Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Santa Fe, NM & Chinle, AZ

Greetings! It’s been awhile since we’ve had time to update the blog - it’s been a whirlwind the last few weeks. After our overnight in Amarillo, we made our way to Santa Fe, NM – including a little off-roading along the way. It seems that “road construction” in the state of New Mexico literally means they are constructing a road…and you drive on gravel while they are working on putting in the pavement. After waiting in a long line of stopped cars for twenty minutes or so (and meeting a great couple from Iowa in the process), we proceeded to follow the cars in front of us through a maze of cones, trucks, and heavy equipment. We got a little nervous when the sign said “pavement ends”, but Rich did a great job four-wheeling us through the construction zone.

We were very excited to get to Santa Fe because our dear friends Tim and Michelle and their three children flew in to spend a few days with us. We spent one night at Bishop’s Lodge where the girls got to hang out with horses. We took a beautiful hike in the mountains, ate at a great little organic restaurant called The Treehouse, and wandered around Old Town admiring the Navajo art and jewelry. Michelle’s parents met up with us and we had a blast entertaining eleven people for dinner in the RV for four glorious days.

After Santa Fe, we all hit the road and drove to Chinle, AZ, to see Canyon De Chelly (pronounced Du Shay) which is in the northeast corner of Arizona on the Navajo Nation Indian Reservation. As we pulled into the campground praying for site long enough for our RV, our prayers were answered. However, in our excitement, we turned too quickly and hit a big rock that tore off part of a plastic grate that protects the radiator. Rich was not a happy camper. Fortunately, Michelle’s dad checked everything out and said it all looked fine. It really could have been a lot worse. Damaging the radiator would have been the worst case scenario, but we could have also easily ripped off the sewage pipe which would have really stunk :-) I’ll tell you about the van later…

Horseback riding is mandatory when you have three horse-crazy girls, so Michelle, Tim, I, and the girls, set out on an adventure of a lifetime exploring the canyon with our Navajo guide, John. He did an excellent job showing us around this beautiful land and sharing stories of his people and their connection to the canyon. It was an amazing blessing to be a guest in a place so rich in history and natural beauty. Words are completely inadequate, so I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

We are continually blessed us as we travel through each unique corner of creation. God’s handiwork is nothing short of spectacular and the variety of people He created in His image is magnificent . The earth is truly filled with His glory!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dallas, TX

Last week was a whirlwind! Our rhythm of staying a week or two in one place is out the window for awhile. We left San Antonio and drove to Canton, TX, which is about an hour east of Dallas, and stayed at a beautiful brand new RV park called Mill Creek Ranch RV Park and Cottage Resort. We loved this place! It was inspiring to us to see a raw piece of land being developed slowly and carefully and with such attention to detail. We enjoyed walking around the property and just being outside in the nice warmer-than-normal weather. We were also blessed to attend a small church gathering that meets at the campground lodge. What a beautiful bunch of warm, welcoming people at Millcreek Fellowship.

On Sunday we headed into the Dallas area and spent three nights at Hickory Creek Campground. It was a nice place – close to the city, but yet we felt like we were out in the woods. Rich spent two days teaching a class at a client site so the kids and I had a couple of quiet days. It was so weird without Rich there. We have become so accustomed to all of us being together all day – everyday - that it felt like we were missing something…someone.

We’re on our way to New Mexico now and we stopped overnight in Amarillo, TX, at a wonderful spot called
Oasis RV Resort. When we checked in we actually got a refund because they have a "stimulus package" going on now. Then we had planned to do our laundry at this stop and discovered they have free laundry rooms! What a blessing! And, they even called a local mobile RV repair shop for us and we got our furnace fixed – just in time for the 20’s.

The guys from G’s Mobile RV Service replaced our limit switch, but ended up having to come back again a couple hours later. As it turned out, we had a
mud dauber nest in our furnace motor which became an interesting science investigation. Once they got that cleaned out, we were back in business. Thanks George and George!

Short video this time...

Friday, March 6, 2009

Austin & San Antonio, TX

Howdy Partner! We are now enjoying the great BIG state of Texas. We spent a few days near Austin at Bastrop RV Park complete with miniature horses and donkeys. The kids and I enjoyed talking with Barb and learning a bit about her mini animals. And, of course, no trip would be complete without a trip to Whole Foods. We hit the jackpot this time stumbling upon their world headquarters in Austin where they have an incredible flagship store. Austin is a vibrant city and the best Whole Foods store hands down.

We spent an afternoon hiking at
Bastrop State Park which was really fun. What we thought would take an hour turned into a three hour tour. We got lost a few times and had to back track, but we didn’t mind and Macie had a blast outside with us in the forest.

Then we headed a couple hours south to Blazing Star Luxury RV Resort in San Antonio. It was just around the corner from SeaWorld so we decided to pay our first ever visit to a Shamu – which was a great show. We also enjoyed the antics of the sea lions and feeding the dolphins. And we were reminded once again to bring our own lunch. Places like this drive me nuts because they have zero healthy food options other than a plain boring salad that you pay through the nose for. We ended up with four lame-o salads (hold the chicken), a couple slices of watermelon, one pickle, and two iced teas for $43.49. We should know better by now… We also got to see the Budweiser Clydesdale’s which live right there at Sea World – very cool.

We celebrated Rich’s 41st birthday visiting the Alamo and the Riverwalk. Unfortunately we arrived too late in the day to take the Alamo audio tour, but we did get to poke around and read a bit about the event. We sat outside by the river and enjoyed a Mexican dinner where Rich was serenaded by a mariachi band! We also took a 30 minute boat cruise tour through the river walk. It really is a unique and beautiful city.

We recently had two exciting opportunities to witness God’s provision for us. One has to do with a harrowing adventure through the city of Houston. If you want to hear the story, I wrote about it on my personal blog so click here to read more.

The other story is about our dear little Macie who lost a front tooth. As we were packing up to leave San Antonio, I was making a mental note that we would need to find a vet and get her mouth checked at our next stop. So…we were hooking up the van behind the RV when out of nowhere a lady walks up and strikes up a conversation with Rich and Ashley. I was sitting in the van at the time, but I could see her clipboard and she had business cards that said “Pet Express Mobile Vet”. Praise God!! I asked her if she would mind taking a look at Macie’s mouth and she was more than happy to help us out. Thank you, Heather! Macie is just fine…one less tooth, but there is no infection and nothing to worry about. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!