April 22, 2008

Columbia to Vegas ... and back again

Posted by meli on Tuesday, April 22, 2008 in , , , , | No comments
I've desperately been trying to get back into my blog after an emergency family situation had us driving from South Carolina to Las Vegas and back again. So many experiences and I didn't quite know where to start. I've decided that I'm just going to ramble, ramble, ramble, until I get everything out - and then we'll get back into regular bloggin' life as usual - haa.

The second week in March we got a call saying Nick grandmother was in her final days. They were taking her off of all of her medication, and it would just be a matter of days. We spent the rest of that day making arrangements, and were in our car driving to Las Vegas the next. Despite the reason for our trip , we did have a great family vacation. I love being cooped up in a car with my sweet little family of five fully experiencing the beauty of this amazing world. It was absolutely wonderful.

We did have our fair share of mishaps, lol. Battery trouble the entire way. Thank goodness for kind people offering to give us a jump time and time again. Nicks cell phone fell victim to a puddle of cucumber juice. Totally fried it. The very next day my cell phone became the target of a kombucha explosion of sorts ... remained nonworking for the next two days. We finally stopped to buy me another one (I can't stand being on the open road with no phone), and OF COURSE, later that same day my old phone miraculously started working again. Isn't that the way it always goes? So, Nick is now sporting my old cell phone, which happens to be a gorgeous shade of pink. It really brings out his cheekbones, haa!

We didn't stop to enjoy too much on our way out there. We wanted to get there as quickly as possible knowing Baba's time was very limited. We finally made it out there and immediately went up to see her. It's really very heartbreaking to see some one's body give out on them while their mind is still so strong and sharp. We had a great time visiting with her during the week we were in town. She was doing good, was eating better, getting stronger. Unfortunately, after we left, she went downhill very quickly. She was in and out of it, not coherent most of the time, not eating at all, and her internal bleeding had become really really bad. We got a call early on April 4th (our anniversary) to let us know that Baba had just passed. Very sad, but relieving as well. Knowing she is no longer in pain is quite reassuring. I can now picture her floating around this great universe with her Husband and her Daughter ... all looking down on us with love.

While in Vegas we had a great time visiting. Nick was born in Vegas and spent a good portion of his childhood there (before more a little north to Carson City). His entire family used to live there. They've spread out a bit now, but there are a few stragglers still in the area. We were able to see his sisters, aunt, uncle, cousin and her fiance. It was great catching up with everyone! We also happened upon a RAW RESTAURANT! Go Raw cafe - it was great. Soo Soo good. We ordered raw chips (flax crackers) w/salsa and guacamole, raw mexican pizza, raw enchiladas, and a raw beet burger with "fries". Yum, Yum, and more Yum!! While there we also stocked up on our flax cracker supply!!

On our way home from Vegas, we opted to try and take as much time as we could to really enjoy ourselves. We camped at Valley of Fire, right outside of Vegas. G.O.R.G.E.O.U.S. Seriously, it is absolutely breathtaking out there. Fiery red sandstone mountains all around. Ahhh, pure bliss. I MISS mountains. We hiked, hiked, and hiked some more. It was so peaceful and quiet, honestly, I could have stayed there the rest of my life!! Camping is wonderful! There were areas of the park that depicted ancient indian writing. Quite fascinating to look at, for sure. One mountain in particular, Atlatl Rock, still had the original stone stairway leading up the mountain. Of course, all blocked off because of vandals, but amazing to see.

The Hoover Dam ... the kids loved it. They can't wait to visit again and take a helicopter tour. I do have to say, if we EVER make that drive again, we WILL be detouring around that Dam. Holy Man, have you heard about the Hoover Dam Bypass Project? I hadn't heard about prior to our trip. Imagine my surprise as we rounded the corner, and this MASSIVE bridge appeared. My heart sank, my mouth went dry, my breathing stopped, my hands were balled into such tight fists that I was sure my palms were bleeding from my nails. It was sickening!!! Yea, for those of you unaware of this little tidbit, I HATE BRIDGES!!!!! This bridge is supposedly going to be the highest, longest bridge in the country. HIGHEST is right, I wasn't kidding when I said massive. HUGE HUGE HUGE!!! Thank goodness the project was not yet complete, so we didn't have to go over it. Yikes!!!!

We then headed up to the Grand Canyon. Neither of us had been there before - it's beautiful. We weren't able to get the "full" experience, as we only had a few hours. We really do need atleast a few days of camping, hiking, touring, to really explore all that the canyon has to offer ... but it was a really nice little stop. We drove all along the South Rim of the canyon, stopping at every accessible spot to get out and enjoy. It's breathtaking. Our timing was a bit off for pictures. The sun was at that non-cooperative spot where it really washed out a lot of the color. A bit disappointing. But, that just means we're going to have to go back sometime in the near future :)

After the Grand Canyon, we drove through New Mexicos Painted Desert. The colors of the mountains are absolutely fascinating. They really did look "painted". I couldn't take my eyes off them. After a while the sun began to set - it was picturesque!! I wanted to pull off the road and camp right there under the huge full moon and big bright stars, but alas, we had to keep moving ...

Out there in the middle of nowhere there was a huge "Dinosaur Tracks" sign. All 3 boys are intrigued with dinos, Rylan more so then the other two, so we HAD to stop to see what it was all about. Way out on the middle of the desert there were actual Dinosaur Tracks. You could see where the ground had been washed away with erosion etc, uncovering footprints. Quite interesting. The kids got a kick out of it.

We had a lot of fun at the rest stops a long the way. Lots of running, climbing, and freeze tag. Tatum thoroughly enjoyed all of the open space. Romping, prancing, dashing, bouncing - she did it all. There are some pretty NICE rest stops out there, fully equipped with GIANT playsets. I encourage you all to go out and enjoy them!

We returned home early on Easter Sunday (which wasn't planned. We ended up driving from Oklahoma straight home. We intended to stop somewhere in Alabama Saturday night, but the motels were being quite rude, so we just kept going. Loooong, Looooong leg of the vaca). We were all tuckered out!

We created a ton of good memories racking up quite a few miles on our car :-)

MANY more pictures available for viewing on my myspace pics section. You can access my page using the link to the right (might have to scroll up a bit).


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