Wednesday, October 31, 2012


No picture, no painting can capture the panoramic beauty of God!
The Grand Canyon has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember.  Bill and I had made plans on going for the past two years and we FINALLY made it.  This was our original goal (okay, we did have to scratch Yellowstone, but..) and it took us 2 weeks and 2 days to get here.  We found so many wonderful surprises on the way and we took our time enjoying everything that came our way.  What a fun trip.

See the people on the ledge?  Shows the scale of this grand view.
(Bill: Seriously people, you HAVE to click on a picture and cursor left and right to really see these pictures!)  

We were blessed to stay at the Trailer Village in the Grand Canyon National Park (Bill & Kathy had stayed there many years ago), which provided full hookups, electric/water/sewer – all the comforts of home.  You gotta love it!  Although Bill was warned not to leave the sewer hose out as the ravens will pick into it for their "supper"!  Yuk!  So every time he drained it, he would need to put it back away.

Sheila wanted me to climb out where these guys were.  Seriously?  Do you remember me rolling down the hill into the river at Hocking Hills?  Do you have a big life insurance policy on me?
We drove in through the east end of the park, which was probably a good 45 minute drive to the campground.  Now of course it took us a lot longer because you see there are scenic stops along the way and we had to stop and take pictures.  In this blog post you will realize that I turned the camera and the editing/cutting over to Bill for the time we spent at the Grand Canyon.  He believes in “quality” not “quantity”.  We are very different in that respect.  It’s just that I want to share it “all” with you and have it “all” to look back on after we are back to reality. 

Pictures can't show the scale of all this, but we try!
The Park provides a really nice bus transit system.  There are three routes. The blue one which makes several stops in the Village where the campground is located, the Red one that takes you to the west towards 9 different scenic stops and the Orange one that takes you east towards several stops.  There are museums, visitor’s centers, scenic lookouts, etc on each route.  Private vehicles cannot go to most of these places but the bus route is really slick.  Then of course there is the route that the buses don’t go but you can drive.  Lots of hiking trails, etc also.  Anyway, we did all we could do with the buses, the car and Ruby.  Most of the lookout and visitor’s centers were blacktopped, so if it was a big area that would require a lot of walking, Bill would get out Ruby.  I really appreciated the transit system, it was really a wonderful asset to getting around.

Ruby got a real workout on these hills.

So after 6 days of buses, the car and Ruby, we had seen just about every view from the top rim we could with my limited physical ability. 

I was interested in the River Rafting through the canyon but they only had multi-day trips, which I was not up to. 

The Colorado River from one mile up.  Doesn't look 100 yards across does it?
I was interested in walking, hiking around the rim, hiking down the canyon and back up --- again, not something I was physically able to do.  

Smoke in the canyon from a prescribed burn several miles away.

I was interested in walking on the “glass horseshoe / skywalk” over the canyon (really I was going to do it!) but that was another 6 hours west and then of course another 6 hours east to get back to where we were camping.  That wasn’t going to happen!  

Another view of the river.

I was interested in taking a helicopter ride over the Canyon, something Bill was not willing to do.  Seriously, I did not think there was anything he was afraid of, but no coercing would talk him into it. 

So, if I do make a full recovery and get in shape, I am coming back to see the Grand Canyon from the other dimensions…from the bottom, over the top, through it – you name it.  I want to see more.

Sunset and all the sunset fans at Hopi Point.
But, I can’t say enough about the beauty we did see from every angle possible on top.  I have been blessed!  And you can listen, discuss, analyze data and all that … I don’t really care how it happened, how many years it took --- I just know that God can, has done, and continues to do amazing work.  This Grand Canyon is His creation, magnificent craftsmanship, a spectacular, artistic vision, so wide, so deep, so multi-dimensional and so impressive that you cannot stand there and not know that HE IS GOD!!  How awesome is HE!

He's rather cute and fun!
Wildlife – this is the first trip that I have no pictures of animals in the wild.  Now we did see a condor the first day we were there but we did not have the telephoto lens with us.  Bill thought for sure we would see many more in the days to come but to no avail.  They were practically extinct a few years ago but with the efforts of the National Parks they are doing well.  We bought a stuffed one (see picture), which is actually a lot cuter than the real thing.  They are not attractive creatures but very majestic when they are in flight.  The place was flooded with ravens, big, noisy ones.  We also saw about 8 elk on the side of the road from the bus one day, one being a huge buck, but did not have time to snap a picture.  The bus driver wasn’t very helpful.  I mean you would think he could have backed up and stopped for a minute.  LOL

If you have an Indian theme going, and you want to show that the bathroom is handicapped accessible. . . .
On Sunday morning we went to the “Shrine of Ages” for service.  This building is used by several different religious groups.  (Bill: Picture this, in one building, you have Catholics, Mormons, Charismatics, Baptists, you name it - all worshipping in the same building.  A very interesting concept!) We attended the Community Church service.  Very small number but a great lesson by a “stand-in” guy.  His real job is “Facilities Manager” of the Park.  He said he fixes things.  Nice young man with wife, a little boy and another on the way.  The people were very sweet and friendly. 

