Wrapping it up

We don’t wanna go back home!
This was truly a wonderful trip. We are so lucky to have had the opportunity to share this time together and travel the country for a whopping 6 weeks! Being married is awesome because you have this best friend that is stuck with you forever and the best part is that we like to do the same things which makes traveling so much better. During this whole trip we were only away from each for a few hours. You know, it’s funny the #1 thing people told us before this trip, and the last, is that it’s too much time together, are you worried you will get tired of each other? Uh, nope. Why would I agree to spend the rest of my life with someone I didn’t enjoy spending my life with? Of course we didn’t get tired of each other, that’s nonsense LOL.

So many new experiences.
During this trip we have seen so many things for the first time since both of us have not been to most of these places. The only place we had both been was Colorado and, of course, Houston but that doesn’t count LOL. I had been to the Denver, including Boulder and Rocky Mountain National Park. Jacob had been to Breckenridge for skiing. And that’s it, those are the only places that we traveled before on this side of the country!

Every time we arrived in a new location I would say, “we are so lucky!” At the end we were talking about our favorite things and places. Every place was amazing, it’s so hard to choose a favorite. Jacob’s absolute favorite place was Glenwood Springs. He loved the scenery, white water rafting, and the hot springs pool. My favorite was, uh…..I honestly don’t have a favorite, I loved them all so much and I want to go back to every single place again on individual vacations to spend more time. I LOVE Colorado, that state has everything you could ask for, I LOVE it! But then I also loved Zion, Sequoia, Yosemite, White Sands, and every other place except San Francisco. I really didn’t like San Francisco because we had been to so many beautiful places in wildness before that it was hard to get myself in the city-mood. I’m sure if we would have experienced San Fran in a different setting and stayed in a better location it would have been a much better trip. It is a beautiful city with much to offer for a tourist. I was in a different state of mind, a serene appreciation for nature and all it’s wonder and I wasn’t prepared for a city. On the last trip we had city after city, nothing but cities but on this trip it was mostly National Park after National Park and a city just didn’t fit into the mix.

The Last 2 stops before HOME.
It’s so sad going home. Going home means life has to go back to normal. Jacob must leave and reality must resume. Taking a vacation this long allows you to forget that you actually have a job, bills to pay, a house to clean, and other obligations. The great thing about going home is seeing family after being away so long and spending time with them. Another great thing is we can reminisce all the great memories we created through pictures and this blog.

The second to last stop was in Junction, TX. This is hill country, the landscape here is beautiful. We stayed the night at North Junction Campground. This was a great place to stay for the night, it would have been a great place to stay for a week. There is a river along the side of the campground for canoeing, fishing, and swimming. All of the sites are pull-thru that are very level and many of them have nice patio areas with fire-rings. They also have a playground, pool, laundry, and nice restrooms with showers.

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Our last stop was in Houston. On the way we stopped in San Antonio for BBQ. Jacob was looking forward to this stop the entire trip, seriously. When he worked in Corpus Christi he raved about this place, on a daily basis, and vowed to visit the original location. Unfortunately it wasn’t as good as what he remembered down in Corpus and he was bummed out. So now we have to go there for him to get his fix. I think his cooking on the Green egg is the best I’ve ever had, but he says Rudy’s is better just not this time.

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After lunch we drove on to the campground. We stayed the night at East Lake Houston RV Resort, near the Kingwood area. This is a great place to stay while in Houston and there are multiple locations all over the Houston area. On our last trip, we stayed at West Lake Houston RV Resort which was near Katy, TX and loved it. There are great amenities including a big brand-new pool, cooking stations with gas grills, refridgerators, ice makers, and gas fire-pits, a rec-room with a gym and pool table, amazing showers, and equally amazing laundry. To everyone that lives in Houston that we didn’t visit, we didn’t visit anyone. We knew that we would be exhausted and would not get to the campground until the afternoon. We really wanted to visit but we didn’t schedule enough time. We still love you all, and we are not avoiding you LOL.

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I saw this picture on facebook, it completely nails every fire we have ever had at any location!

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HOME
Driving from Texas, you know when you hit Louisiana because the road changes. It’s horrible, you can’t really tell in a car, but in a truck, and you’re especially lucky with a trailer, because it’s a rough ride! The truck goes into gallop-mode, a steady nauseating jerking motion that is so annoying! Talking becomes a hilarious challenge! I, kind of, love it because it means we’re home! To get into the louisiana-mood we listened to cajun and zydeco the rest of the drive. We stopped for a quick lunch in cajun-country with Jacob’s dad and sister. Then it was back on the road to finish it up!

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Being back home is bitter sweet. I am most excited to have a bath tub again but least excited to clean the truck and camper. The absolute worst of all is that Jacob has to leave.

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Adieu, until our next vacation!

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Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Brantley Lake State Park in Carlsbad, New Mexico

It was hard to leave the beautiful whites sands, but we have a schedule. No people in the ranger station here either, what’s up with that New Mexico?!? We found our site, set up, and rested a bit to watch the bats exit the cave to feed at Carlsbad Caverns.

