted, as I was already worried about tiredness and I knew I had 10 more hours of driving to do.  I have never thought that eastern Idaho ever offered as much beauty as the rest of the state but it really was such a beautiful drive through there.




I filled with gas at Maverick which is my new BFF (for this trip at least), and grabbed some snack food hoping to use it to ward off any afternoon drowsiness.  I then grabbed a coffee at the Golden Arches and headed down the road. Here is a bad picture of the beautiful Snake River flowing through Burley.

I hit I-84 east feeling like a whole new person.  I’m pretty sure it was the shower, and the coffee probably helped too. I turned my phone to iTunes Radio and filled the car with lively music.  The construction between Burley and Salt Lake allowed me to play dodge the cone as I took in the sights of the amazing mountains.  Man we are so blessed to be surrounded by such beauty all the time.


I lost my cell connection so I changed to the stored Christmas music on my phone, and stopped at another Maverick in another little town well before Brigham City to go to the bathroom and was so surprised when I got back on the freeway to discover stop and go traffic already.  For the next two hours I was in stop and go traffic.  I knew I would hit rush hour but I didn’t know it would be starting so far out of Salt Lake or last so far past it.  For the most part we went faster than you do in Portland rush hour traffic but it just kept going and going and going.  Wow.  Now I was looking at an after midnight arrival time in Farmington according to the GPS but I was also wide awake now so I didn’t want to get a room yet.










The sunset again was beautiful.  It got dark as I pulled into Moab for dinner.




In Moab I stopped at Paradox Pizza for dinner, and a few phone calls to various people to check in and let them know I was doing ok.  I was only three hours from home (New Mexico that is).  The first hour into my drive from Moab to Farmington was filled with eating pizza which is very messy car food, drinking ice water and watching the lights in my rear view mirror. Then came the hard and tired time. I sang CC songs from cycle one off my phone, slapped my face, wetted my eyelids from water out of my water bottle and attempted to call a few people to talk to on speaker phone because I didn’t feel that area was all that safe for me to pull over and take a nap. I thought if I can get to Cortez I can get a room.  I did make it to Cortez it was pretty shut down looking as it was almost midnight.  I stopped at another Maverick gas station and filled my tank.  I chatted with the clerk inside for a little bit and grabbed a BIG gulp sized cup and filled it with Ice.  Enough ice I could eat it all the way to Farmington.  I added a few Big Hunks to the ice as insurance.  Surely chewing on that sticky stuff should at least get me to Shiprock which is right between Cortez and Farmington and if I was going to take a nap in the car the hospital employee parking lot there would probably be the safest place.  The ice worked great but wasn’t going to last me as far as I had hoped but between the ice and 1st Big Hunk I made it to Shiprock.  Being on familiar roads somehow helped me to pull it all together enough to make it the last 28 miles to my apartment.  That and the Dave Ramsey show played from my phone.  Walking into the apartment at 1:05 am I felt so much relief.  I had made it but not with out a few scary moments.  I don’t plan on ever pushing myself like that again.  Thank you all my friends and family who where praying for safe travels because I am sure that is what made the difference.  Now after most of the night and day of sleep I am still a little scared that I pushed so far.  I have to remind myself that I made it.  And promise not to push that hard again.
-love you all and I’m so thankful for this beautiful day that I’m safely in Farmington for.

Categories: Family Time, Road Trip, Travel, Travel Nursing | Leave a comment

Q and Hopefully A

I guess I am hoping that someone out there is feeling a little like they are traveling too through the pictures we have taken and the information we have learned and shared here.  I know most jobs are not portable, and two weeks off a year is only enough time to sneak in a camping trip and visit family for the holidays. This is especially for friends who have wanted to travel and see the states but their responsibilities have not allowed it, and for my fellow homeschool families who are studying U. S. History this next year we want to do this blog so that you all can experience this adventure with us and learn beside us.
I am curious. What would you like to know about the Four Corners?  Arizona?  Utah?  Colorado?  New Mexico?  The Continental Divide, The Grand Canyon, The Great Salt Lake?  The Navajo Indians, Hopi, Ute, Anasazi, Ancient Puebloans?
We will attempt to discover the answers to your questions and share them with you. We can learn together.


