Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Road Trip Day 12: Welcome to Crime Scene Inn

*this is not the crowbar I saw today at Crime Scene Inn
As a child, we always had a joke about the motels we would end up staying in. They would likely be cheap, and maybe the door would hit the bed when you opened the door, and the best deals usually had a body outline on the floor they were so shady. This was just a joke, though, at least until today. We booked a hotel (Rodeway Inn) online for our goal today, Cheyenne, Wyoming. Upon finding the hotel immediately in Cheyenne, we joked that something wouldn't work out, because otherwise everything had gone perfectly today. Our timing all day was perfect, we even did some sightseeing and nobody had any major meltdowns on the road. I went in to check in at the hotel, the receptionist wasn't so friendly, but I chalked that up to the cold weather and the fact that we simply aren't in sunny California any more. We noticed that the parking spot in front of our room was a handicapped parking spot, so we decided to check the room quickly to make sure it wasn't full of low light switches and the like. Not to be prejudiced, but we ended up in an accessible room once on this trip, and while all the other rooms had supposedly been remodeled in the hotel, this one had not been. Dirty creepy bathroom, low light switches, fixtures that were half falling off of the wall. Not to mention a funny, hospital like smell. Wanting to avoid that, we had a quick look into the room. Strange, upon opening the door, we couldn't find the light switch, then I immediately noticed that the bed was messed up. Is this a joke, we wondered, this room hasn't been cleaned. Still not finding the light switch (and not thinking to look for a low, wheelchair accessible switch) I then noticed something lying on the floor. Was it a cane in this possibly handicapped accessible room? I stepped closer. No, it was not a cane. IT WAS A CROWBAR. I backed out of the room. Shut the door. Hurried to reception and checked right back out of that place faster than I had checked in, telling the perplexed receptionist about what we had found. I'm glad we didn't find the light switch, because who knows what else we would've found lurking in the dark corners of that room. Creepy. Honestly, I find the whole state of Wyoming creepy. It's just empty and empty and empty. And then this. I can't wait to get out of here. I just wish we were going west, not east. California is fantastic, and I hope I will be moving there soon. But more on that later. So everybody, watch the news, because if there was some kind of heinous crime committed in room 109 of Rodeway Inn in Cheyenne, WY, I was there. But I didn't do it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Road Trip days 3, 4 and 5
Good morning from Fabulous Las Vegas! After days and days of driving through snow, creepy mountain towns, plains, deserts, more mountains, and yesterday wind, a blizzard, rain, hail and an electrical storm with lightning bigger and brighter than I've ever seen before, we have arrived in Las Vegas. Slightly different than the original plan of driving to Mexico in hopes of arriving somewhere warm, it's still not bad. The Mexico plan was dropped because even Mexico is not warm this time of year. At least the part of Mexico we could've driven to. Here's some of what we've seen:

The Cadillac Ranch outside of Amarillo, Texas. This is on old Route 66, apparently some rancher decided to plant 10 Caddies in his field.

Nothing as far as the eye can see. Pretty much all of Texas and New Mexico.

Here is where vacation finally really began: in the Painted Desert in Arizona, part of Petrified Forest National Park.

Petroglyphs carved into rock over 1000 years ago by native people in the Petrified Forest area.

Lots and lots of Petrified Wood in the Petrified Forest National Park. It was so nice here, because despite rather cool temperatures and heavy wind, we could finally get out of the car, walk around and see something!

