Saturday, September 19, 2009

We're WAY Over Due...For An Update

Howdy folks! It’s been quite some time since the last update. In several months, lots has happened! At the beginning of August, we went on a long road trip from North Carolina to Utah, Arizona, and all the way back. In 12 days and 6200 miles, it was a long and fun adventure. Especially with our dog along for the ride. Since then, it has been back to school all the way (which is why we’ve been strangers to the ‘blogosphere’). Marina is working 40 hours a week with her assistantship and internship, plus clients and class. Most days from 8am to 8pm she’s out the door doing all kinds of things. I’m slightly less busy, but not by much. I’m going to school almost full time and working the same hours as always. I’ve even started biking to class, which gets me almost 5 miles riding time each day.

Well…what blog post is any good without pictures? As such, here are tons of pictures from our drive across the country!

When we left for Utah, we only had two days to get there, which made things really rushed. We did, however, stop at Mammoth Caves in Kentucky. Here’s a happy Marina in the black cave. When you go on a tour, they turn off all the lights—it is amazing how dark it gets!!

If you can’t tell by the picture, we couldn’t get a very good night shot while driving past the St. Louis arch on the freeway —at this point we had been driving for 18 hours or so, and were trying not to fall asleep. We ended up staying in scary truck stop on the west side of St. Louis for about 4 hours to get some rest. We didn’t stop to sleep the rest of the 44 hour drive.

You may have to squint to see, but there in fields of Kansas, we saw what I like to call “Jesus of the Wheat”. Not sure what purpose it served, other than a reminder—no notice about what church sponsored it—just a sight you don’t see too often. Kansas wasn’t as boring to drive across as I originally thought—parts of it reminded me of what I picture farmlands in Scotland to look like - except slightly less hilly.

We advanced through Denver—and I took Fletcher for a walk in the foothills of the Rockies west of Denver. It was the perfect temperature – it wasn’t too dry or humid, about 75, and a slight breeze. I could’ve pulled up a hammock and pulled Rip Van Winkle and slept for ages there. Of course, I might’ve had a hard time when winter came!

Here’s the other view of when we took the dog for a walk—a really beautiful sight. You can’t tell super well from the picture, but it had been very stormy from the plains east of Denver, all the way through to the mountains; but there was a break in the clouds which opened up on Denver and made a great view.

I haven’t a clue where this is, other than it is in the middle of the Rockies somewhere. This picture was taking while going 70 on a freeway, and it still looks as still and serene as anything with a tripod (except for the blurry road signs). Sign me up for a cabin there!

Part of the reason for our trip was so we could be at a good friend’s wedding. Marina got a shot of me looking all….funny. I think my mustache needs some work.

Mike and Jewel! They got married on August 8th at the Mount Timpanogos Temple. It was great to be there and enjoy the festivities.

The Stephens. Need I say more? Stephen Godfrey, and his wife, Sarah, are really good friends that were really nice and let us stay with them for the weekend in Utah.

Stephen (closed eyes), Marina, Sarah, and Stephen. It was a fun time—and Fletcher loved them to!

During the trip, we got to see lots of family. Here’s Marina with her older sister, Elisa, and her daughter, Becca. Fletcher’s giving a funny face, but he enjoyed the park anyway.

Fletcher! Apparently he gets timid around cats…but then he warms up to them and starts playing, puppy style!

No wonder he was timid – Emily’s cats have red glowing eyes, atop their Sauron like perch :P

Our 4 year old (almost 5!) nephew, William. I think I caught him mid “I’m going to karate chop you” wave. He’s pretty much the coolest kid. EVAR.

We drove to Scottsdale and got to spend the next 4 days with Marina’s family. It was a really good time. Marina took this picture of her mom and brother atop a horse somewhere in the desert outside of Queen Creek. I don’t know how they handled it, since it was August—in Arizona. Looks like a good time though!

The whole family got together after going to the temple and we had ice cream. And then more ice cream. Becca sure enjoyed this as well!

Marina and Fletcher were just hanging out; Miri (Marina’s mom) also joined for a quick photo.

All the ladies together! Elisa, Kristine, Miri, and Marina.

We had to go home, sadly. The rest of the photos are from our trip back. We were driving outside of Tucson (not pronounced Tuck-son :P) and saw this dinosaur. We have no idea why it is perched outside of McDonalds, but pictures were necessary.

When we drove through Texas, it felt kind of like going home—sort of. I was born in El Paso, but moved away when I was four—I don’t have many memories, but its still my birthplace.

Speaking of ‘going home’, we decided to stop and check out my parent’s house when we lived in Texas. I know they lived in a few other places, but I think this was their first house they bought. It seems like a cool old place to me. I think I remember seeing a picture of the house when it snowed there once. After going there in August, I just can’t imagine it ever snowing in El Paso!

Yet another reason to move to Texas! This is another one of those ‘driving down the road at 70’ (or more) pictures.

We stayed the night at Marina’s brother’s home. Here is Marina and Leslie overlooking an inlet near Lewisville Lake in Little Elm, Texas. It was really beautiful and its up near the top of my list of really great places to live.

On the other hand….we could live here! This is taken to catch the distant rainbow—on one of the many bridges outside of the New Orleans area. I don’t think I’ve ever driven on bridges for so long. It started to feel a bit like waterworld.

We stayed our last night of the trip in New Orleans. We wanted to see a few sights, so we went to the French Quarter on a Saturday night. I highly recommend not doing that. It was a crazy zoo and the only places that you could actually go and see were a bit sketchy. Here are some little donkey horse things that had money stuffed in their collars. Not sure why, they’re too small to go for a ride on.

We really wanted to see one of those hauntingly cool cemetaries with the mausoleums. Here is a night shot of Lafayette Square Cemetary. It is hard to see very well, but just imagine the spookiness!

Here’s that spookiness I was talking about.

Beignets are my new favorite treat. If you ever go to New Orleans, you MUST stop by Cafe du Monde on Decatur Street. It is the most fantastic, powdered sugar concoction of all time.

Beware the “It has been so long since I haven’t been in a car” lion face. I’m pretty sure I’ll be in time out for a month for putting this picture up.

We made one last visit on our way home in Auburn, Alabama. Marina and a fellow MFT student friend, Kristy got to spend some time catching up while I tried to keep our dog from attacking her roommate’s cat. Good times.

Well folks, that’s about all for now. I’m sure we’ll post again in a few more months (or sooner, hopefully) once we’re no longer submerged in the rigors of academia/life.


Sarah said...

yay for pictures! and about time too. by the way, marina looks like a babe in that mammoth caves picture. it was fun to have you guys here. these pics make me want to go on a roadtrip... but not cover so much distance in such a short amount of time...

shilo said...

Ugh! You stayed at a scary truck stop in St. Louis rather than with me in a safe apartment outside the city? Don't ever do that again. You are always welcome to crash with Autrey and I for a night. Glad you had a fun trip! Great pics!

Tyler & Katie Rice said...

i think you are overdue for an update again! :)

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Anne B. said...

I have to tell you my favorite "Jesus in the Wheat" billboard of Kansas. It says, "Jesus Saves, Pornography Destroys" (or something to that effect). Behind it is an ADULT NOVELTY store. AWESOME.