Ever seen Judy Garland in "Harvey Girls"?  Well this is one of the surviving
 Harvey House restaurants.

Wow!  Was this amazing -- I ate almost all of it, Bill wasn't much help!
This is the coffee urn - creamer doesn't match...but
We enjoyed the service and then went on to the Bright Angels Lodge for lunch.  This is a very nice, older building, very unique.  Our table had a view of the Canyon and it was a beautiful day.  The meal was wonderful.  I chose well and only ate half my dinner, was feeling really proud of myself until temptation came over me and I ordered dessert and coffee.  I loved this little coffee urn --- it was so cute.  So of course I took a picture and then when they brought the dessert it was presented so well I took a picture of it also.  Bill is just shaking his head but the table of 8 next to us were laughing and encouraging, “Oh yeah, food art, of course you need a picture”.  (Bill: The woman is addicted.  Sitting there taking flash pictures of her food, the coffee pot, you name it . . . yeah, the people at the next table were encouraging - like the crowd encouraging the jumper on top of the building!) Anyway, after lunch we saw more of the sights and headed home to crash.

Our two goals on this trip, to see the Grand Canyon and then stop to see Rob, Jennifer, Grayden and Reed on the way home in Tennessee.  We have accomplished our first goal and if I didn’t have the second one coming up I would be really sad to leave the Grand Canyon.  It is rather sad to leave but we had a great time, the weather was perfect and we had as much time to sightsee and rest as needed.  Thanks to our good Lord, Dr. Lerner and the love and serving spirit of Bill for the fabulous opportunity to make and enjoy this trip.  Thank you all.

Five states to go before we make it to see our Tennessee boys!!  Who knows what sights and adventures we will encounter on the way! 

Friday, October 26, 2012

 Grand Canyon
Oct. 26th, 2012
by Bill (the less wordy one)

Driving towards the Grand Canyon, we kept seeing signs for “Mexican Hat”.  Thinking it was a town up ahead, I ignored them, then we found a sign pointing at a rock formation . . . well what do you know.  Gotta take a picture!  By the way, you really need to click on a picture, let it get large, then scroll left and right with your cursor keys.  Gotta see the detail!

Mexican Hat - what else?
Later we stopped at a Navaho jewelry stand where Sheila basically made this guy’s day.  The man has an iPhone, a credit card reader attached to it so you can pay by credit card, and a dirt floor in his shack.  Sometimes the contrasts just get to me.

High tech with a dirt floor.

We arrived at the Grand Canyon to find that winter had beat us here.  I’ve been to the GC six times before, but never when it was this cold and windy!  If in any of the pictures it looks like we’re freezing, we are!

Later, Sheila added her winter coat over this ensemble.
(I, Sheila), did my hair that day, I really did, it looked pretty good before the wind got a hold of it!
A lady walked up to Sheila at one of the viewing areas and wanted to know if she was from Ohio.  Sheila had a “Bolte Insurance” shirt on and this lady went to school with the owner.  Reminds me of when (1975) I stopped at a little gas station in Wyoming on my first trip out west.  A guy walked up to me and asks, “Did you go to Central Michigan Univ?”  Or the time we ran into Kane and Fran Campbell on a glacier in the Canadian Rockies.  Small world.

We're not in the Arches NP, but we keep seeing arches!
And Arches in the process of being created.

How you can tell you aren't in a National Park: The locals see nothing wrong with\
 painting a sign for their gift shop on a huge rock wall!

The guy kept telling us to "back up" but we weren't buying it.

Gourmet breakfast!  Cooked by me!

The zig-zag in the background is the Bright Angel Trail which Kyle,
 David,  Megan, Justin W. and I hiked in 2003.

See the guy on the peak?  Shows the scale.

I love the layers in this shot.  You can see near, far away, and farther away.

This sign points out that the farther peaks are actually 60 miles away!

