Onward and Westward

After leaving the trading post, we continued our journey west on Hwy 264 through Keams Canyon.

arizona highway

A small pull out was all we needed to stop, stretch our legs and enjoy the gorgeous view.

IMG_0008 IMG_0005 keams canyon

Once again, we turned our backs for a minute only to turn around and see this.  Seriously, Jimmy you don’t know what this does to an “I don’t like heights and I don’t like to see other people up on really high rocks” phobia that I have.

Jim and keams canyon

Don’t make me come up there

I do appreciate a good rock, though, and Arizona is full of them.


keams canyonSome are right on the edge.  What keeps them from falling??


arizona landscapeTo me, it looks like the sheer weight of the rock would send it careening down the hill.  It was then I began to develop a “fear of a big rock rolling out of control and hitting a passing motorcycle” phobia.

When we stopped to eat, I asked our Native American waiter if he had ever seen one of these rocks fall.  He told us you never want to see a rock fall, it is very bad luck.

This would be especially true if one hit your motorcycle (therefore, justifying my new found phobia.)

arizona landscape arizona landscape

As we moved closer to the Grand Canyon, we saw this in the distance.

arizona rain



As you can see, there are no places to take cover if you are on a motorcycle.  No gas stations, no roadside picnic stands, not even a tree to get under.  You just have to ride through it.  Fortunately, we all had good rain suits.

We stayed east of the Canyon at the Cameron Trading Post in Cameron, AZ.  We’ve stayed here before and they have nice rooms, a good restaurant, and a huge gift shop.   From here, it’s thirty miles to the east entrance of the south rim.

During that thirty miles, you begin to see the smaller canyon of the Little Colorado River that leaves the Grand Canyon.

little colorado going into grand canyon little colorado going into grand canyon little colorado going into grand canyon

At the east entrance of the south rim is an old watchtower.

watchtower at the grand canyonThe Desert View Watchtower was built in 1932.  Today it serves as a visitor center with observation views on each floor.

Grand Canyon watchtower

We made it here just before the rain hit.

grand canyon grand canyon

Before the rain started, though, we were able to see clouds dipping into the canyon and then rising up and over our heads.  It was quite a spectacular sight.

Grand Canyon Grand Canyon Grand Canyon Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Grand Canyon Grand Canyon

The rain and lightening lasted for a good hour and we were thankful to be protected in the watchtower.

Grand Canyon

When the rain stopped and the sky cleared, we began the drive through the canyon.

Grand Canyon Grand Canyon Grand Canyon Grand Canyon


Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Grand Canyon Grand Canyon Grand Canyon Grand CanyonPictures don’t even come close to capturing the beauty of the Grand Canyon.

Especially at sunset

Grand Canyon

Oh beautiful, for spacious skies

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon


Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon


Grand Canyon Grand Canyon Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

America.  Land that I love.

Grand Canyon

Up next-Bryce Canyon









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Day 3-On Our Way to the Grand Canyon

About an hour north on Highway 491 from Gallup, NM and west on Highway 264 is  the small town of Ganado, AZ.

Ganado is the home of a very old, very historic trading post.

hubbell trading post ganado, az

The Hubbell Trading Post was established in 1878 by a man named John Lorenzo Hubbell and is the oldest continuously operated trading post on the Navajo Nation.  Mr. Hubbell was a Spanish interpreter for the United States military and familiar with the Navajo’s language and traditions.   It is said he did not learn English until he was twelve years old.  His diverse upbringing made it possible to communicate with numerous individuals thus making him a well-respected business leader in the region.

hubbell trading post ganado, az

Trading posts throughout the west were used to barter for goods and supplies.  Mr. Hubbell was known for his friendliness and honest business dealings with the various Indian tribes of the area.  He acted as a liaison for many by writing letters on their behalf, settling arguments and explaining government policies.  He even opened his home as a hospital during a smallpox outbreak.

The inside of the store looks much as it did many years ago and local Native Americans continue to bring their rugs and pottery to be traded or sold.

hubbell trading post ganado, az hubbell trading post ganado, az

The round buildings on the grounds are called hogans.  A hogan is a sacred home for the Navajo people.  Even if they lived in a newer home, a hogan was needed for ceremonies and as a reminder of who they are.  The hogans on the property were built by Mr. Hubbell for the Navajo and used as guest houses for various artists in residence.

hubbell trading post ganado, az

Also on the grounds is the original barn and blacksmith shop

hubbell trading post ganado, az hubbell trading post ganado, az

hubbell trading post ganado, az hubbell trading post ganado, az

hubbell trading post ganado, az

filled with artifacts

hubbell trading post ganado, az hubbell trading post ganado, az hubbell trading post ganado, az hubbell trading post ganado, az

and a resident horse giving us the eye.

