Saturday, January 29, 2011

happy 150th birthday, kansas!

happy kansas day, everyone!!

to celebrate, i'm showing off a few of my favorite kansan things....

the state flower: sunflower

the state animal: buffalo

the state tree: cottonwood

source (in fall, of course!)

the best college: kansas state university
and this kansan: kyle

sorry...had to throw that one in there.  i know, i'm so sweet it makes you want to throw up a little.  :)

*no i don't ever say ya'll, but it fits the sentence.  deal with it. 

honeymoon road trip: day 6

day 6 of our road trip was (if i'm totally honest) my most favorite and my least favorite day of the trip.

we woke up early in anticipation of running a few errands and heading up to the grand canyon for hiking.  i had big dreams of hiking down to the bottom and back up in one day.  which, we probably could have done.  it would have been a long trip, but we had been working out prior to the wedding, doing a program here in wichita called "shocker fitness" a group of runners led by the wichita state university track coach.  so we knew we were in good shape.

nature, on the other hand, had other plans in store for us.

on october 6th, 2010 flagstaff, arizona was hit by a series of tornadoes and hail storms at 5:30 in the morning.  FIVE THIRTY IN THE MORNING, PEOPLE!!  what the crap?  arizona, you must be confused, when it storms in kansas, it's always at a decent time when people are awake and doing normal things.  like eating dinner.  duh.  get your stuff together, arizona.

but i digress.

true story: arizona usually gets about four tornadoes a year.  and they got 8 in a day.  and flagstaff isn't really up-to-speed when it comes to tornadoes.  and nothing there is built withstand that sort of wind and weather activity.  at least in this commercial-interior-designer-architectural-nerd-who-happens-to-be-from-kansas girl's humble opinion.  i mean, crap, the week before our wedding, kansas had record breaking hail.  an 8" hail stone fell in wichita that week.  it punched holes in people's roofs.

by the way, i am not making fun of arizona...i'm merely stating that i they aren't prepared for these sorts of things.  for good reason...they don't usually have them.

for example:

this amount of damage was done by an EF-2 (some say EF-3) tornado.

so, needless to say, kyle and i were pretty much the only people out and about in flagstaff that morning.  we were all, "ppshhh, just a little bit of rain!" 

we went to the grocery store across the street from the hotel to pick up some lunch.  completely empty.  the manager of the store checked us out.

we went to walmart to pick up some hiking boots for me.  i had brought hiking shoes, but with that much rain we had the forethought to think that JUST MAYBE it might be a little muddy at the canyon.  thank god for that forethought.  i also picked up a waterproof jacket while i was there.  again, thank god for that.

walmart was almost completely empty.

so then i'm all, "hell yes, the canyon is going to be way empty!"

yeah, right.

we drove through lots and lots of tree damaged national forest barely seeing anyone along the way...and pull into the south rim parking lot to see it completely full of people.  and hail that looked like snow.

a very blurry picture of downed trees...sorry.

yup, that's hail.

and the canyon was clouded over.

i'm not exaggerating, you couldn't even see the canyon.

okay, you could kind of see it.....and i admit, it was gorgeous.

we walked around the (brand new) visitor's center and along a few of the rim trails while it rained/sleeted on us and finally just decided to go for it.

we walked about a quarter of a mile down the south kaibab trail and TADA!

we were beneath the clouds!  and you could see for miles and miles!

here's a map from the NPS website i reference above of the trail we hiked:

we went about 2.5 miles down into the canyon and since we had a late start, decided we wouldn't be able to make it down to the river and back before night fall, so we turned around and headed back up.  on the way down we stopped at Ooh Aah Point, to um, oooh and aaah i suppose.  we got a few great shots of both of us there...




and then we stopped again at Cedar Ridge for the ever important potty break and lunch.

 it was raining.  again.

this little guy decided to join us.

during our lunch (which was rudely interrupted by two of the most annoying children i've ever been around and their equally annoying parents) a park ranger blew past us on her way to camp down in the canyon.  she said she was going to stay down there for a couple of days and then hike back up to the north rim from there.  (the south kaibab trail has a north kaibab trail that goes to the north rim's visitor's center.)  i was in awe.  even though i hate camping, i think i might camp down in the grand canyon, just because that seems pretty bad ass to me.  don't you think?

and now, for the picture heavy portion part of the post...

this was our turn around point.

we were about a half a mile in when we stopped to take this one.  it shows the trail going down the side of the cliff.  it's a switchback trail...can you see the people?!?

definitely one of the best days of the entire trip.

have you ever hiked the grand canyon?  did you love it as much as i did?  how weird do you think we are that we enjoy hiking?  because people ask me if i'm crazy a lot, but i LOVE to hike!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

honeymoon road trip: day 5

so after you read my super long rework of day 3 and then day 4, i'm sure you are super excited to read about day 5.  (did i warn you this was an 11 day trip?  i didn't?  worry.)

i'll keep day 5 pretty short for ya...mmmmkkkay?

when wondering around the square on day 4 we saw a bus tour that left from the square and went around the city.  it sounded like a good time to us, so we decided to catch it the next day if we could.

we arrived and asked about the tour, which was apparently completely full.  but not everyone had shown up, so the trolley guy told us to hang around and see if there were some people that didn't make it.

we lucked out and boarded the ABQ trolley with these fun people (and a few more, obviously, that weren't in the picture):

why, yes, we did happen to be the youngest two passengers by about OHHHH, 25 years.  what can you do?

in case you are in the ABQ sometime, take this tour, i promise it is a really great time.

