Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Cross Country Trip ~ Part Nine


We left Mount Carmel, Utah heading into Arizona and I was surprised at out first rest stop, just inside Arizona, that my allergies started acting up BIGTIME and I'd had my allergy meds.  I'd always heard that if you had really bad allergies (which I don't) then Arizona was the place to live.  Maybe I shouldn't have taken my allergy meds or maybe it was just I wasn't used to the flora and fauna of Arizona because as the day progressed my sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes DID improve and I felt much better, thank goodness.

First Rest Stop in Arizona ... what a view huh?
The drive from Mount Carmel, Utah to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon was absolutely beautiful (about 2 hours and 40 mins).  It was very woodsy and not much in the way of towns between the two points but definitely a scenic drive!

At Jacob Creek, Arizona, we had to head due South to get to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, some 50 miles and the only way in/out (at this point).  Beautiful drive, we passed very few cars on the lonely stretch of two lane road but saw lots and lots of wildlife! 

This was a first for us ...deer AND cattle crossing?
We never saw any cattle crossing but these signs were frequent.

Free Spring Water ... just filler up!!! 
We got to the North Rim had a quick look around but didn't get to stay long as hubby had a conference call he had committed himself to and we had NO CELL SERVICE and the only pay phones had NO privacy.  Sooooo, we had to get to some place that had AT&T cell service.  The North Rim Park Ranger said we would have to drive back out the 50 miles to Jacob Lake, which is not a town, by the way, but there is a gas station, restaurant, souvenier shop, camping area and a Park Ranger Station.  The Park Ranger saying we would possibly have service there ... but NOPE ... no such luck.  So on we drove (toward the South Rim via Highway 89A)... we got about 10 miles and were stopped by road construction ... completely STOPPED AND STILL NO CELL SERVICE.  Time was short and hubby was sweating it so we turned back around and went back to Jacob Creek. By this time, hubby was pretty desperate for a phone and willing to pay someone almost anything to borrow theirs!!!  Luckily, he was able to 'rent' one from the lady at the camp registration desk at Jacob Creek for $6.00!!!  Whew ... crisis averted.

So while hubby was on his conference call, I piddled around inside the souvenier shop ... saw all kinds of craftworks made by the local Indians and then these beautiful wooden bowls caught my eye ... I'm picking up this one and that one as each was unique.  The lady next to me and I were commenting on their beauty and awfully reasonable prices of $25-$60 (hand made, supposedly).  Finally, deciding on a bowl for myself, I look on the bottom and exclaim outloud "made in China?" ... the lady I was talking to said "what????" ... long story short, I didn't want a wooden bowl Made in China and neither did she!  DISAPPOINTED!  So ya'll be careful to check for "Made in China" stickers at any souvenier shops/stands as we also found that all the roadside stands selling Bison and Elk Jerky had not made it locally but purchased it for resale from Montana ... insert disaapointed sad face here lol

After hubby's conference call, we got back on Highway 89A (Grand Canyon Highway and pretty much THE only paved road between the North Rim and South Rim) though at some point we picked up Highway 64 to cut back West to the South Rim. 
Old settlement of Cliff Dwelling, Arizona ... people actually lived here in the early 20th Century.
Bottom left pic is the privy!
Bridge over the Colorado River ... magnificent!  Now we want to return and raft the river!
This highway took us right smack through the desert, across the Colorado River, and across the Navajo Reservation, which was a huge eyeopening experience to say the least.  We also made sure we had a full tank of gas before leaving Jacob Creek because there was pretty much a lot of nothing between the North Rim and South Rim (including no internet service, well HECK, my car's GPS couldn't even find us).  Just the two lane highway beneath our tires and desert, desert and more desert as far as the eye could see ... beautiful scenery but quite desolate aside from the random reservation homes scattered miles and miles apart.  I won't get into the sad conditions these people (fellow Americans) live in on these reservations but it is really really disheartening to know that they live in such devastating conditions, not unlike some third world countries.  They say pictures are worth a thousand words ... uh uh ... seeing is believing!

Example of the miles and miles and miles of nothing but 2 lane highway!

North Rim Grand Canyon to South Rim Grand Canyon

Next post will be Day Nine Continued as there are just too many pics to share in this one post ...


