Friday, September 23, 2011

Cross Country Chronicles - Part 2 (aka Van IN the Car)

...aka "Van IN the Car."  That was for my former Charleston office mate, Dana.  :)

So here is where we have been since Flagstaff, Arizona.

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Day Three.  Mile 545.  Winslow, Arizona.   Justin was adamant about stopping by the Meteor Crater.  He remembered visiting it as a kid almost 20 years ago and wanted me and Charlotte to also "experience the impact."  :)  That motto totally makes me chuckle.  The Meteor Crater is allegedly the world's best preserved meteorite impact site in the world, spawning almost a mile wide. 

I can't even tell you how many of these signs we saw on our drive from Flagstaff.

A view of the crater.  550 feet deep and about a mile wide.

We took a look around some of the outdoor observation decks.  I think that I was more weary of the heights than Charlotte was. 

Justin and Charlotte climbing to the top observation deck.
A daddy-daughter photo from the top.

Day Three Continued.  Mile 640.  Puerco, Arizona.  Anything called a "national park" always peaks our interest.  So we took a slight detour off Interstate 40 and drove along a stunning 26-mile scenic drive through the Petrified Forest National Park

This area used to be littered with petrified wood that ancestral Puebloan people would use as stone tools and as building material.  However, during the 1800s and early 1900s, people began to steal the petrified wood as souvenirs and cart it away by the tons.  This catalyzed the government to intervene and establish the national park in 1906.  

The landscape is so desolate in places yet so stunning at the same time.  

View of Jasper Forest.  This landscape used to be filled with petrified wood.

The Painted Desert.  Seriously stunning.
And thankfully, the park had a few short hiking trails.  The perfect excuse to stretch our legs.

Day Three Continued.  Mile 552.  Continental Divide, New Mexico.  I won't lie.  I really didn't know what the Continental Divide was.  But since it warranted a special marking in my atlas, I insisted that we take a look.  Thankfully, there was a nice little explanation on the marker.  :)

Day Three and Day Four.  Mile 665.  Albuquerque, New Mexico.  By the time we settled into our hotel room and ate dinner, the sun had already set.  However, we somehow rallied and made it out to the Old Town Plaza.  Most of the shops were closed by the time we arrived (and the sun was long gone), but there was a lovely live band playing the gazeboo.  I kindove felt like I in an episode of Gilmore Girls for a few moments.  But Charlotte had a great time running around the park and dancing in circles.

The next morning, we had breakfast with some of my crafty friends (Misty, Monica, Stephanie, and Erica) while feasting on delicious breakfast burritos and some ridiculously good hash browns at Golden Pride.  It was such a treat to finally meet these amazing women in real life.  They are super talented scrapbookers/ crafters and devoted moms who somehow seamlessly manage to juggle it all.  They might not know it, but I was frantically taking mental notes on how to take care of Charlotte as a SAHM/ WAHM.

Day Four Continued.  Mile 956.  Amarillo, Texas.  Let me confirm that there really is nothing between Albuquerque and Amarillo, Texas.  We saw a dinosaur museum advertised along the side of the road.  Since Charlotte was fast asleep in the back seat, however, we decided to bypass that attraction. 

We also passed a wind farm I did some diligence work on as a junior associate.  I was pretty excited at first  but even that spurt of enthusiasm was fleeting.

Amarillo itself, however, has been fine.  We replenished on some provisions and found a lovely neighborhood park for Charlotte.  We also ate some delicious bbq at Rudy's Country Store and BBQ.  It's a Texas chain with delicious beef brisket and the most tender smoked turkey.

And in case you're wondering how Charlotte is doing during these long drives.  Here's a photo of her in the backseat. 

She is watching Curious George.  Judge me.  I dare you.  Then you sit in a car with her screaming like a banshee and let's see what you do.  :)

Tomorrow, we head off to Oklahoma City!


  1. So glad to have met you IRL too Van. I love your trip chronicles...this will be an amazing thing for you to have when you CAN sb it :).The pics are amazing too. Glad you got to see a bit of Old Town and FYI ABQ has a Rudy's too :)
    Have a super day today.

  2. Love, love, love your picture of the painted desert! I was actually worried yesterday that there really was something between ABQ and Amarillo! It was fun to meet your family. If you mislay your notes on being a stay at home mom feel free to ask us again! Lol

  3. More great photos! I can also confirm the nothingness between NM and TX! Such a boring drive! Too bad you weren't a little farther south to swing by Austin :)

  4. So fun to follow your journey across country! Henry says "Mmmm" to Rudy's. I can't believe you brought treats for your Flagstaff hospital folks - that is such a wonderful Van thing to do! And btw, we just visited the continental divide too... just a couple thousand miles north of where you saw it. Cool!! :)

  5. <3 that's all!!! This is an amazing journey!

  6. So impressed at how much you're doing on this drive! --EW

  7. It looks like you're making a fun drive out of the trip! Charlotte is so cute, I just can't get over that sweet little face :) Beautiful pictures!

  8. I finally have wifi!! :) Thanks so much for all the lovely comments and I'm glad you guys are joining us along for this journey! Misty - I saw another Rudy's in Oklahoma as well. Sigh...epic local food fail on my part. Oh well. :) Now let's see if I can eek enough energy to do another post before we leave for Nashville...

  9. Hahahaha, I love the end of this post. I so wish we were at the point where we can do that! Since we aren't, we're limited to pretty much an hour radius around our house. While I obsessively (ridiculously?) won't let Fiona watch even a minute of TV right now, you better believe I'm gonna plop her in front of an iPhone movie on our next cross-country flight as soon as she understands language. Way to go!

  10. Seeing the crater and petrified forest pictures reminded me of family road trips we used to take when I was a kid. Good memories. :)

  11. Heather, you're hilarious! Charlotte didn't end up watching that much but it definitely would settle her down just enough during those epic melt downs. We're finally at a temporary resting spot now so the DVD player had now mysteriously gone missing. :) And Christine, so cool that you went to the crater and petrified forest as a kid too! That's the very reason why Justin wanted to go back to the crater!

  12. I have vivid memories of scorpions for some reason. I don't know if it was that trip or a different one, but I remember being somewhere that had a ton of scorpions walking around. I should really ask my parents where that was... :)


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