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We rested for a purpose! The flight of bats at dusk is a miraculous sight! We just happen to be here during the perfect season. Right now there are more bats here than at any other time of the year. Awesome! So we arrived to watch the flight at 5:30pm, the bats had exited the night before at 8:22pm. We thought it would be earlier than that so we had time to kill. We also tried to schedule a guided tour of the cave but they closed at 5pm. Killing time turned out to be easy. The Visitor’s Center was recently revamped. There is a restaurant, gift shop, book shop, historical information on formation and biology including bats, and a movie from the Discovery Channel about the cave. Before the bat show a Ranger gives a talk about the importance of the habitat of the cave and the impact of humans on the bats. She also discussed the different types of bats in the world. You are not allowed to take pictures of the bats, so we left the camera in the truck. It was pretty awesome, hundreds of them fly out at a time and then they just keep coming out. There were thousands of them. After we had our fill of bat-time we headed back to the camper. We were ravenously hungry and it was too late to cook so we stop at IHOP for a “quick-meal.” No, this IHOP seems to be brand new, all employees brand-spankn’-new including the cooking staff….so the “quick-meal” turned out to be over an hour.

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We woke up really early to head over to the cave because we were worried that the tours would sell out. The cave is self-guided but there are areas that the public is not allowed to travel without a guide. We wanted to see some of these secret areas. Jacob is obsessed with taking pictures inside caves, he LOVES it! We have like 500 pictures of this cave, and I’m probably underestimating. We really enjoyed this cave. It is HUGE, with a lot of walking, so much walking that there is a restroom, snack bar, gift shop, and an optional elevator. There used to be a hot-food cafeteria down there, in a cave! I don’t even understand how they did that, seems like it would do a lot of damage to the cave. Now there is just a cooler with drinks, sandwiches, and salads. Jacob even bought a cool shirt dow there.

Before our tour of the King’s Palace at 1pm we wandered around the cave on our own. It’s pretty cool to be able to walk around a cave without a guide. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a cave without a guide. We were also pretty alone, there were not many people in the cave which was really nice.

The tour was nice. The area we toured was used in the first Journey to the Center of the Earth film, which I’m pretty sure I have never seen. On a bit of a rant; I don’t understand people in dark places who think it’s ok to use a flash on their camera?!? Hello my eyes just adjusted to the darkness then you come and screw it up! WTH! Do they honestly think there flash is not hurting other peoples eyes? There was a guy in our group with a huge flash, bigger than normal and normal is bad enough in a cave, and he took a billion pictures. I wanted to grab it and throw it down an endless pit.

Jacob knows that you don’t use a flash in a cave, if he did it would not end well for him. He has perfected his technique and I think the shots are great. And that is why I keep him! But as I was making the collages for the blog I noticed that this cave is kind of scary looking in pictures. It reminds me of the movie Legend, where the devil lives…spooky!

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Grand Canyon and Sunset Volcano in Flagstaff, AZ

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We arrived in Flagstaff later than expected. After we setup we jumped in the truck to go to the Visitor’s Center in Historic Downtown. We received some valuable information and COUPONS (which is why you should always go to the visitor’s center) at the desk just in time for closing in 2 minutes. There is a wonderful pamphlet with 5 days of adventure itinerary.

We were not able to go walking around downtown as planned because as we were leaving the Visitor’s Center the sky turned black, the winds began to howl, and it started pouring. It rained the rest of the evening. So we did some groceries (like it’s a verb) rented a movie and stayed inside the rest of the night. Apparently this is the beginning of their monsoon season, darn but whacha-gonna-do?

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The following day we planned to go the Grand Canyon National Park. We spent almost the whole day at this park. Walking around and taking pictures of the beautiful, gigantic canyon. It’s definitely GRAND! The park has an easy layout for any activity level. There is basically 1 main parking area, it’s huge like Disney-style with numbered rows and animals to remember where you parked. I said, “Pluto row 14,” and Jacob didn’t know what the hell I was talking about. Anyway we parked on Raven 1. There is a really nice Geology Museum about the formation of the landscape and identification of the minerals that make up the landscape.

After walking all day, we were pretty tired but I still wanted to go Downtown to walk around and window shop. Wouldn’t ya know the sky unloaded again! I think Jacob asked for this to happen, LOL! He hates window shopping and walking around with no real plan or purpose. So it was back to the camper for another rained-in night.

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The next day we drove to Sunset Volcano National Park in the morning to walk on LAVA. On the way there we stopped to recycle all of our empty water jugs and other stuff. Jacob is such a wonderful husband, he found a recycle place, without me asking, because he knows it makes me so happy to recycle everything we can.

After a great morning in Sunset Volcano National Monument we planned to head over to the Lowell Observatory during the day, have a nice dinner in the city, then go back the Observatory at night. However things didn’t go quite as planned due to the afternoon monsoon, again! It was so upsetting, because this time it started raining at lunch time which screwed up the whole day.

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