i promised i'd keep it short, so here's a few of my favorite pictures/buildings of the tour:

did you know albuquerque is where a ton of movies are filmed?  i didn't either.  apparently this is tim allen's house in the movie wild hogs.  haven't seen it.  everyone else on the bus had.  does that tell you something about the movie?  :)

i can't find the picture of this that i really loved, but albuquerque is the only place in the whole USA where route 66 crosses route 66.  evidently, a long time ago, one of the mayors tried to reroute route 66 through downtown albuquerque and now there is the "old 66" and the "new 66" and they intersect.

this used to be the high school for the city, but is currently sitting empty.  they guys giving the tour went there to school.  they were probably about 35 or so.  jealous, i would have loved to go to a school that didn't look like a prison in the middle of a wheat field....

i'm not kidding, you wanna see where i went to school?

sorry, i'm far too lazy to crop this out right now.  can you see it?  yeah, that's where i went to school....

ps - why are there no images on the internet of my school?  i had to go to street view in google docs to get this.  boring.

and here is the lovely view of across the street.  guess what that is?  yeah, it's a wheat field.

you thought i was kidding, didn't you?

moving on...

this is architect Bart Prince's house.

that. is. awesome.

he bought the lot next to him and this is his studio.
this. is. also. awesome.

alright, enough boring you with pictures from the bus tour...after the tour we had a late lunch and set off on our longest drive of the trip to scotsdale, from albuquerque, new mexico to flagstaff, arizona.

ohmygawd it was a long ass drive.

but i did realize a life long dream of mine when kyle pulled off in winslow, arizona so i could stand on a corner!

what a great husband he is!

and then we drove on and on (and on and on) to flagstaff.  got in SUUUUUUPER late and i slept like a rock.

it was cold.  and raining.  (in case you wondered.)

(did you catch that foreshadowing?  or should i say forecasting?!?)

i crack myself up.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

honeymoon road trip: day 3...reworked...and then day 4...

well, i guess i better get on this series before we go on another trip...which, fingers crossed, may happen soon.

warning: extremely photo heavy and super long post ahead.
also, somehow i messed up a day already...on day 3 we spent the morning driving around looking for dried chilies (with no success) and then stopped by trader joe's (i could NOT get enough of trader joe's. seriously.  i can't wait until KC gets one.)  and i went in a grabbed us a nice hiking lunch.  we then drove up to bandlier national monument park, about an hour's drive from santa fe and spent the morning hiking.

we both really liked bandlier A LOT.  it was a pretty popular place.  we were there on a monday and couldn't find a place to park when we first got there!  so we drove up the road to one of the scenic overlooks and ate our lunch and found a place after that.

bandlier is a great park that preserves the way of the ancestral pueblo people.  they lived in multi story homes carved into the rock face of the canyon in which they lived and were accessed by large tall ladders.  bandlier is the last name of the anthropologist who studied the people and area before the monument was opened as a park.

note: i have no idea why it took me so long to realize that the date was wrong on all these pictures.  i finally realized it about halfway through the trip and turned it off.  *facepalm*

the large hole is where a family would have slept, the small hole right above that are where they would have ran wooden beams out to form a roof type structure.  almost like a porch.

this is a kiva, a ceremonial structure.  i loved that you could get in and climb around on pretty much everything in the park.  it was like a giant playground.  the kiva was accessed through the "roof" and was pretty small once we got down in there.

 a quick look down the frijoles canyon.  it was gorgeous.  northern new mexico and arizona were definitely my favorite areas of both states.  i love the mountains.

this is the type of ladder that the pueblos would thatch together and use to climb pretty much everywhere.

kyle modeling one of the ladders.  i'm sitting up in the hole from the previous picture.  he's going to kill me when he sees i put this on here.  true story: that shirt has been around longer than me.  seriously, he owned it when we started dating.  in 2002.  LOVE YOU, BABE!  :)

just so he's not so mad at me, here's me showing off my sweet modeling skills in front of one of the biggest ladders on the trail.  you go up this one (it's the first and second longest of four ladders.) and then the longest one.  wind along the rock face on a trail that is I SWEAR TO GOD the width of your foot and then up two more ladders to the kiva in the second picture.

then we drove to Albuquerque.  actually, we stopped and got gas and ate some snacks along there somewhere.

and if you remember from my incorrect previous post, we THEN went to the sandia peak tramway.

end of day 3. 


on day four, we spent the morning at the ABQ zoo because we're super nerdy like that.  i'm just going to warn you now, this is not the nerdiest thing we did on our honeymoon.  that post is later.

the ABQ has a GREAT zoo.  i love animals, penguins being my favorite.  and while they didn't have any penguins, they did have some great ones.

warning, adorable pictures of baby chimps ahead.

new mexican squirrels do not look anything like kansan squirrels.

i'd never seen a porcupine up close before.  this guy's name was homer.  he wasn't very friendly.

this guy spent the entire time picking his boogers and eating them for us.  lovely.  i'm glad i caught him mid-nibble.  gross.

there were a lot of babies at the zoo for fall.  maybe it's just zoos in kansas, but usually the babies are born in the spring here.  anyway, cute baby chimp.

same cute baby chimp swinging!

i think this zebra was hot.  don't worry, friend, he's not dead.  he got up and walked away shortly after i took this picture.

after lunch we headed over to the abq square and had some more mexican food for lunch.  true story: mexican food is very different in new mexico than arizona.  i personally thought that arizona had better mexican food.

and i was on a mission to find the best mexican slash eat as much mexican food as possible on this trip.

some pictures of the square:

still with me?  good.  day 5, more of the ABQ!  it was a super fun, quirky city.  i mean, come on, their baseball team is the isotopes.  how awesome is that!?!