hubbell trading post ganado, az

Churro sheep are raised here and this wool was waiting in the barn for someone to make something beautiful from it.

hubbell trading post ganado, az

This picture depicts the various plants used for dyes

hubbell trading post ganado, az

The corral surrounding the barn was nothing more than wooden posts held together with wire.

hubbell trading post ganado, az hubbell trading post ganado, az

The bunk house is still on the property

hubbell trading post ganado, az as is the chicken coop that also houses a turkey named Frank (who, by the way, is a pet and not the main dish for Thanksgiving  or so we were told….)

hubbell trading post ganado, az hubbell trading post ganado, az

The bread oven was used daily when the post was in full operation

hubbell trading post ganado, azand provided hundreds of loaves throughout the week for meals and to be sold or traded at the post.

An old ambulance is parked on the side of the trading post and I can’t imagine how far it was to get medical attention.  I would also imagine you would be ten times worse once you got there if you got there.

hubbell trading post ganado, az hubbell trading post ganado, az

The cone-shaped hill behind the post is known as Hubbell Hill.

hubbell trading post ganado, az

At the top of the hill is the family cemetery and Mr. Hubbell, along with his family and a few close friends are buried there.

hubbell trading post ganado, az

Mr. Hubbell’s gravesite (the marker to the right) is strategically placed per his instructions so he would be able to look after the post in his afterlife.

In 1967, the National Park Service took responsibility for the trading post and made it a National Historic Site as well as a National Historic Landmark.

As I walked the grounds, I tried to envision life as it must have been at that time.  The hardships and sadness they had to endure to live day to day.  What brave people they must have been and how easy we have it today!

hubbell trading post ganado, az






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Day 2-Amarillo, TX to Gallup, NM

After we left the Cadillac Ranch, we jumped on I-40 and headed west.  Our next stop was Tucumcari, NM.

Tucumcari has a long stretch of highway with many Route 66 motels and shops still present.

tucumcari, nm

Many of these establishments are still open and offer great prices as well as great reviews (per Trip Advisor)

tucumcari, nm tucumcari, nm tucumcari, nm tucumcari, nm tucumcari, nm tucumcari, nm

One of my favorites was this little motel called The Blue Swallow.  We didn’t stay here but next time we go through, it’s on my list.

tucumcari, nm

tucumcari, nm

tucumcari, nm

I loved the concept of the court

tucumcari, nm tucumcari, nm tucumcari, nm tucumcari, nm

All of the garages have murals painted inside

tucumcari, nm

And how could you not like 100% refrigerated air?

tucumcari, nm

After walking around and stretching our legs, we got back in the truck and drove to Old Town Albuquerque, NM.

Old Town was established in 1706.  The San Felipe de Neri church, in the heart of Old Town, is the oldest building in Albuquerque.  In 1792, after a long, rainy summer, the church collapsed.  The new church was rebuilt in 1793 with five feet thick walls providing the community with a functioning Catholic church to this day.

IMG_0016 IMG_0012 IMG_0014 IMG_0013

The plaza surrounding the church is very walkable and has several museums and shops to browse.  We spent about an hour walking around town and then headed toward our evening destination of Gallup, NM.

Next up…..the motorcycles come off the trailer!








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Are You Ready for A Road Trip?

Usually in the fall, Allen and I like to jump on the motorcycle and take a road trip.  We seem to gravitate toward the western states,  so when our friends said they wanted to go west for their first motorcycle road trip, we were more than willing.

We decided years ago, that motorcycling across blustery Oklahoma was no fun.  Extreme cross winds and dust make for a tiring ride for my chauffeur and I definitely didn’t want him worn out before we got started.  So, hauling the bikes to a pre-determined destination made more sense for us.

Part of our route took us along an older route.  Route 66.

route 66

Before Interstate 40 was built, Route 66, or The Mother Road,  was one of the first major highways going west.  Sadly, most of the towns along this route are now gone, but fortunately some of the landmarks are still around.

Our first stop was Lucille’s Service Station in Hydro, OK.

Lucille's gas station route 66Built in 1929, this porch style station is very unique in design.  Lucille’s family bought the station in 1941 and named it for her.  She worked here for 60 years and was so helpful to travelers, she was nicknamed the Mother of the Mother Road.

Lucille's gas station route 66 Lucille's gas station route 66 Lucille's gas station route 66 Lucille's gas station route 66 Lucille's gas station route 66

Our next stop was the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton, OK.