This is exactly what we were trying to escape: snow. There was a huge snow storm in Flagstaff, Arizona last night. We considered just stopping there, but after talking to a friendly tow truck driver (who noticed our Michigan license plate and said "Bet you wanted to get away from this!") we continued driving. His tip that the snow would be finished in about 30 miles was correct. We got out of the snow, and into some calmer weather, but crazier things awaited us: a lightning storm, for example, then a torrential downpour, and finally, a bit of hail. But none of that lasted very long and we continued on our way to Las Vegas.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Road Trip!
Thanks to that snow day (#4!) yesterday, we got an early start on our holiday road trip. Goal: California. So far we've driven 1,170 miles in the two days. Yesterday we made it to Springfield, Illinois, and today we have finally arrived in Clinton, Oklahoma. Oklahoma is kind of frightening to me, we wanted to stop and picnic, but it was too cold and I was freaked out by the campground and state park that I found somehow reminiscent of the film Deliverance. We had hoped to make it to Amarillo, Texas today, but that proved to be a bit farther than we could handle. All we've really done the last couple of days is drive, so there's not much to report. The real fun will start in the next couple of days when we get to Arizona, where we plan to see the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, among other things. But until then, we've got a lot of driving to do.
We drove through Chicago yesterday evening around rush hour and it was full of crazy drivers. This morning we drove through St. Louis and had a nice view of the Gateway Arch from the highway (above).
Probably my favorite gas station of all time, Kum & Go. Spotted multiple times in Oklahoma.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Snow day #3

Amazingly enough, it's a double header: today school is cancelled once again. It stopped snowing in the night, but we have an accumulation of about one foot of snow, which must have made the roads a horrible mess, making transport to and from school too dangerous. I only left the house yesterday to shovel out the driveway and clean off the cars, which is about the only possible form of exercise right now. Well, except for ice skating, but unfortunately, the ice is now covered in snow.

It's true: I can walk out my door, down to the river and ice skate, the river is frozen through. We skated for a couple hours each on Saturday and Sunday, and it was fantastic. I forgot how much I loved to skate. It's been years since I last skated, and I'm not very good at it, but for whatever reason I find it very fun. The reason I probably never skated in Dresden is because I was scared of too many people on the ice. That makes me nervous, because, as previously stated, I am not very good and feel that I can be a danger to myself and others on skates. This is also the reason I don't rollerblade. Ice skating involves ice, meaning that it's cold and one must wear layers of thick winter clothing, providing great padding in case you fall. There's also probably some snow around in case you take a spill, which I did a couple of times, which also pads the fall. And anyway, ice seems softer than concrete to me, which it probably isn't, but I am less scared of ice. Concrete, however, terrifies me, and this is why I refuse to put any form of wheels on my feet, because I know I would fall and do some major damage to myself.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Snow day #2!!

When my alarm went off at 5 this morning, I looked outside to see how things looked. It didn't look like it had snowed as much as had been forecasted, so I hit snooze and started to mentally prepare myself for the day. These last two weeks before Christmas are going to be rough, because I am burned out and the kids are whacky. But then, as I was giving up hope of a snow day, my phone rang. It was my mom. "Could I be so lucky?" I asked myself. And I was! School cancelled! Snow day! Hooray!
Here's the total amount of snow as of a few minutes ago.
In other news, gas is down to $1.42. It just keeps dropping. Incredible.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Snow day!

I got up on Monday after the four day weekend not really wanting to go to work. But I arose at 5 am, started getting ready, and as soon as I got out of the shower, I heard my phone ringing. Who's calling at 6 in the morning, I wondered. I didn't want to get my hopes up, but all I could think was "Snow day?" It had started snowing the previous evening, and the snow was heavy, but my school rarely closes for snow. But I answered my phone, and it was the bearer of great news on the other end! No school! Snow day! School had been cancelled due to the snow storm, and because it was supposed to continue dumping snow all day on Monday, making it dangerous to transport students to and from school. So I stayed up, had my coffee in peace before the boys woke up, read for a while, and just enjoyed not having to drive 30 minutes in to work and deal with a bunch of silly kids. Aaaah, if only every day were a snow day.

We had a great snow day, building an igloo and a snow bunny.

Above is a sampling of Christmas lights around Beaverton as well. These started going up around Thanksgiving time, and will be up, bright and shiny, until January!

Holy smokes!

Gas is down to $1.56 per gallon! I thought it was at its low yesterday with $1.58, but after I filled up my tank at the station where gas was $1.58, I found that gas was down to $1.56 on the other side of town! Is this a political thing because Michigan has the highest unemployment in the country? This is like the good old days before I moved to Germany and could fill my Escort for under $20! I filled my car for under $20 today! Hooray! All those people with silly gas pump noose stickers on their cars can peel them off now!