Tag Archives: Southwest

An Amazing Adventure~Part 4

16 Nov


Judy Wills



As a child growing up in New Mexico, it seems I had always known about “Shiprock” New Mexico. It wasn’t until many years later, that I knew what or where Shiprock was, or the Indian lore about it. It is a majestic piece of rock—possibly volcanic but probably sandstone—that is just out in the middle of nowhere. It just sprouts up by itself. It is absolutely magnificent, and for some reason, holds a special place in my heart.



Brian had not thought that we would have time to cross into New Mexico, but then proclaimed that it was a “pilgrimage” for me, so we went to see it. I’ve had a framed calendar photo of it on our wall for many years, but Karen and Brian had never seen it in real life. They were AMAZED.

As we were leaving Shiprock, I made the statement that “it’s dirty, it’s dusty, it’s scrubby—and I love it! This is home!” Of course, I hadn’t lived in New Mexico for more than 50 years, but it still felt like “home” to me. Funny how our minds work.

From Shiprock, New Mexico, we crossed into Arizona, heading to Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park that is in both Arizona and Utah—Navajo Nation land. Absolutely AMAZING!!



This picture is of the two formations called “Mittens” – and you can see why. They look like right and left handed mittens.



And here is Brian, trying to hold up The Cube. Those are enormous rocks! It reminded me of a “saying” that my dad had, i.e. “I sure wouldn’t want that pebble in my shoe!” I asked Karen if I had told her about that “saying” of her grandfather’s, and she said “no.” So she got another touch from the grandfather she had never known. I keep wanting to pass along those things to our girls and their children – so they will know him, as well.


The roads in Monument Valley are just dirt—and, as you can see by the car—it just covers everything!



We stopped by the side of the road there and had a picnic lunch right at the car. The wind was blowing in such a way that the dust made by any cars passing by would blow the other way from us, so we weren’t eating dirt!

At many of the stops along the way, there were Native American women selling hand-made jewelry. I bought a neat beaded necklace with a silver Kokopelli at the center. He’s my favorite Indian character—the flute player.

After we had packed up from lunch, we headed to Grand Canyon National Park. I don’t remember how long it had been since Fred was there, but I think I was about 8-years-old the last time I visited the Canyon! It hasn’t lost its appeal at all for me! Absolutely breathtaking!!

There are so many pictures we took of the Grand Canyon, that I just can’t show them all. But here are a few of our favorite sights.


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These were taken at sunset. Absolutely gorgeous!!

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On the side of one of the buildings up top, this sign was posted. Marvelous!


~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~


An Amazing Adventure~Part 1

26 Oct


Judy Wills


I’ve just had the most A..M..A..Z..I..N..G adventure! Fred and I, with our oldest daughter, Karen, and her husband, Brian took on the National Parks in the southwest. We covered nine National Parks in about five days! That doesn’t include the National Forests and state parks. Yes, it was a bit tiring—especially to us “old” folks—but we loved every minute of it!

We started out our adventure by flying into Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the best airport near where Karen and Brian live near Chicago. (Just a side note here: In the Milwaukee airport is the area just past security—you know, the area where you put your shoes back on, your belt back on, put the stuff back into your bag, etc. Well, at that airport, there is a sign that names it the “Recombobulation area.” I’ve never seen that area named such in any other airport. Cute, huh?!)

We spent a few days with them—visiting with their two children and new granddaughter-in-law.


The four of us then flew out to Denver to begin the real work.

The first thing that Brian did was to rent a van for us to travel in—one with captain’s chairs in the middle row. So much more comfortable to travel in than a car, and the windows are bigger so we can see more from the “back seat.”


The next great thing was to purchase a $2.27 Styrofoam cooler, along with ice, and lunch meats, bread, condiments, etc., for those times we would be having a “picnic” out. Almost always once a day and occasionally twice, if we were out in the boonies and had no other place to eat. We replenished the stock whenever it was needed. It was great. There’s just something about eating “al fresco” that really satisfies the appetite, you know?!

