Choosing to see the extraordinary of "ordinary"

Category Archives: Travels

So, I’m mostly recapping here the blessings that have happened last month, but a blessin’ is a blessin’ no matter when it occurs.

Last month for my birthday weekend, My Man and I took a trip to Kansas City.  Going a couple months without going anywhere starts to become torture for us (at least for me), and we I start to say, “We never go anywhere.”  Yeah, poor me.


So, getting away for a couple days was just the thing to cure my pity party.  And boy howdy, we started the weekend with a bang.  For the past couple months, I have been trying to get one of those super cheap, super wonderful farmhouse sinks from Ikea.  Well, everyone else seems to be trying to do the same thing because they were on back order until February.  I decided that since we were in KC, I would call.  Long story short, I got a hold of the most-wonderful-sales-person, and she told me about a floor model that was not only there but discounted!!!!  I screamed.  Not right there in the phone but later to My Man (because he can handle my screaming about sinks.)20141220_111310

So, we went to Ikea and picked up our beautiful sink for 45% off and I grabbed a hot, fresh cinnamon roll and coffee and began to think I could die right then and my life would be complete.


But, no, we had more fun to come…


The weekend was filled with wandering downtown KC looking at the lights and savoring a way-too-expensive piece of cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory and not caring about the price.  (It’s a lovely thing to have a birthday right near Christmas.  I love it!)  We went to watch the ice skaters and decided not to join them as there were so many people.  But even watching ice skaters outdoors while listening to Christmas music surrounded by Christmas lights…even watching was fun.  And we watched cable TV in the hotel and went antique shopping…yes, the important things in life.


And Sunday (my birthday) we made our way home just in time for me to meet some pretty awesome friends for a girls night/birthday party at Olive Garden (of which I did not take pictures).

Yes, the weekend was purely wonderful.


A couple weeks ago, My Man and I traveled to Iowa to see Grace at college.  I’m so glad we got to visit her aaaand that we had an excuse to visit such a pretty state!  ‘Tisn’t like Kansas at all.  It at least has hills and trees and beautiful fall colors.

This is the first trip that I haven’t planned the bejeezers out of everything before I go.  I looked up a handful of interesting “what to see in Iowa” things, but I didn’t even book hotel rooms beforehand!  (Except for when we were at Grace’s college…I did get the on-campus apartment the day before.)  We took each day at a time, and then would look online for a hotel in whatever city we happened to be in.  I don’t think I will convert full-time to this new mode of traveling, but it was nice for a change.

So, here are the pictures of our peaceful Iowa days.

Touring around the capital of Des Moines.  We got there too late to go in the Capital building, but we wandered some of the shops downtown and ate at Zombie Burger, a treat, to be sure.



Oh, and it’s always so interesting to see what can be found in basements of antique shops…balls of panty hose, wigs, you name it.



And that night we walked miles (literally) to High Trestle Trail Bridge.  The walk was worth it to see the 2300 foot long bridge lit up.


Next day we drove to to see John Wayne’s birthplace because we are fans of The Duke (I have been since about 3 or 4 when I would insist on watching “old westerens” on TV).  Also caught one of the bridges from The Bridges of Madison County on the way.  Never read the book or seen the movie, but I might just have to now.






Spent lots of time in our campus apartment hanging out, watching TV and sleeping.


Had to leave Grace the third day.  Went to a coffee shop for the internet to plan where to drive next.  (Caleb brought his Monster in, because he doesn’t drink fruffy coffee, and doesn’t like the taste of manly coffee.)


Decided to visit the birthplace of Herbert Hoover.  Neither of us knew much about him.  He was pretty interesting, and the town he grew up in was beautimous in all its autumn glory.


The next day we went hiking at Musquokeeta Park.  It is chock full of caves that you could explore.  We ventured into the big one, but the others where you had to crawl and use major flashlights, we opted out.







And the leaves, I just died for all the beautiful leaves.


The end.


Final part of our five day journey to Colorado and back…


…we went to Mesa Verde National Park on our last day.  It was very interesting (and hot) place.  Drove and toured around.




That evening we just drove around the town of Mancos and the area outside of it.  It was such an authentic small town.  All the towns around – Silverton, Durange, etc – are great and all, but the smallness has been overshadowed by the touristyness.  So, an authentic small town where there were, for a fact, absolutely NO chain restaurants, stores and such was very refreshing and real.

We saw so many deer that evening.  You would have thought we’d never seen them before.


Then the next day we started the long journey home where I read magazines, crocheted and we listened to Agatha Christie mysteries.


It was a fun journey, and it was fun to come home.

Then End.

So, after going to sleep while staring at the multitude of stars, I woke up staring at the mountains.



Unfortunately, My Man had not slept well at all.  He finally fell asleep as I was getting up.  So, I stoked the fire, made some coffee (out of a drip coffee thing – pretty handy when you have no electricity) and some oatmeal, wrote in my journal, read my Bible.


