• Learning and Exploring

    Blogtember Challenge: The Biggest Adventure I’ve Been On in My Life

    I am linking up here. I just went on my biggest adventure this year. My mom, four sisters and I (we actually didn’t fight too much, lol) spent two weeks road-tripping across the West and Midwest to San Diego and back. This was a flyby trip except San Diego, we stayed a couple days there.

    I could go back to all those places, but I especially would like to go back to San Diego and Albuquerque and to see more of Colorado than the mountains from the road! I have seen the Atlantic (only once in my memory, Jekyll Island; if I visited when tiny I don’t remember it), the Gulf multiple times, and the Pacific twice (the first time was the San Francisco Bay area . . . in January), and the beaches and water in San Diego are the most beautiful that I have seen; I enjoyed the water too even though it was May, and the curving waves that came at different curves and angles were quite interesting.

    Here are my posts, the middle ones are more photo heavy.

    Part 1 Oklahoma
    Part 2 Texas
    Part 3 New Mexico
    Part 4 Grand Canyon
    Part 5 San Diego
    Part 6 San Diego Zoo Part 1
    Part 7 San Diego Zoo Part 2
    Part 8 Last of San Diego
    Part 9 Utah
    Part 10 Colorado and Kansas

    And I was able to buy some goodies (NOT touristy things either)
    Travel Treasures

  • Learning and Exploring

    U.S. Southwest Survey Vacation: Utah

    After leaving California we drove through Nevada (only item worth mentioning is that we drove through Las Vegas . . . not nearly as large as I thought) and Arizona again (through a lovely, very close gorge of the Virgin River) and then Utah (where we stayed at the creepiest hotel of the trip).

    We climbed on large rocks to the view the sunset at Pioneer Park which also featured an old jail in the rocks. The next morning we drove to Zion National Park and walked/hiked a couple trails. Then we headed to Arches National Park for quick photos.

    Pioneer Park 

    Zion National Park

    Arches National Park

  • Learning and Exploring

    U.S. Southwest Survey Vacation: Goodbye, San Diego

    When not at the zoo or hotel or running a mini, we visited Ocean and Dog Beach, Mission Beach (first two photos), and La Jolla cove (the rest of the photos). We briefly stopped at the beach there but decided Mission Beach was nicer so went there instead. Mission beach was the nicest, but we liked to watch (from the supposedly clean Ocean Beach) the dogs run and play on their beach.
    I loved how near we could get to all of the adorable roly-poly sea lions (and maybe seals; I know for certain that seals are in the last photo since we saw one with its awkward flopping). I was surprised it was allowed, but someone in charge was watching and called out to maintain a distance. One baby sea lion was snoozing so close to the stairs it could have gotten stepped on; I thought it was one of the rocks at first. Some of the sea lions complained or snarled at people who got too close. I loved the furry looking ones and felt like I could pick up one and squeeze it (I love furry animals especially).

  • Learning and Exploring

    U.S. Southwest Survey Vacation: San Diego Zoo Part 2

     “Hi, Sven!”

    “Hello, Mumford.”
    This jaguar rolled around and stretched right by the edge for several minutes which was quite fun.
    See the tongue peeking out?

    This cheetah jumped up when he/she saw a tour truck and came right up to look at it and then ran along the cage following it. The cheetah was too active/restless plus there were too many large signs to get great shots.

  • Learning and Exploring

    U.S. Southwest Survey Vacation: San Diego Zoo Part 1

    We arrived in the cold and rain and bought rain ponchos and hopped on a bus tour. Soon after the tour ended, weather changed for the better, and we walked around the zoo and took the shuttle bus for most of the day. So many animals were quite active, and we saw quite a few baby animals. I did not, unfortunately, get good panda photos; Mama Panda was quite stressed and was pacing, and the other panda was not out in his cage.
    My favorites; the little girls said we saw these three times. I do not care. I want a baby meerkat; they are so furry and tiny I wanna die!

    These otters put on quite a show playing with each other.

    Purple is one of my favorite colors, and we say these gorgeous trees all over San Diego (apparently Mr. Tortoise considers the flowers a delicacy).

    The koalas slept all bunched up like that for most of the time, but we saw two briefly snuggling/grooming. 

  • Learning and Exploring

    U.S. Southwest Survey Vacation: New Mexico

    We stayed the night in Santa Rosa, NM (which my siblings dubbed Radiator Springs) rather than in Albuquerque in order to have some time to spend in the latter city. Before heading to Albuquerque, we stopped at Blue Hole which is an extremely small, deep pool, great for divers; the site is decrepit. While driving through New Mexico and discussing the state, I decided to look up its position on the wealth scale for the states . . . one of the lowest.

    When we reached Albuquerque, we were too early for most of the shops, but we were lucky that one with pieces from local artists was open (I will post photos of items I bought/gathered on the trip separately). I definitely want to go back to Albuquerque.

    After the city we visited the Petroglyph National Monument nearby, stopped for lunch at a Mexican restaurant in a tiny town on Route 66 (we saw, drove on, and crossed parts of Route 66 on the first quarter or so of our trip) and then drove out and through the Painted Desert.

  • Learning and Exploring

    U.S. Southwest Survey Vacation: Oklahoma

    My mom and one of my sisters signed up for a mini (or half) marathon in San Diego and that trip grew into a fortnight mid-western and western roadtrip (or survey trip as my mom said since we did not have much time for extended exploration) for all the girls of the family.

    For the sake of location privacy, I am going to cut out states on the beginning and end of my trip and include only mid-western to western states. Bear with my photos, I am still learning and am not editing them all for my blog; I will have more to say on photos later.

    We drove through Oklahoma and my sister quickly found a place for us to visit near our route: Redbud Valley Nature Preserve.

    Car photos of Oklahoma skies

    Redbud Valley Nature Preserve

    A highway viewpoint stop