Thursday, June 28, 2007

San Juan River Pictures

The put in point, Mexican Hat, UT. Our campsite after the second night. It was too hot to sleep in tents or away from the river. View from the top after hiking up a canyon.

Unfortunatley, these are the best of my pictures. The camera quit two days in. It objected to the sand in its orafices.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Night Visitor and the Wooden Spoons

I've been trying to catch up on our road travels in chronological order, but I'm skipping ahead. We are currently in Driggs,ID staying in a 2 Bedroom cabin on six private acres in the middle of freakin' nowhere. It is about an hour from Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons and the closest we could get without selling an organ to pay for it. We arrived last night in Driggs, population 1,100 and hit this fantastic supermarket, which is no doubt supported by the tourists coming in to ski, canoe, kayak, bike and hike. We found our new digs quaint and well equipped. The kitchen is new, with nice appliances, always something that impresses me. We fed the boys dinner, played some cards,watched the sunset across the valley, sent the boys to bed and we followed suit shortly there after - to our own private bedroom! We haven't had private sleeping quarters since Santa Fe so we spent a few minutes "putting out" before we happily passed out.
Hours later, I was rudely awakened by a blinding white light and some mumbled mutterings from my DH as he rounded the bed toward the living room/kitchen. Did you say field mouse?, I asked. Yeah, he said. There is one stuck in a trap and the other is rumbling around in the Rice Krispies. Still too asleep to be concerned, I propped up on one elbow and peered out of the bedroom door where DH was standing just beyond it, naked, with two wooden salad spoons in his hands, ready to wrangle the wild west field mice. He finally discerned that there was only one mouse, and it was making a snap, krackle, pop sound trying to free himself from his sticky trap. So, DH bravely scooted, with the help of the wooden spoons and a few nervous twitches, the tarred varmint to the door and shoved him out into the brisk night air to meet his fate. (Me? I'm still in bed. After all, it only takes one person to wrangle a trapped mouse.)In the morning the poor guy was still alive, so deeming it a humane trap, DH wrestled him free, with much effort and the help of the same wooden salad spoons and released him back into the field. Only he was so damned sticky, he stuck to himself. I called the owner of the cabin and that's when I learned the trap wasn't humane at all. It was a one-time-use trap. It's the only time we will use the wooden salad spoons, too.

Monday, June 25, 2007

River Trip

This year's river trip, included something we didn't get much of last year - sleep! We had sleeping mats. Though they were cheap ones, they were better than last year's - we forgot to bring them! We had a fantastic time on the San Juan River, putting in at Mexican Hat, UT and taking out (not "putting out" as I kept repeating until my friend, Matt, corrected me with chuckle. Putting out is not a river term; it belongs in another arena) at Clay Hills Crossing, UT. The weather was hot but agreeable - we didn't have to endure a sudden rain storm. We all were better prepared for the sun and heat this year, with lots of sunscreen (we ran out last year) and ridiculously expensive SPF long sleeve sun shirts. Man, they were well worth it. I wore mine the entire time the sun was beating on us.
The rapids were milder, class I and II with just one class III that the DH and I did together in a Duckie, an inflatable two person kayak. About half way through the rapid he clocked my head (thank God for helmets) with his paddle. I was through the rapid before I realized he wasn't in the boat anymore. Turns out, he was being tossed from the boat as he pummeled my nogin.
I spent a lot of time paddling a Duckie this trip. I also got to successfully guide one of the big rafts through a small rapid. In addition, I guided the same raft, and my friend, Beth, who was riding in front, into a bed of Tamarisks on the bank.
The boys had a blast. Their biggest issue was using the Groover to eliminate their waste. We all peed in the river, which was a hell of a lot easier for the males, but we grooved on an ammunition box, adorned with a toilet lid. I must admit, I didn't readily hop on the Groover myself, with out being moved beyond will. Since hitting land, we have all spent time happily grooving on a modern toilet, without the company of a pack of flies or groovy stench.
We had two amazing hikes on our last two days; both at our campsites. One was at Slickhorn. We hike up the canyon about a mile to a pool of water in cased in small canyon of it's on. The kids (and adults)jumped off a cliff into a pool of water below. I missed most of the fun as WC was having a "moment" because he forgot his life jacket back at camp and didn't want to borrow someone Else's. I took a time-out, hiked back down to camp and took a break in the shade of our camp table.
The other hike was in a canyon - I'll have to find the name - on Navajo land. It was absolutely stunning to walk through this canyon. I can't describe how amazing this place was but i hope to have some pictures to post soon. My camera took on some sand and stopped working but other's took pictures. More later....