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Old Fashioned Saltine Snacks

Last night at midnight I got a craving for an oldie but goodie that my Mama grew up on which she in turn made for us as kids and, of course, I made for my own kids.  They are inexpensive, quick and easy to make and, of course, yummy!  Sweet and salty!

I made mine with clean* ingredients, the marshmellows being organic and made with organic cane sugar and no HFCS but you can use whatever ingredients you have on hand ... like I said, they are old fashioned and my Nanny made them way back when she cooked on a wood burning stove so there is nothing fancy about them.  I just choose to eat clean.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can make as many or as little as you want ... I made just 6 cause they were just for me.

Saltine Snacks

Saltine Crackers
Peanut Butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place Saltines on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Spread each Saltine with Peanut Butter and place a Marshmellow on top.  I had to cut my Marshmellows in half because the organic ones come a little larger then regular marshmellows.

Place in oven and cook until the marshmellows are toasty, about 6 minutes.

*Clean = Nothing artificial, no chemicals, no man-made ingredients.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Cross Country Trip ~ Part Eight


After spending a couple more days with our son and his family, we set off to head back home with our first planned stop being Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, a Bucket List for my hubby ... I, on the other hand, had never had any desire to see the Grand Canyon, my reason???  Oh, its just a big ol hole in the ground, I've seen pictures, I've seen documentaries, etc etc etc ... I thought I had seen it ... BUT ya'll, I'm telling you, you ain't seen it unless you've actually SEEN it!!!  I am so glad I honored my hubby's Bucket List!  More about that later ...

We started out early afternoon headed south on I-15 and once we got out  of "metro" Salt Lake City, we cut over to Highway 89, a two lane highway.  There were very few cities, in fact, there were only small small towns between the Salt Lake City suburbs and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon ... most so small, I'm not sure you can call them a town but more of a community.  Pretty little towns/communities with Mom and Pop restaurants and hotels, a couple gas stations (maybe) and some even had a red light or two!!!!  Not much traffic either though so it was an enjoyable ride and oh what beautiful countryside!!!

We stopped in Mount Carmel, Utah for the night around 8 pm ... mainly because we had very little and sporatic cell/internet service and just happened to be hungry so we stopped at a Best Western with a Mom/Pop restaurant ... we figured it may be our best bet considering we had no idea IF the next little town/community would have a hotel (or a vacancy).  Plus ... we wanted to see the Grand Canyon and surrounding areas in the daylight!

NOTE: Important note here ... all these little towns/communities had pretty, clean and quaint little Mom and Pop hotels that I would have gladly spent the night in!!!!  Playing it by ear, this is where we ended up.

One of those Mom/Pop Hotels in the background ... we did not stay here though.
Soooooo ... we stopped for the night in Mount Carmel, a pretty little town and the Best Western was, I believe, THE only hotel in town and it just so happened it had a restaurant and we were both a little tired and hungry.

Thunderbird Restaurant "Home of the Ho Made Pies" was where we had supper since there was nothing for miles and miles ... it was pretty much our only choice.  It is a pretty cool looking place from the outside and is attached to the Best Western, which itself was kinda an old style hotel but clean and very well maintained.  But back to the restaurant.  We walked in and it was typical diner style atmosphere, nothing wrong with that ... menu was typical diner food and nothing wrong with that BUT their prices were ridculously HIGH ... they KNEW they could charge outrageous prices so they did.  $15 for a burger and fries, the burger being a frozen formed thin burger on a generic mass made bun with a piece of lettuce, tomato and onion on the side ... they did bring mustard and ketchup to the table ... AND the fries were frozen fries.  WE WERE NOT IMPRESSED!!!!  Fifteen bucks each ya'll ... our bill was over $30 with tax and tip as we had water (with lemon) to drink ... you'd think for that price we would have had gourmet burgers and home cut fries!!!!!!  So we didn't dare try their "Ho Made Pies".  I wouldn't recommend this place, BUT, like I said, choices were extremely limited in the middle of no freaking wheresville.

Next post, North Rim, Grand Canyon and Grand Canyon Highway ...


Friday, June 20, 2014

Cross Country Trip ~ Part Seven


Day seven of our trip still in Ogden, Utah, we drove over to Antelope Island, which is the largest of the 10 islands in the great Salt Lake. 