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Monument Valley

A celebrity in the landscape world Monument Valley easily made our to do list.
Per Wikipedia
“Monument Valley has been featured in many forms of media since the 1930s.  It is perhaps most famous for its use in many John Ford films, including Stagecoach (1939) and The Searchers (1956).  It has also been featured in the film Easy Rider (1969), Robert Zemeckis’ film Forrest Gump, Clint Eastwood’s film Eiger Sanction (1975), and recently the popular United Kingdom television show Doctor Who in the two episodes “The Impossible Astronaut” and “Day of the Moon”.”
It lives up to it’s name and is a monumental experience, but only if you take the 17 mile dirt road drive through the park, for it is so bumpy you can easily pretend you are Indiana Jones, or on some kind of exotic Safari.

































On our way home we drove by Mexican Hat rock




Goodnight from Navajo country.  Love, the Owens family.

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Carlsbad Caverns National Park

We just finished hiking through Carlsbad Caverns.  It was awe some.  So cool to see all the natural formations and pools in the cavern.  The kids really enjoyed it and liked the hike.  We were a little disappointed that the cafe down in the cavern was closed, but it was still a great experience and one of my favorite national parks yet.






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White Sands National Monument!

A looooong drive…..7 1/2 hrs south down to White Sands National Monument.  We drove through missile test sites, pistachio groves in Alamogordo, lava fields all the way to the bottom of the state, but White Sands was so worth it.  I was told it was one of those “been there done that” things….so not.  It was like the beach where you could spend hours contemplating life, playing, and you could spend all day just taking in it’s beauty.  Due to construction, and it just being a loooong way from Farmington, we didn’t have as much time there as we could have spent.  We played in the sand for a little more than an hour then we drove through the whole park enjoying the sight.  After that we did our Jr. ranger homework in the museum/visitors center.  Now onto Roswell.
























Do you see the Great Horned Owl (there is a whole family up there) in the soap tree yucca?

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Salmon Ruins and Navajo Lake

An afternoon drive/adventure!
More Indian ruins!  There are so many around here, but this time it was Anasazi ruins in Bloomfield NM.







Anasazi masonry was amazing!


The ruins are named after the original homesteaders pronounced Saul-mon.  The original Salmon homestead is still standing next to the ruins.


What appears to be a dugout house was turned into a root cellar.

The upgraded homestead home

The trading post and then various types of Native American dwellings for school kids to explore and experience.





The above dwelling is called a pit house, and there were several remains of pit houses on Mesa Verde but none intact. Just the dug out hole, so it was cool to go in one and feel how cool it was even on such a hot day.

Then we drove out to Navajo Lake to check out camping spots for when Suzanne and Jeremy come visit us in a few weeks.



20140518-175256.jpg it was a fun family drive, checking out washboard dirt roads with the kids singing “I’ll Fly Away” in the back seat.  Now to retire to bed early.
Thank you LORD for the diversity and beauty you created.

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Park Patches Brainstorm

We have been getting patches at every national park that we have been to (except Montezuma’s Castle because they are in the middle of changing the design and so they are unavailable) for each kid.  They are marketed to go on the the Jr. Ranger vests but they only have room for a few patches as they are mesh.  I thought we could make the kids like an AWANNA vests except it would be their National Park vests.  Other full time families sew them on to their travel blankets, but our current travel blankets are fleece tie blankets. We have seen some ideas on Pinterest for a framed wall display or putting them on a hoody which would give us room for more patches than a vest.
This is what they look like:




We need some more fun ideas on how to display/use these patches in a way the kids can look back at them and enjoy them for a long time.
Thanks for your help

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Mesa Verde

We have been waiting to go to Mesa Verde since we found out we were coming to Four Corners.  The kids wanted to stand on the corner of all four states and visit Mesa Verde.  The thing is that it isn’t very far from our apartment, so we were reserving it for a time when I had only a short break from work.  Well, today was the day.  It was a 45 minute drive to the visitors center where we booked two hour long walking tours and then we started up the steep windy road to the top of the Mesa ( which we learned later that because of the slight slope to the east it is actually an aquesta not a mesa).
Mesa Verde is more puebloan ruins but what is cool about these ruins is that like at Montezuma’s castle it is built into the sandstone alcoves of cliffs, but unlike Montezuma’s castle you can actually climb to the ruins and walk through them.






































We were in the park from 10:45-6:00pm so after all that climbing we were hungry for dinner.  The near by town of Durango, Colorado had been recommended as a cute little historic town, with a fun rail road museum, by the girls at work.  It was cute and a little too late for the train museum.  We filled up on pizza then walked around and looked at the shops in the historic downtown.






Another late night but so worth the fun day.

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