abq. to okc.

So our last two stops on the out West venture, were Albuquerque and Oklahoma City by way of Amarillo. Although starkly different from one another, both ABQ and OKC offered up a great experience for us. Take a look at our visit…

I don’t know how we got so lucky as to find the Hotel Parq Central, but should you ever be in ABQ you must stay there…especially in the fall, as it was cheaper to stay in this posh boutique hotel than a Hampton Inn. We loved every minute at the Parq Central and were sad we were only there for a night.

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The hotel wasn’t the only good pick we made while in the Land of Enchantment. Both our coffee shop picks and pizza dinner were nothing short of awesome. If you ever find yourself in this city, definitely try them both out! Pizza and gelato from Farina Pizzeria and Wine Bar.

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On the way to OKC, we stopped off  in Amarillo for lunch at The Big Texan. Fun place! Food portions are huge and there’s free entertainment…including both a table-side guitar player and all the people watching you can do.

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playing games inside The Big Texan…

Then to the Sooner State we were…

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I am thinking it won’t take you much thought to guess whose idea this was…

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patio night, enjoying Bricktown in downtown OKC.

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one of the most beautiful and unique memorials we have ever been to.

Right after this picture, we got back in the car and drove back home to Memphis… and now almost a week later, I am so thankful for the ridiculous number of photos we took because even this close out, its already fun to look back and re-live!

Here’s one of my favorite photos from the trip…I’ll end things here!

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sunset at the Grand Canyon

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one gorgeous hole.

Inside the Canyon

I don’t think there are really words that quite capture the essence of the Grand Canyon… Gorgeous? Yes. Massive? Yes. Breathtaking? Yes. But when you are standing there before it, those words seem so inadequate to the awe-inspiring, amazingness that stretches as far as your eye can see. I know Christopher and I are definitely not the first folks to stand before this beautiful hole and come up short for words…. However, we were probably a little more appreciative than most, simply because we almost didn’t get to see it.

This is what you never see in the postcards….

Canyon in the Fog

You can barely see them, but this is what the views looked like when we first arrived. Uh Oh!

But lucky for us, the clouds and fog did move out, so we could have the full experience of the canyon. Well, almost. Due to the high percentage of rain, we didn’t get to hike into the canyon, which we both were looking forward to. But, that’s life, and we still enjoyed a fun day checking out this national park.

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thought this turned out really cool.

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just happy the clouds and fog moved out…

Canyon at Sunset

canyon at sunset.

Backtracking a bit….but here are some photos to catch you up on journey to the Grand Canyon.

Camp

one of our camp sites along the way…

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brunch break in Durango on Tuesday.

Durango Joes

got to try out local coffee places.

Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde National Park

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Checking out ancient Pueblo cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde.

Arizona Rock

entering Arizona…

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We had never seen clouds like this!

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Arizona makes for a pretty drive.

Arizona Sunset

Arizona sunset.

We just arrived Albuquerque as of an hour ago… so here’s to a new adventure!

rocky mountain high.

So, Monday afternoon and most of Tuesday were spent weaving through The Rockies. And it’s incredible really, all the different faces The Rockies truly have. If you head out this way, thinking you will be seeing the same thing over and over again… you would hopefully be happily mistaken. Its almost like getting to experience several different seasons all within one day, while you meander through these mountains.

Some peaks are large grassy expanses, while others boast tall narrow pine and aspen trees right on top of each other, large bare rock formations also make appearances, as do lose rock and clay. And its not just the views that change, but also the drive itself. For awhile you are on switchbacks, that then may open up to reveal a large grass-filled valley, only then to take you rolling over hills. There is definitely no boring sight to be seen… its all so different from the next, but also just as thrilling! Here are a couple of views out of our window these past two days….

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Window View 2

Wish I could post more, but the Wi-Fi here is super slow. We are entered Arizona yesterday evening, so we are off to check out more of the Grand Canyon. Until next time…

On a separate note…

It doesn’t matter whether you are in the middle of the Grand Canyon, in Memphis at work, or enjoying some sunshine on the beach, today will forever be a day we remember all those we lost 12 years ago… So here is to all the families, friends and co-workers who lost those they loved on 9/11/2001, and all those who risked their lives to save others! Proud to be an American!

to colorado, with love.

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This state has my heart. It’s just that simple. While there is no doubt that I love Memphis, Colorado is my soulmate….I think Christopher would tell you the same thing. The mountains have this way of making me feel both limitless and calm and I never get tired of just staring at them. They are definitely not a view I see outside my apartment window at home, so I want to engrain their beauty in my head as much as I can.

Yesterday was spent in Boulder. And given the chance the witzs would probably jump at the opportunity to set up shop there…. so much to do outside and so much to see! Bikes everywhere! Trails everywhere! Basically fun everywhere! We didn’t waste a minute, so here’s the low down…

Pearl Street

Just a Sunday on Pearl Street.

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One of the many street performers on Pearl.

Panarama Point

Panorama Point.