And then went on a hike.  Because when you’re at a cabin in the middle of the mountains, a husband who has not slept well is NOT going to keep me from exploring.



 I followed a trail obviously made by wildlife down the hill to a creek.  I KNEW I should have woken up earlier to see the animals, but sleep was more of a priority, I guess, and I had to settle for just seeing the cutest chipmunks ever.


Anyways, by the time I got back, My Man was up and refreshed.  We hung around a little, cleaned the cabin and then headed for our next adventure.




Our next adventure was NOT really what I had expected.



You know, when Coloradans say something is “four wheel drive,” they don’t mean your typical four wheel drive.  They mean something between a walking path and a four wheeler path up the side of a 12,000 foot mountain, a mountain that is covered, not with dirt and gravel, but with man-size boulders and rocks.  Pictures do not adequately show what our four hour adventure consisted of, especially since I was gripping the door handle and not thinking about a camera during the scariest parts, but these may help.



The online description of “you will be following the path used by the miners in the 1800’s” should have alerted me.  Because these “paths” had, indeed, been made by the miners (who used mules and maybe wagons), over one hundred years ago and never improved since.

This was the calm, pleasant part.

This was the calm, pleasant part.

I ate some of these wild raspberries - they were delicious and, thankfully, not poisonous.

I ate some of these wild raspberries – they were delicious and, thankfully, not poisonous.

One comfort was that there were actually quite a few adventurous crazies like us making the trek.  Except that not longer became as much of a comfort when I saw the Jeep in front of us tilt at a 45 degree angle over some boulders, a fact made scarier since the wheels were, no joke, about six inches from the precipice.  Screams came from that vehicle…SCREAMS.

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But I had the most amazing driver ever.  I honestly don’t know how he made it, but made it My Man did, most expertly.


We did enjoy it, especially when we reached the ghost town.  And after that, we took the dirt road out, which looked so beautiful that I asked Caleb if it were paved.  It just was so beautiful and smooth!





(Oh, and Carrie, please tell Jeremy that pointy rocks were the very LEAST of our worries.)

Anyway, with that adventure over, we explored the cute little mountain town of Ouray and ate elk and buffalo burgers at a restaurant.  The town was great…the burgers, eh, not so much.  We have a knack for picking sort of lousy restaurants on vacations.


Then we drove to our hotel near Mesa Verde.  No, it wasn’t a cabin in the mountains, but it did have a shower!  (I kind of liked that part.)


Yes, ’twas time for a mini vacation.  Despite the fact that more than one family member said, “You’re going somewhere AGAIN?” we thought that it had been far too long since our last trip.

For this mini vacation, we decided upon the grand state of Colorado.  A.) because it’s not that far away, and b.) because it’s Colorado.  COLORADO.  Like the place where you have to wear a jacket when the sun goes down, even in August.


*sigh* I have so many wonderful memories of Colorado.  ‘Tis a mightily wonderful place.

Day 1:  We drove.  ‘Cause it takes a long time to get across western Kansas (and eastern Colorado).  And, no, I’m not a Kansas or western Kansas hater.  This state is beautiful in it’s own ugly duckling way.

In the afternoon, we settled into our hotel and then went to see a castle near Garden of the Gods.  It used to be a private residence but then was bought as a Christian retreat center.  Someday we shall come back and rent one of the rooms, such a peaceful place it was.



And then, AND THEN!!!…we visited my dear friend Carrie.  I love my dear friend Carrie.  They moved to THE most AMAZING house in Colorado ever.  Caleb and I both agreed that we were slightly jealous and also completely happy for them.  And their kids are just the cutest things.  I carried home a picture one of them drew just for me.


And then we went back to the hotel and rested for the next day…which I’ll go ahead and talk about.

Day 2:  Got up slightly early and left for Pike’s Peak.  So glad we went early because there was a major running event, and some people were not allowed to drive to the top.  (And, seriously, who runs to the top of Pike’s Peak?!)



Oh, and we saw the Big Foot beware sign and thought it quite funny.


And then a drive to Royal Gorge.  They’re reopening this month I guess from last year’s fire.  Couldn’t go on the bridge but saw it from a’far.


And then drove and drove and drove…


…and saw beautiful scenery and cute little towns…


…and finally got to the best part of the vacation – our cabin in the mountains just north of Silverton.


…I mean, would you look at that place?!  It took four wheel drive to get to, had solar powered lights but no electricity, no running water and complete isolated stillness.



We went for a hike right away before the sun went down and saw an elk.



And then came back and grilled hot dogs and had hot chocolate.  ‘Twere the best hotdogs and hot chocolate I’ve had.


And then went out and watched the stars.  I will never get tired of watching stars away from the city lights.  They twinkle out there in the boonies.


Yes, ’twas the best part.