Last Day in Santa Fe

Our last day in Santa Fe was a week ago, Saturday. We had Internet problems at our adobe and then of course we spent a week on a river (more later) but I'm trying to catch up. I'm having trouble uploading the pictures so words will have to do.
I was enjoying my coffee on the great front porch when a presumed neighbor (we ran into him later - he was just passing through to the market) stuck his head in and told me about the farmer's market just up the street from our digs. We had fun strolling around and talking to the local farmers. We bought some local honey and shared a fresh baked sweet roll. We then walked back into town had some Pizza (for the third time this week, UGH!) at Rooftop Pizza. With calories to burn we cruised the many vendors at an arts festival on the Plaza. The boys had fun with some balloon creations and I bought a few gifts, including ones for a fall wedding and Christmas. I convinced the boys to go into the Fine Arts Museum, since I already had a pass and it didn't cost us anything more. We blazed through at top speed, maybe 13 minutes in all, my WC stopping to touch a few things that he shouldn't have. We then took a bus across town for another museum. The boys were toast by then, but were good sports. We skated through the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, caught the bus back home and spent the rest of the afternoon taking it easy, but of course I had to throw the baseball with the WC.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Day Trip

We took a day trip today with the intention of making a loop and stopping in 5 or 6 different places but made it only to two of them. We stopped first at San Ildefonso Pueblo, a village known for it's fine pottery. It was founded in the 1300's and was quite small. We spoke with a local potter who was eager to share her story with us. The pottery is made without using a wheel or firing in a kiln AND was terribly expensive. The potter we spoke with said that the rest of her family was in Santa Fe trying to sell at "the street market" on the Plaza. Apparently, there are only about 25 spots where you can sell your crafts and each day 800 or so artists draw numbers to determine who sells that day. If you draw a blank, then you come home.

We then moved on to Bandalier National Monument for a look at ancestral pueblo ruins. The boys and I had fun crawling in the cliff dwellings there.

We met several people who had friends/family in Asheville. We also met one couple who had been on the road for over three weeks and were making their way back home to Charlottesville,VA. We all enjoyed meeting/speaking with other folks. There is something about these kind of public environments where folks are relaxed and moving slower, that lends itself to striking conversations with strangers. In one of the cliff dwellings, we met a family of four from Cincinatti with two older boys, all headed to a scout camp close by. In our five minute conversation, the mom urged me twice to get the boys in scouts. The boys have never expressed an interest but I didn't feel comfortable sharing with this stranger that I don't encourage scouts as they are exclusive, in that they don't allow gay members.
We then tried to hit a Science Museum in Los Alamos but gave up rather easily when we couldn't find it. It was creepy there. A very sterile, secure town, where World War II's secret Manhattan Project created the first atomic bombs. The boys were ready to go home so we headed back. They passed out for a nap and when we arrived home my Wildchild was ready to throw the baseball as we did yesterday. First, I tried, in vain, to take a little snooze, but the WC kept checking on me to throw. Oh well. Sleep will be good tonight.
We finished off our day with a walk into town for some ice-cream but had to hurry back so the WC could watch the Tarheels play in the college baseball series.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Slow Day

