Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Another beautiful day in the Mountains.  Spent it with new friends Paul and Marty who showed us around their stomping grounds.  Must be nice to have a back yard that looks like this!  Such wonderful hospitality, in addition to showing us some amazingly beautiful spots, they also treated us to one of their favorite burger places.  Another beautiful, wonderful day.  Thanks Paul and Marty!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

After leaving the Grand Canyon on Friday we made our way to Las Vegas which was about the half way point to Bishop, California.  We called on our way and got a room and tickets to see a show.  Any of you remember the band from the 70's called "Air Supply?"  It was an entertaining show and funny to see how many people still know all the words to those old songs.
We left the next morning to continue on up to Bishop to stay with Jim's cousin Lon and Chris.  We also met their friend Allen as well and the five us enjoyed a wonderful weekend together.  Their home in Bishop is surrounded by mountains and the back yard has a beautiful stream running through it.  We enjoyed two lovely dinners out on the patio, and one at a wonderful restaurant on Mono Lake.  We listened to a couple who sang and played bluegrass music there.  Chris bought two paintings from a local artist who had work hanging at the restaurant and the artist happened to be there.  It was such a lovely evening.  Then they toured us around the mountains and told us stories of the area.  Yesterday Jim, Lon, Chris and Allen played nine holes at SnowCreek Resort in the mountains.  Thanks so much Lon, Chris and Allen for a wonderful time.
Beautiful Places
Touring the you think it's cold?
The Back Yard by Lon and Chris
I had an entire second day of beautiful scenery photographed and realized this morning I had left my memory chip in the computer!  I took a couple of dozen shots of nothin! :(
From Zion on Thursday, we started heading down to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  We hoped to arrive in time to see the sun setting over the canyon, but ended up arriving after dark.  As we were leaving Zion National Park, I got the number for the lodge at the North Rim, and called.  I guess there is about a one in one thousand chance of getting a cabin along the rim when calling the same day you are arriving, so we were shocked and elated when they told us they had a cabin we could have for that night!  What a gift!  Thanking God for another blessing along our journey.
It was about a three hour drive to the canyon and we had gotten the address from the Lodge and had put it in the GPS.  As we were nearing the park, and watching the signs, we missed a turn and the GPS instructed us to turn right about a third of a mile up ahead.  So we followed directions onto a gravel road and continued following the GPS cues for about thirty minutes or more.  I had heard that the North Rim was much more primitive than the much visited South Rim and thought it was quite exciting continuing down this rustic road.  Soon however our gravel road turned into two gravel tire paths with big rocks and crevasses.  We tried calling the Lodge but of course there was no cell phone service.  Needless to say we turned around and made our was back as best as we could remember.  We ended up coming out at a different area on the black top road we had been separated from and a police officer just happened to be coming by so we waved him down.  I said, "we are so lost!"  He just smiled and said, "yes you are."  He instructed us to turn right off the gravel road and go about an hour to the Park.  Our GPS was telling us to turn left!  So thankful he showed up when he did, especially considering you might only see one or two cars every 30 minutes or so.

Sunrise over the canyon
We got the park after dark and settled in to our cabin.  We got up before sunrise on Friday and made coffee and walked outside.  Our door faced a part of the canyon but was a small view so we crossed the parking lot and headed to the other side.  What can I say?  I'll just post the pictures.
Jim's first look over the ledge


Monday, May 28, 2012

Arches National Park

Left Grand Junction early Wednesday and went to Arches National Park in Utah.  What beauty we've seen along this journey.  The vastness and depth and beauty of these places is hard to describe in words or pictures.  We are in awe with every corner we round as we drive through these parks.
Jim having a moment with the
From Arches we headed to Brian Head Utah to stay for the night, I found
a lovely place for us at a resort online and we followed the GPS instructions all the way to the top of some crazy road that put us on a dead end at the top of a hill.  (hill is a great understatement)  Anyway we were able to make a very careful turn around and head back down the hill and found our hotel.

Now you would think we would have learned something from that experience, but no....

Thursday we drove to Zion National Park in Utah.  We took a shuttle from the parking lot because they don't let you drive up into the park beyond the lodge there.  Zion was spectacular.  Quiet beauty at every turn.  An artist's paradise.  It felt so peaceful walking along this stream taking pictures.  I'm amazed by the beauty of God's visual gifts to us in this world. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Vicki and Jim

Taking it easy yesterday and today and enjoying out time with Vicki and Jim our gracious hosts.  We will leave in the morning for Arches National Park and then down to Bryce Canyon.  We will stay the night in Brian Head UT and then to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon on Thursday or Friday depending on what Jim feels up for.  THANK YOU VICKI AND JIM FOR YOUR WONDERFUL HOSPITALITY! 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Day five
Colorado National Monument

Some scenery along the way
Yesterday morning we left Grand Lake and headed for Grand Junction to stay with Vicki and Jim.  Another stunning ride through the mountains.  We encounterd a bit of snow, sleet, rain and sunshine.  We arrived late afternoon and enjoyed the evening visiting.  Today we drove up to see the Colorado National Monument.  More amazing views everywhere you look.

The scenery was pretty breathtaking up there.  We enjoyed the ride and were able to stop at many of the points of interest to get out and take  pictures.  This is only minutes from Vicki and Jim's house, and these views overlook the town of Grand Junction.

Leaves ya kinda speechless!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Woke up to a beautiful view of the mountains outside our window this morning.  Sunny and warm.  We drove to Bear Lake in the Rocky Mountain National Park and I found a lovely spot to set up and paint.  After painting for a few hours, we drove the park and stopped at as many of the points of interest as we could fit in to a day.  All we can say is "WOW!"  The "size" of what we saw was so unbelievable.  In pictures it's hard to really grasp how vast and wide and majestic it really is.  It takes your breath away.  How refreshing it is to get away from all that man has made and gaze on the beauty of God's creation.  Painting outside gives such an opportunity to "be still" for more than a minute and really see it...and hear it...and even the smells of the aspen.  What a gift.  We drove from Bear lake all the way to the top of the mountains, up where the snow is.  It was beautiful.
 I had a little chipmunk climb up my arm and also sit on my shoe.  We saw moose up pretty close, some unusual and beautiful birds.  Tomorrow we will visit Monarch Lake and I will paint some more if the weather is good, then we will head out to my Aunt Vicki's in Grand Junction.
So that was our adventure for today!
He was very friendly!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

We spent seven hours on the road yesterday and today making our way through Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska and finally into the beautiful Estes Park in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.  Not much scenery until about an hour before arriving at the "Alpine Trail Ridge Inn" and then "Wow!"  We can tell already that pictures don't do it justice.  Will spend tomorrow exploring the park. 

Jim is thinking about where to
stop for dinner!
All there is to see in Iowa
More excitement in Iowa

Seeing the Rockies on the horizon!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sometime during the week after Mother's day, we plan to fill up the van with gas and take off!  The main focus of our trip plan is to see the Grand Canyon.  It's something we both have on our "bucket list." We plan to visit friends and family as we trek across the states as well and will be contacting some of you out west to see if you are up to having us roll by for a visit.  We hope to post pictures and journal the trip on this blog spot as well so the grandchildren will know where we're at and what we're up to.