Oklahoma Route 66 Museum clinton, okThis museum is dedicated to the beginning (construction) of Route 66 to the end (closing) of Route 66.

Oklahoma Route 66 Museum clinton, okLots of unique exhibits and memorabilia of that era are exhibited here.

Oklahoma Route 66 Museum clinton, ok Oklahoma Route 66 Museum clinton, ok IOklahoma Route 66 Museum clinton, okMG_0023 (2)Ha!

Not too far down the road is Elk City, OK.

Elk City is home to the National Route 66 Museum.  This is a collections of buildings depicting a 2oth-century village.  Included is a farm and ranch museum along with an authentic blacksmith shop.

Here is one of the original road graders used in the construction of Route 66.


It is also home to a giant Kachina doll named Myrtle.  A Kachina is a spirit in the Hopi and Pueblo Indian cultures and can represent anything from sun or stars to weather and crops.  Myrtle has been greeting travelers of Route 66 since 1962.  There is a whole village here and we only had about an hour to explore before they closed. It’s worth a stop if you’re in the area, just give yourself a couple of hours.



One of these things is not like the other

Next up was the leaning water tower of Groom, TX.

leaning tower of Britton route 66

That’s it

There are many stories that claim to be the reason for the leaning.  Earthquakes, tornadoes, and too much water in the tower are the most popular theories.  In reality, the owner of the local truck stop (Mr. Britten) had the empty tower brought in and placed just like this next to his truck stop.   People would pull off Route 66 to look at the tower and, while they were there, they would eat and fuel up.  The truck stop is long gone but this unique marketing tactic still remains.

The next day, we left Amarillo early.  Our first side trip was a visit to the Cadillac Ranch just west of Amarillo.

cadillac ranchIn 1974, an Amarillo billionaire decided he wanted to create a piece of art that would be so outrageous it would puzzle everyone.  He hired a group of “hippies” from San Fransisco who had the idea of using Cadillacs for their masterpiece.  The idea was to document the evolution of the Cadillac’s tail fin.  Ten Cadillacs (from years 1949 to 1963) were brought to the site and buried half-way nose down.  It didn’t take long for people to start defacing the cars and removing bits and pieces in the process.

cadillac ranchMuch to everyone’s surprise, the Texas billionaire encouraged the act.  Today, many make the pilgrimage to the ranch to make their own statement.

cadillac ranch cadillac ranch

cadillac ranch

we have to watch them every second

Hmmm.  I wonder who did that.

cadillac ranch

cadillac ranch

So much more to come….







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Dear Journal

Dear Journal,

It’s been a while since I’ve written.  I’m not sure why I’ve not written because things have happened.  I have been busy.  My life is busy.   I haven’t had a chance to put anything in words.  Allen and I are always talking about this and how our attempts to slow down never happen.  We don’t want to miss anything!

Speaking of which, we’ve taken two trips since last we talked and they were amazing.   I hope to tell you about them very soon.  One was out west on the motorcycle and the other to California to visit with family.  I have kept the grandkids quite a bit and this makes me very, very happy.  I realize how blessed I am when they are with me. I never knew this could make me so happy.  They are getting so big!

hallie and luke october 2015 amsonia hubrectii

As I write this, baby Luke (although he is almost 3) is taking a nap beside me.  I can tell he doesn’t feel good because he hasn’t wanted to go outside today and usually I can’t keep him inside.  He calls me Nana and when I suggest we do something, he tells me that’s a great idea.  Hallie started kindergarten this fall and I can’t believe how much she is changing.  She told her other grandmother she was training me to work on her farm.  Ha!  Little does she know she’s been training me since she was born.

I have worked outside when I can.  It’s been unusually warm and we have yet to have a freeze.  Dad and I harvested more honey in September before we left on our first trip.  45 more pounds!   That makes a grand total of 90 pounds this year.  Amazing creatures those bees.

bees and honey honey

Since we had so much, we decided to sell some so I told people on Facebook and within 6 hours we sold out.  Crazy.

