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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My Recent Journey-

The last couple of weeks have been busy. Work has just been work, though during this time I completed my nineteenth year as a correctional officer. I am thankful for a job that has met the needs of my family, though I am weary of the task itself. I shall retire next December, and move on to something else.

What made the weeks busy had been preparation to bring my Texas family back to California. We shall dwell together, four generations under one roof. They were treading water economically, and Texas was not proving to be the place they could call home. Though the San Antonio area is very nice, they were burdened with more expenses than they could handle. So, it was time to come home.

Coming home provided an adventure and road trip for myself and my son, Matthew. We flew back to help with the move. Several days of preparation, then on the road with a Budget rental truck, a small car in tow, and an SUV. Three adults, three kids, and four days on the road.

I am still working on the Picasa photo album for this trip. It was actually a lot of fun. Hard for the kids, but we all pulled together and they did quite well for such little ones. Our stops were in Amarillo, Texas; Winslow, Arizona; Kingman, Arizona; and home to Felton, California.

Amarillo included a visit to The Big Texan. Keeping costs down we opted for more affordable meals rather than the big steaks for which the place is famous. I would love to return for a nice steak dinner, but just having the experience was rather nice. The Big Texan is just tacky enough to be very cool. If you are ever traveling on highway 40 near Amarillo, I recommend a stop.

Winslow proved to be fun. It was at just the right point for a stop, and we visited Standin' on the Corner Park the following morning. It was a great photo opportunity, and a great addition to the travel video my daughter and granddaughter were preparing to send back to friends and classmates in Texas. I will probably put it up on YouTube once it is done.

Between Texas and Arizona was a journey through New Mexico. This added a state to the list of those I have visited. My 30th state, using a very loose count. New York, Georgia and Arkansas were actually just plane changes, and hardly count except in a technical sense. West Virginia was passed through on a train at night, and I saw little. Most of the others I saw at least a little bit. Every one I would love to visit again and see more.

New Mexico included a stop at Continental Divide. We visited some Indian souvenir shops and got some pictures. The divide is a bit less dramatic in New Mexico that when I crossed at other points further north, but the stop was fun. My granddaughter Madelyn was excited to meet real Indians. Perhaps when she is a bit older I can share with her that several of her classmates in Texas had been descended from Mexican Indians, and that Indians had already been part of her life.

Our trip through Arizona included a trip to the Grand Canyon. Taking a moving van towing a car through a national park is not something I would recommend, but we wanted to include at least a short visit to the Grand Canyon in our travels. We were passing quite near, and the loop proved to be an easy drive and a good investment.

We were all quite impressed. One could not help but be impressed by something so vast and so majestic. My son Matthew said it best, stating that no photograph or video does it justice. It is a thing worthy of awe in the proper sense of the term. I would love to spend more time there, some day.

On the way out of the park I spotted two Elk, and we saw several deer just a few miles away. There were huge crows living along the rim. Granted more time we might have seen other animals. Beth, my daughter, wanted to see the mountain lion noted on the mountain lion crossing signs along the road. No such luck.

Kingman proved to be just a stoping place. A cheap room next to a truck stop and an active rail line. Adequate, but nothing worthy of note.

We had hoped to travel highway 93 across the Hoover Dam and drive through Las Vegas, but security did not allow rented trucks to pass over the dam. Damned terrorists, messing up our travel plans! So, across the Mojave Desert, through Bakersfield and the Central Valley, and on home.

Then came unloading the truck and finding places to put all of the stuff. We will be weeks getting it all in order and restructuring our lives so that we can all dwell together in one house. It will be a challenge, but I have missed having the grandkids close at hand.

Now they will be quite close, indeed! Papa is very happy!

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