We rose early but didn't get out until 10 this morning. We can walk to the Plaza from our digs. It's about 1/2 mile. We hit the Visitors Bureau where I learned I can get a pass for 5 museums for $15 (the boys get in free)- what a deal. So we first visited the Governors Palace History Museum, but we had to pass through the Plaza where there was a very surreal Flag Day celebration going on, complete with a two bit band playing all the patriotic 'favorites' and a woman dressed as Betsy Ross handing out programs. It seemed like a scene out of a movie. When they started singing the national anthem, the Wildchild said, "Let's go!" Then we walked on to the Post Office (we had to mail Pop his Father's Day card), the t-shirt shop where the proprietor had 5 children, ranging in age from 1 - 11, running around (the boys spent their money here, Brainiac on a t-shirt for his Dad for FD and Wildchild, one for himself), the Five and Dime for a looksie, and then to a wood-fired Pizza Joint (where I got a local micro brew). By this the boys were "tired of walking" - UGH!. So we headed home for a delicious nap. I slept 2 hours, the boys a little less. Now, we are lazing around, the boys happily playing gameboys - I hate them but they sure are quiet:). Their dinner, which they are excited about, is double noodle canned soup and applesauce. Go figure.
I feel guilty not busting my bum to "go", since we hoofed it out here to "see" this beautiful country but the slow day sure has been nice. I'm still holding out hope for a little car ride for a spectacular sunset. However, hanging out on this very cool partially enclosed, private porch, reading a book or doing a little Yoga (I brought my mat) sounds enchanting.
Well, the soup's on. See you later.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Santa Fe, Finally

Today proved more pleasant. The water park was the call and the Brainiac and I saved the best ride for last (the wild child backed out at the last minute). I looked like a big toilet bowl and we dropped -in a two person inter tube -from one side of a U shaped bowl to the other side. When i say dropped, I'm not exaggerating too much. I wasn't prepared for my stomach to be left at the top of the bowl while the rest of me sped down and to the other side. It took several hours for my stomach to recover.

Our digs here in Santa Fe are nice. Got it at and it is an adobe apartment of sorts. It's not far from the Plaza, so we can walk to town tomorrow. So far our travels have been about driving and sleeping accommodations. Though today, it was a treat to drive across New Mexico and view the cloud formations as well as the storms off to the North. Can't wait to explore tomorrow and Friday with my boys.

Notes from the Road

We embarked upon our trip "out west" on Monday, leaving later than planned (no shock), with plans to be in Santa Fe by Wednesday night. We spent Monday night in Memphis in a dive we got for a "deal" at The pool was filthy - my boys were in for a few minutes before they discovered the cigarette butt and trash at the deep end, the very slow Internet was an extra charge and they didn't have extra pillows. What kind of motel doesn't have extra pillows? Still, my boys rolled with the punches. We'll get a better place for tomorrow, I said.....

Well, it was worse. I used for the first time. Days Inn in Okey City. When we arrived, the curt attendant said we have reserved a smoking queen room. A queen won't do I said - never mind the smoking, which I knew was a risk as you can't request it at Hotwire. She gave us the keys to a double smoking room, no non-smoking available. The smoke billowed out when we opened the door. It smells like Grandma's house, the Wild Child said. Yeah, and we don't stay at her house either. So we left, the boys salivating as we passed the TWO pools, and went down the street the Sleep Inn. Non-smoking available but the pool was under renovation. Bless my boys, they said it was OK. They had a hard time going to sleep though - their second full day of sitting in a car without exercise. But this morning they were excited to find fresh waffles at the breakfast bar.

So we have 530 miles to Santa Fe, most of it interstate but will be stopping in Amarillo to hit a water park. They need it and frankly, so do I!

Some other random thoughts from our trip:

Driving through Nashville, I heard a new (to me as i don't listen to it much) country song where the guy's pick up line was, "I want to check you for ticks" and something about you never know where those ticks might hide. Pretty hilarious but, no doubt, some lame drunk in a bar somewhere has used it already. I wonder how long his face stung, after he uttered it?

Will my boys EVER learn to chew with their mouths shut? My DH hasn't, so I'm a little concerned.

I'm listening to Freakonomics on CD, when i can. Interesting stuff. i also got to listen to All Things Considered for two days in a row, as we have been on the road during that time.

I must get the boys packed so we can hit the water park in 4 hours. Now if I can just find something to use as a towel....