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.

20141220_183803_LLS

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.

20141220_114650

But, no, we had more fun to come…

20141220_201257

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.

20141220_201402_LLS

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.

20141011_171412

20141011_175417

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.

20141011_164340

20141014_160805

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.

20141011_193535

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.

20141012_171205

20141012_171622

 

 

20141012_165412

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

20141012_210951

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.)

20141013_115221

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.

20141013_164144

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.

20141014_133629

IMG_9765

IMG_9766

IMG_9781

IMG_9796

IMG_9805

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

IMG_9804

The end.

IMG_9819


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

IMG_8744

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

IMG_8741

IMG_8771

IMG_8746

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.

IMG_8780

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

IMG_8788

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.

20140817_084707

IMG_8485

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.

IMG_8527

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.

IMG_8519

IMG_8525

 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.

IMG_8506

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.

IMG_8534

IMG_8546

IMG_8548

Our next adventure was NOT really what I had expected.

20140817_110758

IMG_8571

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.

IMG_8613

IMG_8603

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.

IMG_8611 IMG_8643

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.

IMG_8698

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!

IMG_8646

IMG_8672

IMG_8652

IMG_8563

(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.

IMG_8718

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.)

IMG_8709


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.

IMG_8267

*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.

20140815_164549_Richtone(HDR)

20140815_164348

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.

20140815_204613

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?!)

IMG_8293

IMG_8296

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

20140816_105644

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.

IMG_8316

And then drove and drove and drove…

IMG_8337

…and saw beautiful scenery and cute little towns…

IMG_8377

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

IMG_8368

…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.

IMG_8395

IMG_8412

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

IMG_8402

IMG_8420

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

IMG_8435

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.

IMG_8449

Yes, ’twas the best part.