Driving out of Ogden ... too cool of a shot NOT to share!

Salt Lake was surprisingly, very smelly, and not a good kinda smell.  Now, that does not in any way take away from its beauty ... it is absolutely beautiful and very different from any lake I've ever been to (not talking bout any of Georgia's manmade lakes here ya'll ... I have been over a few of the Great Lakes, been to Lake Ontario and walked beside Lake Tahoe) ... this lake was as calm and smooth as glass, literally ya'll, so the reflection of the surrounding mountains was amazingly awesome!  Mirror images! 

See all that lavender?  Absolutely beautiful!

I was expecting the drive over to the island to be by way of bridge (or ferry) since it is an island, but it was by way of a causeway, thus we smelled the dang thing right away ... kind of turned my tummy but I tried to overlook that seeing the beauty of it.

There's those beautiful orange flowers ~ up close!
Can you see them ... in the distance?

This might have just been the highlight of our entire trip ... remember me saying in my Kansas post how it would be so cool if we saw buffalo, uh, I mean bison, stampeeding across the range?  Well we didn't see them stampedeing BUT we did see them living wild and free on Antelope Island and DID get up close and personal with at least one albiet with a whole herd off in the distance ...close enough to stampede if they wanted to.  Well ... to be honest, 10 or so yards was close up and personal enough for me ... didn't want to piss that big ol' bison off, though even at that distance he didn't seem to even notice us, seriously!!!  I'm pretty sure though if we had tried to move in to 'pet' him ... it wouldn't have turned out well.  REMINDER: Bison, like any wildlife, are pretty awesome up close and personal BUT can be very dangerous if they feel threatened!!!  Very cool though ... especially in light of fact that bison, uh, I mean bufflo, are mentioned in a few of our country's patriot songs. 

Now, ain't that just sooooo cool?
Too cool for words!!!
We also saw Antelope (hence the name of the island), however, they were too far away to get a good photo and there were only a handful of them.

There was some interesting and different sort of terrain and vegetation on the island ... very pretty ... some neat hiking trails too (though no trees for shade).

We parked and walked down to the 'beach' which I tell ya didn't seem quite as far seeing it from the parking lot but it was a hike and it got smellier and smellier the closer we got ... I had wanted to stick my toes in the water but the closest I could stand to be was about 4 feet from the water ... the smell was just unbearable!!! 

The Beach ~ quite a hike out there!

Interesting to note here ... it was Memorial Day and there were only a handful, literally, of boats out on the lake, most of which, were canoes or paddle boats.  I learned that the only living creatures in Salt Lake are brine shrimp and algae ... makes you wonder why early settlers settled here since you cannot drink the water and there are no fish for food (since back then people lived off the land).  It is beautiful though and lots and lots of great hiking and outdoorsy stuff to do ... I will be back (and not just cause my son lives there)!!!  

Okay ~ now to hike back LOL

We certainly enjoyed our afternoon there!

Next up, after our visit with our son and his family ... Grand Canyon National Park!


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Cross Country Trip ~ Part Six


Since they are just 2 blocks, literally, from the base of the mountain range that runs along the eastern border of Ogden, Utah, Wasatch-Cache National Forest, we decided this day would be spent hiking up the trails ... headed to a beautiful waterfall hidden except to hikers. 

Dang if that altitude thing didn't make it impossible for me to make all of those 10-15% grades up to the waterfall (no dizziness or nausea, just felt like I couldn't breathe) ... I made it about 3/4 of the way and I just couldn't take any more.  Not wanting to stop hiking though, we instead decided to hike off in a different direction, less of those steep inclines but still high up onto the mountainside where we overlooked the cities of Ogden and Salt Lake City and could also see Salt Lake (the lake) in the distance ... it was beautiful and what an awesome hike!!!  

Sorry, I think I may have duplicated a couple shots in these collages ... oops!

We saw all kinds of beautiful wild flowers from, plentiful lavender to foxglove to all other kinds of plants and flowers, the names of which I don't know, but I love nature!!!  We took PLENTY (well almost, we really should have taken more) water and snacks cause I gotta tell ya ... its dry out there ... hubby and I constantly used our Carmex while out west!!!

Coming up for the next post ~ Antelope Island in the middle of Salt Lake (the lake, not the city lol)