Since it was afternoon, we drove to our hotel and checked in. We were not far from the Garden of the Gods, so we drove through it, not stopping right then. We would do so the next morning. Fred and I had been there on our honeymoon, 53+ years before. Lots I don’t remember about it, and I suppose the wind and weather has changed it a bit. Fascinating. Here are a few of the sights:



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And Balanced Rock was just about the most fascinating to me. How does it stay up there?



We drove through Manitou Springs, but took no pictures. Lots of “springs” around the town, with supposedly healthy/healing qualities to the water. We didn’t have an opportunity to test that theory out.


~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~


My Southwest Adventure Part~4

13 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites



The next day I was tooling along across West Texas when, all of a sudden, I found myself 1on a 2-lane road out in the middle of nowhere.  I had not studied the map too closely, but thought I remembered that all I had to do was to stay on U.S. 84 (4-lane road) until I picked up I-40 at Santa Rosa, NM.   In reality, U.S. 60 had split off from U.S. 84 at Fort. Sumner, NM and I didn’t realize I had missed the turn.   I had traveled several miles without seeing a road sign of any kind, and began to worry about my being stranded on this lonely road that looked like it never ended.2

 Have you ever prayed for a road sign?  Well, I did.  And, a few miles later, God provided a U.S. 60 road sign, and I knew I was on the wrong road.  I stopped and checked the map closely, discovering that if I just continued on U.S. 60 to U.S. 285, I could still connect with I-40 at Clines Corners, NM, without having to do any backtracking.  Whew! What a relief, especially since I would have enough gas to get me there.  Somewhere along that desolate stretch of highway, I went thru Muleshoe, TX and Texico, NM as I slipped across the border into “The Land of Enchantment”, and finally to I-40.

Back on Interstate I-40 heading West, my next stop was Albuquerque, NM to visit my 3childhood friend, Leon, who still lives in the same house he did when we were growing up together in the mid-1940s.  We had a great time recalling our younger days and he introduced me to his cat, Rusty, and gave me a tour of his model circus railroad project.  Later he went with me to the National Nuclear Museum and the Ernie Pyle Library.  We experienced one of New Mexico’s dust storms late that afternoon, and I remembered how the wind could almost knock you over, and the wind driven sand could blast the paint off the front of your car and pit your windshield, if you were foolish enough to drive into one of those storms.  And, there was no way you could get your house windows closed tight enough to keep that fine sand from filtering into the house, and getting all over things.

The next day, after breakfast at Leon’s favorite restaurant, we toured the Sunset Memorial Park where his and my parents were buried.  I had made arrangements with a couple for lunch that day, and we met and visited over a great Chef’s Salad at the famous Frontier Restaurant across the street from the University of New Mexico, where DiVoran and my sister Judy had attended.  Of course, Norm is an R/C model airplane enthusiast like me, and his wife, Pat, is the sister of our Chiropractor in Florida, so we had lots to talk about.  What a joy it was to meet and get to know them.

After lunch, I decided to take a trip down memory lane by driving the length of Central Ave. (which was the 2-lane U.S. Route 66 when I lived there).  East of town, many of the 4motels I used to throw papers to were still in business, and the Highland Theater where DiVoran worked selling tickets was still there.  Leon told me he was a ticket taker and usher at the Highland Theater about the same time that DiVoran was working there, but he didn’t remember ever meeting her there.  The Ice Arena had been turned into part of a shopping center, and Highland High School, where DiVoran and I met, all those many years ago, was now three times as big as it was when we attended.  Further down Central, our football rivals, Albuquerque High School had been closed and converted into condos (of all things), while the First Baptist Church, which my folks and I attended all the years we lived there, had moved and their buildings were now empty and up for sale.  What a shock that was!



                                                                        —–To Be Continued—–

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