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Lunch at the Mountain Sun. Some pretty tasty burgers…

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Yummy Zolo Sangria

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A little taste of Boulder.

Unfortunately, the hot air balloon could not happen this morning. I got the 4:30a call that weather wasn’t looking good (although it ended up being a super sunny day) and they had to cancel. 😦 I was super bummed, needless to say, But not all is lost though, we will have another chance in New Mexico on Friday, so fingers crossed. Plus, when you go to sleep at 9:30p for scheduled hot air balloon, whether its cancelled or not, your body is sick of sleeping by six…at least ours was. So….this is what we did. Pretty nice plan B huh?

Sunrise

Sunrise from Panorama Point.

As I type this post we are in Leadville, CO eating at an awesome pizza place. And only in Colorado can you find a place that has a slack line and disc golf baskets for you to play with… But here is what we have been doing since the sun rise!

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Enjoying our Bed and Breakfast.

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Super quaint B & B.

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Tea Time!

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It doesn’t get any better than this!

Now, off to camp. Till tomorrow….

plain greatness.

Dear Kansas,

Although I still have little desire to move your way, you were not as bad as everyone said. Yes, you offer very little by way of site-seeing and when I learned in school that you were flat, it was no joke, no caveat attached. I even pondered to Christopher, that running away from home as a child would have been futile because you could still be seen walking away three miles out or more. BUT you did have redeeming qualities, first you are the sunflower state, of which is my favorite flower. Points there! And secondly and most beloved your speed limit is 75mph the entire time on I-70 Which in my book allows me to go 80, possibly 83 without the worry of the flashing lights. Needless to say, I very much liked that about you.

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Christopher outside Artichoke

Plus, Wichita you offered as one awesome unique sandwich lunch at the Artichoke Sandwich Bar. Recommended to anyone going through!

I was however, so happy to finally reach Colorado! There is just something about how a sunset looks over the mountains….and we were super lucky to be driving in just as it was going down. A photo (in my eyes) simply can’t compare to what we were getting to see, but I still tried!

CO Sign

Sunset

Mowat Boys

And how lucky were we that we got to spend our first night in the Co-Rad with these adorable little men. Yes, a huge thank you to the Mowat boys and their wonderful mom and dad, Kim and Simon for letting us stay with them. It was the perfect start to our trip!

Now off to explore Boulder….until next time.

Love, Ash

Out West- just getting started

We rolled off of exit 5 right before ten o’clock to pull into the hotel in Van Buren, AR. It wasn’t a hard days driving by any means, but we were officially on our trip out West. After picking up the rental car, a grey Toyota Corolla, I realized the windows were covered in what looked to be tree sap. Luckily I had the forethought of bringing along some window cleaner because I knew a few bugs would find our windshield between Memphis and Boulder and back. After getting the car situated inside and out it was off to pick up the Misses.

Ash in car day 1

5:06 she rolls out of Helena and off we go. It almost felt like a normal Friday drive home except for we kept on 55 South which is actually a turn(only in Memphis) rather then heading straight onto riverside drive to our home. Arkansas or the Eastern half is very nondescript, it’s flat, covered in some type of farm, and quite boring. Once you get to Little Rock the scenery starts to change and things get a little more interesting, and I mean just a little, it’s an interstate after all. We stopped on the West side of LR for a quick bite to eat, a KFC/Taco Bell combo. What’s a road trip without some manufactured, over processed, good ole fast food. Ashley got a KFC combo, and yours truly got the true combo; taco, cheesy gordita crunch, and mac & cheese.

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IMG_2017Getting back on the road it was almost completely dark. I didn’t plan this one right as we got to see the ugly part of the state and now we get to drive through the pretty part of the state in the dark. We started The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest book on audio and made it 5-6 tracks in when Ash started to get tired which meant she would sleep till Fort Smith.

Red Bull Count is at 1. (I’m surprised it’s only 1)

46 Hours and Counting…

IMG_1233So, these all-telling snapshots of spots around our apartment can only mean one thing… road trip countdown is on the downhill! Yes, as of right now at 7 p.m. CST we are exactly 46 hours away from beginning our long drive West on I-40.IMG_1230

 

 

 

And as I said in my last blog post, be sure to check into the blog daily next week to get a snapshot of where we have been or what we have been doing that day. If nothing else, at least click over sometime Monday afternoon, to check out what I hope turns out to be spectacular sights from this last minute-added adventure…..

Hot Air Balloon

Yep, this is happening. Booked it today!  And since this is only one of three items on my obviously very short bucket list (or life list, don’t want to sound glass half empty), excitement doesn’t even somewhat get close to illustrating my elation. Talk about being on Cloud 9…. well, I guess I’ll be pretty close to one of them that’s for sure.

Anyways, if you are a praying person, please pray for safe travels for us… if you are a thinking person (everyone, I should hope), please keep us in your thoughts. And please, please, please post some comments for us to read along the way!

“Life is a blank canvas, and you need to throw all the paint on it you can.”
– Danny Kaye