Friday, August 5, 2011

Vacation Time!

After attending the RWA National Conference in New York, NY I flew back to Reno, NV. My husband’s job on the Ruby Pipeline had finished so we decided to see a few things and visit a friend before we headed back to Texas.

First stop, Yellowstone National Park.

We arrived at Yellowstone, only to find that all the campgrounds were full so we had to stay outside of the park. The next day, when we were again in the park, our daughter sent us a text asking if we were okay. She’d heard that a grizzly had attacked and killed a man who was hiking with his wife. This was the first bear killing in the park since 1986. Even so, we enjoyed our time in the park. Then we drove through the Grand Tetons and back to Nevada. Oh, and somewhere in the park someone stole our BBQ grill. We’re not sure where it happened but it had to be when we parked and hiked a few of the trails.

The park was beautiful, we saw several bison, a few elk, two black bears, and I saw a white wolf. My husband was taking pictures of an elk practically standing in the road. I stayed in the truck and saw the white wolf trot out of the woods, cross the road, and enter the woods on the other side of the road. I grabbed my camera but he was gone before I could get a decent picture of him.

Next stop, visit a friend and fellow writer.

Marlene was expecting us around 2 pm. We got there around 4 pm. Why? Well, we got stuck behind a fender bender in Tahoe, then road construction in Tahoe and over the mountain. I should have done a traffic search before heading out and I’d have known about the construction.

We had a wonderful time visiting Marlene (Paisley Kirkpatrick) and her husband. Ken. They were such gracious hosts and so comfortable to be around that even my husband and Ken, both forced into this contact, had a great time visiting. Marlene’s house is fantastic and Ken’s woodwork—absolutely beautiful. He’s a very talented man. Marlene even gave me a pillow decorated with Gerard Butler! I could have cried. Needless to say, that pillow hasn’t been out of my sight much since she gave it to me.

On our way back over the mountain, we encountered another accident. Unfortunately, this one was fatal. A semi with a tanker and a pickup truck collided. Hazmat was called in for the tanker truck. We saw both vehicles as they were towed away. I’m not sure how anyone could have survived that accident. We waited patiently and my husband talked to the worker keeping the road blocked, which is how we found out that there was one fatality and a possible second one.

Third stop, Death Valley.

This was our second time to visit Death Valley. The first time, it was on fire and we couldn’t get through the park. This time, it was flooded. Truly, I don’t think we’re meant to visit this park. We did get to see Scotty’s Castle this time though and the vegetation was very green from the flooding but we didn’t get to see everything.

Fourth stop, Las Vegas.

We’ve been to Las Vegas many times. So, we pulled into Sam’s Town’s RV park, found our name on the list with our lot number and we were set for the night. We’d arrived after the office closed so the park leaves a paper on the door with the person’s name and lot number. This lets anyone who doesn’t have a reservation know not to take those sites but any other empty site is available.

One thing that we’ve never had a problem with in any campground or RV park is theft. Not this time though. Someone stole our gas can out of the back of the truck. Now, we don’t carry that gas can for us. We have huge diesel tanks with pumps on them in the beds of both of our diesel trucks. No we carry that gas can for other people. If we see someone broke down who needs gas to get to the next exit, we can help them. I guess we helped someone, we just didn’t know it this time and we didn’t get to keep the can.

Fifth stop, Petroglyph National Monument

This was interesting but did require some hiking. The first stop did me in. I’d had a breakfast sandwich that didn’t agree with me and about 1/4 of the way up the hill, I got sick. Since I didn’t want to puke on the petroglyphs or on the trail, I headed back to our truck. My husband managed to do the whole trail. Then we did the next shorter trails together. It’s a quick little circle area, so if you’re ever in the area and want to see a lot of petroglyphs in one are, this is the place to visit.

Sixth stop, Carlsbad Caverns

All I can say is that I’m glad it was caverns because everything above ground had been burnt. The entire drive to the canyons was blackened. The scenic drive roads off the main roads were closed. We enjoyed visiting here, it was nice and cool but when I went into the Caverns my hair had a nice curl going on, it was a frizzy mess when I got back to the surface though. My son wouldn’t have been able to see the Caverns. He’s terrified of elevators. The elevator ride is 750 feet and takes one minute.

One question the man asked when we got our tickets—have you been in any mines or caves in the east in the past six years. I had to think about that since we do so much traveling. The answer was no but I did ask him why. He said it’s due to the white nose syndrome found in bats. I’d read a bit about it before going to the Lovelock, NV cave but didn’t realize humans could carry the disease. This syndrome has killed more than one million hibernating bats.

Seventh stop, Home

Finally, we arrived in Texas. I was exhausted and ready to hibernate for about a week. Not that I actually got to do that but thinking about it was pretty darn nice. Even though we traveled and saw a good bit of the US, the best part was spending time with my husband. It's nice to not be in a hurry to get anywhere. Just cruising around, doing what we wanted, and stopping to explore whatever caught our attention on our way home.

So, did you take a vacation this year? Was it exciting? Any thing special happen?


morgan said...

It sounds like you had a great time. I am so glad you were able to meet a fellow writer. Next time, post photos. Truthfully, I like to see photos of my fellow writers it helps me get a feel for who they are.
Great Blog.

Gabriella Hewitt said...

What a great post. You packed so much in and experienced quite a lot. Agree with Morgan in that I would love to see some pictures, especially of the caverns. Btw, my middle son would've been terrified as well. He doesn't do heights. Right now I'm on vacation w/ the kids in CA. As we live in Japan, vacation for me is simply coming home to see the folks. I would love to show my sons someday all the sights you just talked about.

Thanks for sharing!

Mona Risk said...

Hi Denise, what beautiful trip, quite eventful. My DH wants to go to Yellow Stones. I am not that eager. You lucky one, you got to visit with my dear friend Marlene. I heard of her beatiful house and her love for Gerald is legendary. wink, wink Marlene.

Josie said...

Your life is way more exciting than mine!
We visited Las Vegas just once, last August, in fact. We stayed at the beautiful Wynn resort and saw the fantastic water show called "Le Reve." I think I'd go back to Las Vegas just to see that 1 show again.