The fall color at the house was a little late this year

october 2015

and the color at the lake house has been stunning.


lake house nov. 2015

Since we’ve not had a freeze yet, my flowers are still blooming.  The celosia is usually covered by bees

IMG_0011 and even though I’m ready to clean up the garden, I can’t bring myself to take away their food source.  It is scarce this time of year.   So, instead,  I’ve been collecting seed for next year

celosia and seed

celosia flowers and seed

rue seed

Rue seed

One unusual plant I have blooming now is the Toad Lily (Tricyrtis hirta)

toad lilyIt is in the shade for the most part and I always forget about until it blooms.  What an ugly name for a pretty flower.  I would’ve named it Star Lily but no one bothered to ask me.

coleus and begonia october

Coleus and begonia

It is so strange to see my coleus and begonias blooming this late.  I took cuttings of the coleus and then pulled them up.  Once these plants freeze, they turn into mush and I can hardly stand to touch them even with gloves on.

The garden has been cleaned up, garlic has been planted and mulched and the winter wheat is coming up nicely.


And lastly, when I saw this lone leaf one foggy morning,

lone leaf in fall

I couldn’t help but wonder.   Am I more like the leaf clinging to the tree?   Fighting nature, pushing the limits?  Or more like the winds that push the leaves to the ground?

Sometimes I wonder, journal.

Talk to you soon,





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Special Night

Summer is the busiest time of year for my husband’s business.  He goes in early to beat the heat of the shop or get paperwork done before his phone starts its continuous ringing.  Many times he walks through the door in the afternoon only to get a phone call beckoning him back to work.  Sometimes those jobs go into the early hours of the next day, yet he still gets up and goes in at the regular time the next day.  Most weekends are free, but he is always on call for emergencies and usually gets at least one or two calls.  He’s a hard-working man and when you own a business, work never really stops.  Needless to say, his summers are exhausting and I can’t blame him for wanting to sit in his easy chair, in his air-conditioned house, and rest.

So imagine my surprise when he asked me out on a date last weekend.  A “real date”, he says.

Now, I will tell you, that after 33 years of marriage, the term “date” has definitely been redefined.

As a teenager, a date would consist of me doing my hair and makeup for at least an hour (this was the era of Farrah hair and I had it going on)  It didn’t matter if we were going to the lake, movie, rodeo, or bonfire- hair and makeup had to be Just. Right.  Next would come clothes but, since I didn’t have that many outfits to choose from, spending a little extra time on my hair and makeup was a must to make up for my lack of fashion (which still exists to this day.)  My curfew was midnight and I was never early getting home.

When our boys were young, a “date” meant we might get to sit by each other at a ballgame.  Since he coached the boys baseball teams from T-ball through Senior Babe Ruth, that was rare.  Football and basketball games were different since he didn’t coach these sports, and he would always buy me supper which consisted of nachos and a coke.  A lot of our friends would be there and it was great hanging out with them and reliving our glory days of youth while watching our kids make their own memories.  It’s the little things you know.

By the time the boys grew up and left the house, we were tired.  We didn’t feel like going ‘out’ on a “date”.  We could have a date right here at the house. Grill outside, sit on the back porch, watch the birds, watch the deer, pet the dog, and go to bed early.  Good times.

Since we have been remodeling the lake house, we jokingly refer to a “date” as a trip to Lowes.  We meander the aisles thinking of projects we need to do, should do, could do, might do, but probably won’t do.  We rarely buy anything.  Sometimes we hold hands and I’ll give him a shoulder bump if I’m feeling especially energetic.  I tell him he’s lucky to have a woman who’s, not only beautiful and witty (shoulder bump), but also a cheap date. He agrees and then we go home.  Oh how the years have changed us.

So this “real date” had me intrigued.

“Should I dress up?”, I asked knowing darn good and well I have nothing to dress up in.  “Nope”, he said.  This is good.  One crisis diverted.  “But we do need to take the truck”, he added.  Oh boy!  I’m thinking we ARE going to Lowes and get that new freezer I’ve been wanting.  “Cool”, I say nonchalantly trying hide my pathetic excitement over a freezer.

We head to town and end up here.

drive in movie theater

I am floored.  We literally have not been to this Drive In in about twenty five-thirty years.   I’m sure we brought the kids a time or two, but other activities pushed this venue to the bottom of the list.

The sign is just like I remember from high school.

drive in movie theater

As was the multi-car entrance

drive in movie theaterFlashback:  Back in the day, we would all meet at someone’s house (usually the person with the biggest truck), pile in the BACK of the truck and drive several miles (on the highway!) to the movie.  I think we could get in for about $2 a truck load (if anyone remembers, I would love to know) and when we got there we would unload chairs, grills, and coolers and made ourselves at home.

drive in movie theater

Tonight, though, it was just the two of us and we drove around to find just the right spot. We discovered the last row seemed to have the only row with the original speakers.

drive in movie theater

Everyone else could tune in the movie on their radio, but we wanted to relish the whole retro experience.   So he backed the truck in,

drive in movie theater

placed the speakers (scratchy sound included at no extra cost) on the side of the truck,

drive in movie theatre speaker

and got our chairs ready.

