Sunday, January 28, 2007

10/18/06: Adventures on the Road

Where have I been, you ask? Well, with the start of homeschooling and then a three-week road trip, we've been more than busy. My plan was to blog from the road, but with a faulty generator, my ideal was not possible.

We travelled five thousand miles in a 1994 Winnebago, stopping off first at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. From there we visited Zion National Park, had dinner with dear friends from our church, and then dug trylobites from "U Dig Fossils" near Delta, Utah. The kids came away with over thirty fossils, and T was in heaven!

From there we stopped to stay with dear family friends in Grand Junction, CO, before treking up to Estes Park (through a very snowy Vail) to the 11th Ad Lib Christian Arts Retreat. There we met up with old friends and new ones to celebrate worship and the arts. The Tween group with which I helped accomplished a great deal: theology, music, pottery painting, poetry, watercolor, and nature photography. Despite the snow, the aspens were quaking goldenly. The retreat met at Camp St. Malo, which was so lovely with its stone chapel surrounded by snowy mountains. And our final meeting for worship in the stone chapel -- acapella hymns, sun streaming through stained glass windows onto the shiny oaken pews, an uplifting sermon on the artists' place in the Church -- was deeply satisfying. I shared some of my poetry to an illustrious audience and attempted to battle my self-doubt, with help from God and friend Kitty.

After a loop near Denver, we wended our way to Durango (stopping to play in the snow along the way), where we rafted the Animus River on a half-day trip. At least we experienced mostly 1 and 2 level rapids, with one 3 which soaked all of us to the skin. It was the loveliest of days for a river trip, and we couldn't have asked for a more wonderful time. Next we were off to Mesa Verde to see the cliff dwellings, which our guide Jose expounded the history of. The boys and Keith took a walk down to the Spruce Tree House dwellings while E and I rested, and there the guys got to climb through the kivas. Cool!

South to Sante Fe we trekked, with the Crap Monster (my nickname for the RV) chugging along and smelling up the pristine desert landscape. The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum was lovely, and we checked out the cheap touristy Plaza area nearby as well as the absolutely gorgeous Cathedral of St. Francis. I could easily have spent the rest of the afternoon in that amazing church, but the rest of the family was waiting on me. The Carlsbad Caverns were next on the agenda, and we drove through Roswell on our way -- Roswell was much larger than I had imagined, with slanting alien eyes topping the streetlights downtown. The caverns were simply amazing. The guys walked down through the natural entrance and saw a bat on the wall as we girls opted for the 750 ft. elevator ride so I could manage the one mile circumference of the Big Room.

From southern New Mexico we travelled through Texas to San Antonio, where we stayed with dear friends on their ranch and were taken into downtown to see the Alamo (sacred ground, that) and the Riverwalk. Then we had three long days of driving through southern Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and back to San Diego with no air conditioning. The Crap Monster broke down a mere 90 miles from home, and Keith's brother and a kind tow truck guy got us on our way home only six hours behind schedule.

Now that Crap Monster is back with its rightful owner, all our stuff is unloaded, and our homeschooling routine is resumed, I am feeling the total exhaustion that comes from living on adrenaline for three weeks of homeschooling four children in a stinky RV. But we're home, safe and sound, with tons of pictures and a lifetime of memories of our family's first big road trip.

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