Moqui Cave

It has been over three months since we visited Moqui Cave in Utah and I am FINALLY getting around to writing about it.

We were on our way to Zion National Park when we passed this little cave on the side of Route 89.  We decided to turn around and go back (a rare thing for me to do) and check it out.  I’m so happy that we did!

The cave itself is small and not all that interesting.  There are three rooms to the man made cave that are filled with various things; artwork, pictures, dinosaur tracks, fluorescent minerals, different forms of currency, and a little gift shop.

The interesting thing about the cave was its history.  It was purchased by Garth Chamberlain in 1951 and is filled with his history and artwork.  Garth was a Mormon, a professional football player, a stuntman, and a self-taught artist.  He carved wood, did bronze sculptures and oil paintings, and made jewelry and Kachina dolls.  We learned so much about this amazing man and his family history in the short time we were at the cave.  It was very cool to see all the awesome artwork he left behind.  The man was very talented.  I was very impressed by the bronze sculptures and woodcarvings.

Before Moqui Cave became a museum and tourist attraction it was a tavern and dance hall. Garth designed a wonderful bar (pictured below) and put it in one of the rooms of the cavern where he served food and drinks.

The people running the cave now are relatives of Garth.  I apologize for not being able to remember exactly how they were related.  It was a husband and wife and one of them was the child or grandchild of Garth.  Whatever the relation, they were filled with tons of information, stories, and history about the family, the area, and the cave.  It was worth the stop just to listen to all they had to say!

If you are ever in the area of Kanab, Utah I highly recommend a visit to Moqui Cave.

The entrance to the cave.

The entrance to the cave.

Inside the entrance of the cave looking out.

Inside the entrance of the cave looking out.

The bar room of the cave

The bar room of the cave

Part of the bar top

Part of the bar top

Another section of the beautiful bar

Another section of the beautiful bar

Another section of the bar

Another section of the bar

Dinosaur tracks

Dinosaur tracks

The large room of the cave.  This is where the florescent minerals were.

The large room of the cave. This is where the florescent minerals were.

Inside one of the rooms

Inside one of the rooms

Some of the currency displayed.

Some of the currency displayed.

Lacy looking off to the side of the cave

Lacy looking off to the side of the cave

A Look Back at September

September brought The Ramblin’ Sisters back together

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We started the month off at Muddy Roots Music Festival.  After the festival was over we decided to head back to California.  On the way we stopped in Memphis, TN and visited Beale Street.

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Our next stop was Deer, AR so we could cross a destination off our bucket list.  We decided to hike to Glory Hole Falls, which is located in the Ozark National Forrest, or as I liked to call it,  backwoods Arkansas.  We arrived at the trail head an hour before the sun was going down.  I’ll do a more detailed post on the whole hike, but just know that it is pretty terrifying to be hiking up a super steep hill at dusk in the middle of the woods in Arkansas.  It was also totally worth it.

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Unfortunately all this pictures in the cave came out blurry.

Unfortunately all this pictures in the cave came out blurry.

The next day we stopped at the Cherokee Trading Post to see the buffalo.

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We  then spent the night in Texas while we decided what we were going to do next.  We decided to head up to Four Corners and stand in four states at once.

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We visited the Glen Canyon Dam.

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We arrived in Utah

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In Utah we visited a really cool cave on the side of the road.  I will do a full post on MoQui Cave soon, but for now, here is a picture of the outside.

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From there we visited Zion National Park.  We arrived at the park in the late afternoon so we decided to camp in the park and hike the next day.

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We arrived home on the ranch the next day.  Lacy headed back to Fresno and I got settled into my new room.

September also took us on a quick day trip to Santa Cruz to see Slim Cessna Auto Club at the Crepe Place and it also found me a seasonal job at the mall.

I look forward to all the adventures October had in store for us!

 

Driving Thru NYC

A couple of nights ago I had the very unfortunate experience of driving thru new York City.

I had not planned on driving thru the city and by no means ever in my life wanted to drive on the streets of New York City.  I was following my evil GPS instructions and it failed to tell me that I needed to be in the left lane when I went thru the tunnel, and well, I ended up exactly where I DIDN’T want to be.

Traffic stresses me out.  I was shaking and wanted to cry when I realized exactly where I was.

Here are a few pictures and a video to help illustrate just how I felt about the whole situation (sorry for the dirty windshield and the grainy cell phone pictures):

 

OH CRAP!  I'm in Time Square!

OH CRAP! I’m in Time Square!

Ooooo, look at the pretty lights.

Ooooo, look at the pretty lights.

This SUCKS! At least it's pretty.

This SUCKS! At least it’s pretty.

Hey, look at that, that's kinda cool!

Hey, look at that, that’s kinda cool!

This bus is obviously trying to take me out

This bus is obviously trying to take me out

 

 

Long Island Adventures

I had a four day break from my house sitting duties in Stony Brook and took a little adventure around Long Island.

Long Island isn’t really all that exciting, and there isn’t a whole lot to do.  It’s also very expensive to camp.  That’s okay.  I got creative in my camping and was able to entertain myself the whole time. I spent a couple of days exploring nature and then took advantage of the wonderful Sachem Public Library in Holbrook, NY.  The library also had a cute little park on it’s property for library goers to enjoy.

A couple of tips on getting around all those expensive park fees and camping fees:

– wait until after 4pm to enter a state park on Long Island OR enter before 8am.  Most only charge an entrance fee or parking fee between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm. This little trick saved me $28+ in entrance and parking fees.

-Park in the day parking or guest parking overnight if you have a vehicle that fits in a normal parking spot.  I came into one of the parks after hours and parked in the day parking lot and was able to sleep there no problem.  Saved me another $28 in campsite fees.

I also attempted to go to Long Beach Town Park, but when I arrived at the gate I was told that it was for Smithtown Residents only.  The guard did allow me to park and take a few pictures of the boats though.  At least I got to see that much.

I’m back at my house sitting assignment today.  It’s nice to shower and not have to come up with an itinerary for the day!

Now, I hope you enjoy these photos and this cheesy video of my Long Island adventures this week.

Hither Hills State Park

Hither Hills State Park

Hither Hills State Park

Hither Hills State Park

Cedar Point County Park

Cedar Point County Park

Montauk Point Lighthouse

Montauk Point Lighthouse

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Inside/Out Park at library

Inside/Out Park at library

Long Beach Town Park

Long Beach Town Park

 

 

10 on 10 – Canada

I know it’s past the 10th, but when you have limited internet access you get really flexible with when your posts are published.  All these pictures were taken on the 10th though.  They were taken on my drive from Fredericton, New Brunswick to Sheet Harbour, Nova Scotia.  Enjoy!

10:00 a.m. – My campsite from the night before in Fredericton.

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11:00 a.m. – Visitor CenterJuly2014 617

Noon – Stop at the ATM for some cashJuly2014 618

1:00 p.m. – Hopewell Rocks

I did not go in to see the rocks because it was $9.00 to see rocks and a high tide.  Nope, not gonna happen.July2014 623

2:00 p.m. – Scenic view from the roadJuly2014 624

3:00 p.m. – I’m in Nova Scotia! July2014 625

4:00 p.m. – Didn’t have time to stop to take a picture at 4, so here is a view from the visitor center in Nova Scotia. July2014 627

5:00 p.m. – Almost thereJuly2014 628

6:00 pm – I have arrived! July2014 629

7:00 p.m. – My room for the next couple of weeksJuly2014 630

Watkins Glen State Park, NY

Sunday I got to hike Watkins Glen State Park and cross it off my bucket list.  It was absolutely beautiful!

The park website describes the park better than I can: Watkins Glen State Park is the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks, with a reputation for leaving visitors spellbound. Within two miles, the glen’s stream descends 400 feet past 200-foot cliffs, generating 19 waterfalls along its course. The gorge path winds over and under waterfalls and through the spray of Cavern Cascade. Rim trails overlook the gorge.

And now for pictures!

Ready for my hike!

Ready for my hike!

This sign tells you that there are over 800 stone steps along the trail.  I think I walked up and/or down most all of them!

This sign tells you that there are over 800 stone steps along the trail. I think I walked up and/or down most all of them!

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Remember those 800 steps, here is the last flight I had to climb.  It was a long climb too!

Remember those 800 steps, here is the last flight I had to climb. It was a long climb too!

Back in the van and tired after all those steps!

Back in the van and tired after all those steps!

What happened in June?

Where did the month of June go?  What did I do in June?  Well, let’s see…

I had a house sit in Asheville, NC.  This housesit was broken up into two time periods; June 8 -16 and then again from June 24 – July 3.  I took care of two sweet little cats, Dali (pronounced “Dolly”) and June.  This sit was supposed to last until the 8th, but as I have learned from living this life of travel, things change and you have to be flexible.

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The House

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Dali

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June

While in Asheville, my friend Alex came to visit.  He was on a cross country drive from Virgina Beach, VA to San Diego, CA.  By the time this post is published he should be in California.  It was great to see an old friend and share travel stories.

Me & Alex in Asheville, NC

Me & Alex in Asheville, NC

Another notable thing I found in Asheville was this super fun entrance to the park in my neighborhood:

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On my week off from house sitting in Asheville I went on an adventure.  I camped next to this Lake:

NCAdventureWeek 017It was beautiful, but it was REALLY hot that day and sleeping in the van was not pleasant.  Also, directly to the right in this picture, just right out of frame, is a large man with no shirt on in a canoe fishing.  Another not so beautiful thing at this campground was the restroom.  It was gross, I will leave it at that.

I also visited the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, NC.

NCAdventureWeek 022 NCAdventureWeek 061It was another HOT North Carolina day, but the zoo was amazing!  I was there for work, but had plenty of time to play and see the exhibits.

“Approximately 500 acres of this property have been developed into one of the largest “natural habitat” zoos in the United States.  You won’t find cages made of steel and concrete here.  Our animals are given enclosures that mimic their natural habitats to include trees, ponds, rocks, grass and dirt. ” -taken from the NC Zoo website

I also visited Fayetteville, NC and then headed up to see my friend Angela in Vienna, VA.  After that I headed to Shenandoah National Park to camp for two nights.  This is most of what I saw during my time in the park:

NCAdventureWeek 105Yep, not too impressive.  The first day I was there, this was the view from every turnout.  Even the second day, when things seemed a lot clearer, my pictures still turned out grey and gloomy.  I may not have many pictures to show for it (okay, I kinda do), but the experience of driving thru the park was awesome.  There were bunnies and deer everywhere.  I think I’ll be doing a separate post just on Shenandoah.  Keep an eye on the blog for that post later this week (possibly tomorrow).  Here are a few more pictures from the park for now:

Better views on day two

Better views on day two

Bunny in my camp

Bunny in my camp

My campsite i

My campsite

A deer jumped into my camp.

A deer jumped into my camp.

The view of the campground out my back window.

The view of the campground out my back window.

After Shenandoah National Park I drove thru the Blue Ridge Parkway and camped there for a night before heading back to Asheville.  It was a beautiful and relaxing drive and my campground that night was pretty and peaceful.  It was interesting because it was pretty much in someones back yard and the only other guests were a biker and an old lady from Minnesota that was sleeping in her car.

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View from the Blue Ridge Parkway

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View from one of the visitor centers along the parkway.

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Collection of buildings representing mountain farms of the nineteenth century

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The Ramblin’ Van on the Parkway

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Campsite off the Blue Ridge Parkway

I’ll be leaving Asheville in a few days and already have lots of plans for what’s next.  I plan to spend the 4th of July in Philadelphia with friends and then head up to my next house sit in Nova Scotia!  I’m excited for that one.  I will be crossing four more states off my list of places to visit and Nova Scotia off my bucket list.  After Nova Scotia I will be headed to Stony Brook, NY for another house sit and then Muddy Roots at the end of the summer.  The next few months are going to be full of adventure!  I can’t wait to share it all with you!

 

Presque Isle State Park

I woke up feeling a little lost this morning.  I was in Erie, PA and had no plans for the day.  After sitting in a parking lot for awhile looking at Google Maps trying to decide where to go, I settled on Presque Isle State Park.  I mean, You can’t go to Erie, PA without seeing Lake Erie, right? I would be totally lame if I did that.  I made my way to the park and stepped out of the van and heard nothing but bird chirping in the trees.  It was exactly what I needed.  This is why I am traveling.  Seeing places like this is what it is all about.  It may get a little lonely at times, but I wouldn’t miss this for anything.

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Traveling Solo

Monday I officially started traveling by myself.  It was the first day that I didn’t have anyone in the van with me and I wasn’t on the way to meet anyone.  It was a rough day.  I was excited when I first set out that morning, but I didn’t have a destination or a plan and as the day wore on I started to miss traveling with Lacy.  It hit me hard while I was grocery shopping in Walmart.  I know it seems like a silly place to get all emotional, but it reminded me of all the silly things Lacy and I did to keep ourselves entertained and kill time before bed time when we camped out in the parking lots.

Monday was also the first day I had to sleep in the van by myself in a random place.  I ended up staying at a the noisiest truck stop in the world that night and only slept 5 hours.  The next day was much better.  I had jobs lined up for the day and a destination of Erie, PA to end up at.  I traveled and did some work and sightseeing and ended up at a nice comfy hotel at the end of the day.

Today I woke up with a lost feeling again.  I had another day to fill before I had anywhere I needed to be and only one job to do that wouldn’t take that long.  I had no idea where to go or what to do.  I kind of wandered the town for an hour before I decided to check out Presque Isle State Park (Check out that post HERE).  Going to that park was the best decision I could have made.  It made me realize that I’m really where I want to be.  There are going to be days where it is lonely, but in the long run the travel is really worth it.  I took the chance and bought a ticket for the Muddy Roots Spring Weekender (the post recapping that is HERE) at the beginning of the year.  I knew I would most likely be going by myself, but I ended up finding someone to ride up there with me and met a bunch of new people while I was there.  Everything works out in the end and unless you take chances in life, you never really get to experience it.  The lonely days are few and far between but the experiences I am taking away from traveling will be with me forever.

 

 

Travel Journal – From California to Florida

Day 1 – Friant, CA to San Marcos, CA – I had an emotional start to the day.  I actually broke down and cried at one point.  I was in the backroom fixing my hair and noticed a binder with my aunts name on it.  It turned out to be a memorial binder for her filled with pictures and letters written about her.  That combined with the emotions of leaving home hit me hard.  I locked myself in the bathroom until I got it together.  I was fine after that for the rest of the day.  I had a few more twinges of sadness for leaving, but overall, I was happy to be venturing off into something new.

We didn’t even make it off the road my house is on before we came upon a bad accident.  We got around that and made a couple of quick stops in town and then were off.  We were almost sideswiped by someone checking his phone on the 99, and hit bad traffic near LA (of course), but other than that it was a pretty uneventful drive.  Granny told me about her mother and father and how she had to start working when she was 14 and the different jobs that she had.  It was interesting learning about family I didn’t know much about.  We made it to San Marco, CA to spend the night with family.  We went out to dinner and enjoyed our time with family.

Day 2 – San Marcos, CA to Tucson, AZ – I slept horribly last night. We were up early again to take Reagan (my 8 year old cousin) to school & then were of to Yuma to see more family.  When we dropped Reagan off at school, she asked granny, “will I ever see you again?” I didn’t hear it, but granny told me about it and it about made her cry.

