Rainy Deserts and Mountains

dinosaurs Rt 66

During our trip to the Painted Desert last year, we learned that we should have brought raincoats.The day started out sunny, clear and hot, at 94 degrees, just the kind of day you would expect to experience in the desert. As we explored the petrified trees and historical sites, however, we began to see dark clouds in the distance. The temperatures began to drop. Our plan was to be in Petrified Forest National Park for only one day, so we raced against the storm clouds, trying to see as much as we could before the storm started. When the lightning started to get too close for comfort, we spent some time in the Visitor’s Center.

petrified forest 1

After the storm, it was cold and drizzling. But this was a place that we would probably not visit again for years, and I had to walk among the blue mesas. In sunny weather, anyway, they look blue. In the cloudy gloom, they were layers of greys and browns. The girls and I only had sweatshirts on. While our walk was well worth it, we got soaked. It took a while to warm up, and swimming in the outdoor pool was not going to happen!

rainy blue mesa

As many of you know. this past summer we ventured into Sunny California, which has been in a drought for three years. But still, based on our desert experience, I decided we all needed to bring raincoats on our vacation. For the most part, we didn’t need them.

But then…we did.

On our drive from Yosemite to Death Valley, we made a stop in Bodie State Historical Park. Bodie is high in the mountains; it used to be a gold mining town. Now it is a abandoned ghost town. Everything is left as it was left, so most of the building are locked because they are unsafe to enter.

ghost town kitchen

We wandered around the town with other tourists, and could see the rain clouds approaching. Pretty soon, it started to sprinkle. I was so glad that this time, we were prepared!

church

raincoats

We weren’t as prepared as we thought, however, because then it began to do something we really didn’t expect to see in California in the summer in the middle of a three year drought.

It began to hail.

hail

What unexpected things have happened to you when you’ve traveled?

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Picnicking {Spin Cycle}

Our family loves a good picnic; or as Fancy Nancy would put it, we dine al fresco! Every once in while, I’ll call Ed and tell him to meet us at the roller slide park after work. I make pizza pasta salad* and buy Cheetos, and the girls and I arrive early so that they can play on the playground before Ed gets there.

Most of the time, our picnicking happens during a road trip. I pack sandwiches, fruit and veggies so that we can stop at a picnic area to eat lunch instead of eating fast food.

Sometimes, the weather doesn’t cooperate and it’s a bit cooler than we expect. We just bundle up and eat outside anyway.

roadside picnic

Sometimes, we can’t find a picnic table. So we pull over in a turnaround on the side of the highway to Fairbanks, Alaska, and eat in the back of our rental van.

picnic in a van

alaska picnic

Sometimes, we can’t find a picnic table, so we use a rock instead.

Hiking in the Rocky Mountains, CO
Hiking in the Rocky Mountains, CO
Lunch at the Grand Canyon
Lunch at the Grand Canyon

And sometimes, there’s nothing like a hot dog in your own backyard!

hot dog

*I don’t have a recipe; I just make some rotini noodles, throw in some pepperoni, grape tomatoes, mozzarella cheese chunks, onions, green peppers and black olives, and toss it all with a vinaigrette. Voila, pizza pasta salad!


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