Sturdy rails so the wind doesn't blow you into the canyon.
(The rails were my (Sheila's) friends -- I am afraid of heights, gave me
some comfort, I didn't get near as nervous! 

The river - a mile away.

The Colorado River.  Doesn't look it, but it is actually a football
field wide on average.

A quote from Psalms on a post at Hermit's Rest

Holding a cup of delicious hot chocolate, and Sheila's trash.

Last stop on the west side of the rim tour.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

October 22 – 24, 2012

Sunday morning we decided we could not leave until we had seen more, experienced more.  However, Bill wanted to move to another campground, so we pulled up stakes, drove the motorhome to the Visitor Center and then took the car to church.  We thoroughly enjoyed the service at the small Church of Christ in Moab.  They were so friendly and invited us to stay for their potluck.  We almost took them up on it but I had hit my wall.  We grabbed lunch at a local grille, found a new campground and I crashed.  We were staying another 2 nights.  Bill took the opportunity to catch up on laundry and I did nothing at all.  How blessed am I?  I really needed the “down-time”.

Devil's Garden Trail, leads to the Landscape Arch

The entry to the "Easy" walk to Landscape Arch
Monday morning we were up and ready way before the “crack of noon” (our usual start time) and headed to the “Arches”.  The Landscape Arch was an “EASY” hike, (according to the brochure) just a little over 1 mile round trip. The terrain was too rocky for “Ruby” but I figured as long as I took LOTS of breaks I could do it.  Bill was a little hesitant but I talked him into it. 

See, I did take breaks, elevation was high, air was thin, I tire easily!
Gorgeous View!!
Young couple from Auburn Hills, MI --- sweet!
Mule Deer, right up near the path, they were not frightened of us at all,
that is until Bill said, "Don't worry, we won't hurt you." Then the little one ran off.

This is what the sign should have said for the trek --- "Caution - Primitive
trail - Difficult walking.  LOL

Okay, in my defense, my doctor said, “If it’s easy, do it.  If not, don’t”.  Well I can get them for false representation but I believed them when they said it was an easy, mostly level trail.  NOT.  Well, probably for most people, but not me.  And I did take lots of breaks and I was exhausted when we got out.  Was it worth it??  You bet it was.  It was glorious.  It was beautiful.  It was so good to be walking (even though intermittently) on the trail to the Landscape Arch.  


Our first view!  You can't quite see through here.

We got closer --- Now you can see the sky through the arch!

See --- we made it --- I was not photoshopped in.  It may have taken us 3 times as long as anyone else but I have lived to tell the story!  Thanks for Bill's patience in taking it slow --
we were able to enjoy our surroundings longer that way.  LOL

Bill walked farther along the trail to get an even better view & picture.
I restrained myself, sat on a rock and waited.
This was a double window arch even farther along the trail.  I could kind of
see it from where I was sitting.

Bill was intrigued by the different cacti!

View on the return -- the sun had come out and was showing off!
Another break -- on a gnarled tree this time -- the wind was really kicking up!

The ravens are huge and very noisy!


We left there and headed to the Canyon Lands National Park --- another wonder.  It is so unique and different.  At the “Arches” you are on the bottom looking up, way up, and up some more!  At the “Canyons” it is the opposite.  You are on the top looking down and out at these huge open, rugged areas.  I was so excited about both these parks that Bill said we might as well go home, the Grand Canyon was going to be a disappointment.  Then he assured me that the “Canyons” in Moab were a taste of what I would see at the Grand Canyon.  Seriously, if we had had to leave and go home right then I couldn’t have complained, I had seen so much of God’s creativity and diversity.

I thought this was a neat little bush -- very prickly!

We saw a lot of these trees -- I call them gnarly ones.  They were each
very unique and really cool.  I found them interesting,

This one really shows the "crater" like gorges, almost like fingers.

The sun was starting to set in this direction.  You can see the Colorado River.

There was another “EASY” walk to an arch in the Canyon Lands.  I really had to talk Bill into this one but I had rested for many hours since the last hike … and again it was worth it.  So cool!  This arch, unlike the others we had seen, you could climb up to and look into the Canyon and see the sky too.  Super cool.


This one made me nervous --- there is nothing on the other side of this
 arch to keep you from falling all the way to the bottom of the canyon.
Bill was very brave, I was very nervous.
I couldn't watch him get there or get back!

That was it! We were both spent by then.  Headed back to camp.  Tomorrow, yes tomorrow, 2 weeks and 3 days since we left home for the Grand Canyon and we will be there tomorrow.  The journey has been wonderful!