We stopped in Yuma to visit my cousin and meet her new twin sons, Liam & Lane.  What cutie pies!!  It was great to meet the boys and visit with the rest of the family.  I wish we could have stayed longer, but we needed to cover more ground today than San Marcos to Yuma (it’s only a 3 hour drive between the two).  After our visit we stopped at Cracker Barrel for dinner (the first Cracker Barrel of the trip and unfortunately it wasn’t very good) and then headed out to Tucson.  We checked into a Super 8 and plan to sleep in tomorrow.  If we drive 8.25 hours a day from here on out, we will be in Florida by Saturday!

Day 3 – Tucson, AZ to Fort Stockton, TX – Today has been mostly all driving, not too much excitement.  We did stop at a roadside attraction to see The Thing in Arizona.  It is a gas station, gift shop, and museum.  It is only a dollar to go in the museum and see The Thing.  There is three buildings filled with antiques and artwork and the mysterious Thing.  I’m not going to tell you what it is.  I’ve waited all these years to find out for myself what it is, and I am going to make everyone else do the same.  It’s worth the buck.

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Granny discovered James Hunnicutt’s music today and fell in love.  It was awesome to listen to her sing along with the songs and giggle with delight when one of his Christmas songs came on.  Looks like I will be ordering her some CD’s soon. UPDATE – I let James know how much Granny loved his music and James, being the stand up guy he is, said he wanted to send her a care package.  What a sweet gesture.  If you haven’t listened to James Hunnicutt sing, please go to his website and check him out at jameshunnicutt.com

We are at a Super 8 again tonight (a MUCH nicer one than last night), in a small little Texas town.  I still need to map out the rest of our trip, but we hope to be in Florida by Saturday and are going to stop and see my Great Uncle for a few days before taking Granny to Clearwater.

Day 4 – Fort Stockton, TX to Brookshire, TX – We were up early to have breakfast at the hotel and need to drive 464 miles a day to reach our destination of Ocala, FL by Saturday.  We put in our 464 miles today and ended up in Brookshire.  Our plans to stop in Ocala have changed and we will be going straight to Clearwater now.  I’ve been tired all day today so we made it an early night and had dinner and checked into a hotel by 7:30pm.  I’m excited because I can read my book and hit the fitness center too.  I need it after being in the car for the bast 4 days!

Day 5 – Brookshire, TX to Moss Point, MS – I think I am going crazy.  It’s been a looooooong day.  My grandmother is starting to drive me batty.  We have the same conversation over and over again and it is filled with so much negativity I think my head will explode.  Eh, what are you going to do?  Family, can’t live with them, can’t toss them out of the car on the I-10!  Tomorrow we are making it a short day and only driving 4 hours and then will be in Clearwater, FL on Sunday by noonish.  I can’t wait!  We covered a lot of ground today, unfortunately  some of it was  at 5mph, but we got thru it all.   We started in Texas, went thru Louisiana and ended in Mississippi.  I love this part of the country!

Day 6 – Moss Point, MS to Monticello, FL – Today was a short driving day.  We went thru Alabama (which I absolutely loved) and are part way into Florida.  We stopped at the Florida Welcome center and took some pictures and stopped again to eat at Ruby Tuesday’s.  We are now in the hotel eating Subway sandwiches and I have made a new friend with the desk clerk, who happens to be from East LA.

Day 7 – Monticello FL to Pinellas Park, FL – We made it!  Granny is now all settled with my Aunt and  I am off to stay in Crystal Beach with my Uncle for a few days and then I’ll be headed down to Naples!

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I will be posting more Florida adventures soon!  My uncle will be taking the boat back from Crystal Beach to Naples and that will take him 2 days.  I will be in my van and it will only take me 4 hours, so I have to stretch that 4 hours into 2 days or be stuck in Naples with nowhere to go.  I’m excited to spend some time camping along the Florida coast!