My handsome date

My handsome date

We did the expected selfie,

drive in movie

As you can see, I spent several seconds on my hair.

posted it on Facebook, instagram, and twitter and settled in to watch the movies.

It was going to be a blue moon that night, so we watched it come up over the trees

full moon date night drive in movie

and settle into the sky.

full moon drive in theater

We hadn’t been here in so long, we forgot they show two movies.  We began to panic when we started figuring out what time the last one would be over, so we gave ourselves a pep talk which ended in the phrase, ‘we are not that old’ and needed to buck up and take one for the good ol’ ’70’s generation.  Go us!

Thanks so much for the date, hon. (shoulder bump)  It was fun spending the evening with you and I hope we make a habit of doing this more often.  It was the best date ever.


sunflower emoji

This post is being linked to the Chicken Chick’s Blog Hop

Posted in Arkansas, Family, travel | Tagged , , | 22 Comments

Sights of Summer

Another summer is winding down.


My awesome peach crop was eaten but not by us.  We were able to pick quite a few but something ate the rest (probably birds and squirrels) leaving us these reminders that we are not the only ones on the farm that like peaches.

peaches peach pit

Both pecan trees have pecans this year.


I’ve waited since 2001 (when I planted these trees) for this day.  Last year, I had a grand total of three pecans on one tree and something got those when I wasn’t looking.  I’m sure these will ripen while we are on vacation in a few weeks, but I am open to any and all suggestions on how I can keep animals away.

Every year, certain flowers never fail to disappoint while others just surprise the heck out of me.  The old standby for me is Asclepias tuberosa or milkweed which I rave about all the time.

asclepias tuberosa milkweedMilkweed is the host plant for the monarch butterfly and I started seeing caterpillars the end of July which is about 2 weeks earlier than I usually see them.

asclepias milkweed asclepias milkweed monarch caterpillar

monarch caterpillar monarch caterpillar

This year, I let my granddaughter take a monarch chrysalis to her house.  She had to wait a whole week before it hatched, but when it did she was super excited.

hallie and butterfly hallie and butterfly3 hallie and butterfly2Nature is so amazing and I hope she learns to love it as much as I do.

Another of our favorite caterpillars to find is the swallowtail. Last year, the rue was covered with them.  This year, I haven’t seen one on the rue but the spicebush trees are full of them.

A sure sign of a spicebush caterpillar is this spicebush caterpillar

The caterpillar secretes a sticky substance

spicebush caterpillarin order to turn the leaf over on itself to hide from predators.  You can see the eaten part of the leaf just above the white stickiness.  The same leaf provides food as well as protection.  Sometimes you open a leaf to find nothing, but other times you find this

spicebush caterpillarThis one is a good size and will probably make its chrysalis very soon.

This guy was out in the open when I saw it

spicebush caterpillarand probably on its way to finding a place to pupate.  Most caterpillars don’t make their chrysalis on their host plant.  I found an empty swallowtail chrysalis last week on the window of my back porch.  To get to this location, the caterpillar had to scale a six-foot brick wall, round the corner, and climb another four feet to the window.  Looks to me like it would be easier to stay close to home, but I’m not in charge of nature.

One flower that has surprised me this year is a volunteer, old-fashioned petunia that popped up in my little greenhouse.  It is Huge.  The greenhouse leaks a little so it’s gotten some rain, but for the most part it’s been left to fend for itself.  I definitely need to collect some seed from this tough plant.

old fashioned petunia in greenhouse

Other bloomers that are doing well are the zinnias.  It took a while for them to get their groove, but once they did, they did big time.

zinnia zinnia zinnia zinnia

Here are some more of my favorites

purple coneflower

Echinacea purpura or purple coneflower


coleus and begonias


Another coleus

hosta flower

Hosta flowers


Sunflower forming

caladium and geranium

Caladium and geraniums. Not usually two that go together but seem to be working. Caladiums are a shade plant and geraniums a sun plant.

allium cernum ?

Allium cernum

Mexican sunflower is a great late summer plant and is loved by butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.

Mexican sunflower is a great late summer plant and loved by butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.

I recently found some fans of my garden.  They were really cool.  Ha.

marigolds and fans

And last, but not least, my favorite sight (for any season) when I come home from my job in the busy city.

house backyard view

Home, Sweet Home


sunflower emoji

Posted in Butterflies, Farm life, Flowers, Garden, summer flowers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments