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In Which I Return from the Wild West

8 April, 2009 (07:43) | Life In General | By: Brian

I found some time to blog while riding the bus to work again. The most important news is that Lynn and I got back safely from an amazing vacation out West. And secondly, the magnetic strip on my DART Bus fare card still works after all those cold months!

Lynn and I added two new states and a couple of amazing landmarks to our “I’ve been to…” lists. We flew from Philly into Las Vegas and stayed in a place that was a couple of blocks from the strip. We had an amazing view out of our window of all the casinos and hotels at night. We ate and walked around a bit, but mostly just caught up on jet lag and relaxed there.
The next day we set out in earnest. We picked up our rental, a Chevy HHR, made a brief stop at a giant pinball collection arcade, and then headed for the Hoover Dam. From there we drove long into the night and spent our first of three nights in Williams, AZ, which is basically like Radiator Springs from Cars, but with my last name everywhere.

The next day we boarded the Grand Canyon Railway and road up to the South Rim of the amazing natural landmark. It’s one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and the only one in the US. We spent three hours there hiking and taking pictures and then road the train back. The next day we drove out east from Williams. We grabbed a giant sushi lunch in Flagstaff which really surprised us by being amazingly good and ginormous. Next we saw Meteor Crater, which is the most well-preserved meteorite impact crater on the planet. It was pretty impressive to see the destructive power of a large rock smashing into our world. Further east we saw the National Petrified Forest, which also has beautiful rock formations and colors. We relaxed that night after we got back and played some games in our last night in Williams.

On our last full day in AZ we drove south from Flagstaff. We made a quick stop at a very high scenic outlook to take some pics, but it was very cold up there. Farther south we stopped at Montezuma Castle, which is an awesome adobe built into the side of a cliff face. There used to be a larger neighbor adobe, but apparently it had a fire a long time ago and there’s nothing left of it but foundation walls. After Montezuma we got some lunch, drove through Phoenix, waved to the hotel we’d eventually be checking into and headed very far south to an amazing desert museum outside of Tucson. It was the longest drive of our trip, but well worth it. This one place was a desert zoo, botanical garden and museum of desert life all rolled into one. We took some great pictures of mountain lions, coyotes, wolves, bobcats and more. After the museum closed we stayed in the nearby National Saguaro Forest to take some cactus pictures and get a blanket covered in needles. After the park closed we headed north to the clearest skyline we could find to take pictures of the amazing Arizona sunset. A lot of people and sheriffs drove past us and waved while we fiddled with cameras and stood on rocks and tried not to step into any suspicious holes. Finally we headed back to Phoenix and crashed in our last hotel of the trip.

The next day we dropped off the rental and took two flights to get home. On the first leg of the trip every headrest had a screen built into it with an interactive menu for watching tv and movies. But it also had this rolling flight status page, which would show stats qabout the trip like ground speed and miles travelled. It also would show maps from various zoom levels of our current location and travelled path. I was fascinated by that screen and the views of mountains and the Grand Canyon the whole time. The second leg unfortunately did not have individual screens, but we did see Marley and Me and got some horrible turbulence. Eventually we broke through that and had a very gentle, smooth landing in Philly.
Lynn and I are working on a scrapbook to show off a smattering of the 600+ pictures we took and will be showing that off soon. I uploaded almost 90 to my Flickr and Facebook accounts. I’ll get the complete collection in the techhouse gallery eventually.

In other news, spring league hockey started last night and the Bearcats came racing out of the gate with a 7-2 win. I think I was on the ice for 3 or 4 goals for us and none against, so that’s a nice bonus. Our line should play well together and hopefully stay consistent through the season. Next week we play a new team put together by some friends with a few people we love and a few we don’t like so much. It should be an interesting tangle.
Other than that stuff I’ve just been trying to catch up on some chores around the house, and playing a little Puzzle Quest on the DS and some silly web games.


Comment from lynng
Time April 8, 2009 at 2:55 pm

How come you stopped tagging me in blogs? Is my counter too high? :) Well, if it makes you feel better, Gaming, Hockey, and Life in General still outnumber me by far.

(I’m just pulling your leg, here).

Two hours ’til Arabic – and scrapbooking breaks!

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