Monday, May 18, 2009

Part Deux or is it duex? The french - you gotta love 'em!

Well, let's see, where did we leave off - ahhh, that's right the morning of Day 3 of the... EPIC ADVENTURES OF SAM AND SARAH (imagine this being said with a loud booming voice with reverberations whenever I say that - it's what I always hear! It sounds much cooler!)

So anyway, we drove through the river up onto the land with cliffs 300 feet high and come out to a clearing of lush green grass, old stone/wood cabins and pavilions scattered throughout the campground, and over to the right, there is a river that runs right through the camp and it's the most intense and beautiful blue you have ever seen! It was about 8am and so there weren't too many people milling around, but we drove up to the main lodge, which was just gorgeous, there was a wrap around patio around the entire building. All wooden beams and windows all across the back that looked over this magnificent river - talk about a beautiful wedding spot!!! (PS. Nicole, I will rustle up some photos as soon as I can get them off of Sam's computer!) Anyway, we saw some people and so we stopped to find out where everyone was, and we were informed that everyone was still sleeping. So we were going to head back to the town 14 miles away to get gas and pray that we made it, when we saw Katie Schrank. This is TW's fiance whom we have never met, but we just knew it was her. Turns out she was up early writing her vows! So we walked down to the water's edge to visit with her for a couple of minutes and meet her! She's just great - perfect for Tdub and just a ray of sunshine! So as we were heading back out of the camp, praying that our gas gage would hang in there, what to our wandering eyes did we see - but a little Tdub writing his vows down by the water a little further down stream! Sam and T haven't seen each other since our own wedding three and a half years ago - so it was a sweet reunion! Don't you just love good friends. Even the ones you haven't seen in forever?! I love how you get to reconnect! God is so good that way!

Well, I won't drone on, our trip does get much more exciting, but for now, I'll update you on the wedding festivities - we did get to town and get gas before we completely ker-plunked out. It was a cute little town called Leakey - pronounced Lay-key. I'm not sure if that's the right pronunciation, or if it's just the Texan pronunciation. Either way, I guess that makes it "right", right?! So we headed back and spent the day Friday getting all the last minute decorations taken care of. It was only like 90 degrees and sweltering hot. I think Sam only took about 6 swims that day! We were at the other camp decorating for the rehearsal dinner when we decided we couldn't take the heat - we'd brought our bathing suits over, but they were in the car somewhere else collecting wild flowers, so we decided to go in our clothes!!! It was heavenly! So all that to say - beautiful couple, beautiful wedding, beautiful reception, and an all around beautiful time!!!!

This brings us to early Sunday morning when we head out West for the rest of our Epic Adventure! We said our goodbyes and jumped in the car and left the little oasis from Heaven to go towards El Paso (which, I won't go into huge details, but let's just say it's about opposite of where we'd spent the last two days!) West Texas goes on and on and on. I don't know if you realize this or not but the speed limit in ND is 75 and that's because there isn't anything here and the road is straight, straight, straight.... It's not uncommon to look down and realize you are going about 85 and it finally feels like you aren't crawling... So needless to say, cruise control is a must! All that to say - the speed limit in West Texas is 80. Enough said. Nothingness. Moving on to New Mexico - everything changes, the terrain becomes interesting with mountains popping up here and there, the architecture turns more bright pink, adobe-like. A lot more interesting to say the least! We did pass a dairy farm that was just awful, it was about 95 degrees and there were these poor starved pitiful looking cows packed into these corrals - no grass anywhere to be seen and it went on for miles. Immediately I was feeling a bit of a repulsion to anything remotely regarding dairy in that particular part of the country. If I were a cow living there - seriously, I think I'd rather take my chances living in the wild!!! Ugh! Anyway, we went on through NM without too much excitement.

Then came Arizona....

I've been waiting for this part of our post. It's one of the highlights fo' sho'! Where do I begin with Arizona?! Well, first of all, let me say that Sam found a great deal on Travelzoo for a 4 star hotel, so reluctantly he booked it. But not before he asked several times if he could cancel in case we couldn't make it in time because we were going to be traveling there from San Antonio area... The fella assured him, that yes indeed, he could cancel. Well, then the hotel turned out to be a little more expensive, and we just weren't sure... but alas we could cancel.... So as we were traveling through and thinking more about it, we decided to cancel and find something cheaper or else just continue our camping adventure. After all, we are on a budget and a rustic adventure! So we stopped somewhere in NM and called and said we didn't think we'd make it in time. Probably getting into Scottsdale somewhere around 1 or 2 am, is it really worth it? So we wanted to cancel. Well, the wonderful people told Sam that he couldn't cancel within 7 days of the reservation - HELLO - we just made the reservation the day before! He politely discussed the situation over and over with the people and their managers and there was no way we could get out of it! Needless to say, we weren't very happy, but now the race was on to get to this hotel. With that being said, we pulled into Arizona about 5pm and we were checking the map, getting our directions, and we saw a Saguaro National Park right off the Interstate. Sam is pretty stoked to see some saguaro cacti and even more stoked to get off the beaten path. There was a little tiny gray line that lead north, north, north west. So we would totally miss Tucson. I wasn't really so sure about it. Because I looked at the map key and a tiny little gray line meant "unpaved road." So I thought maybe we should stay on the interstate for a little longer and take this other alternate route. But Sam said this may be the only way we get to see these saguaro's. And hey, I'm always up for an adventure, right?! Still.... Anyway, he said that if there was a gas station at the turn off, we'd keep going, but if there wasn't one, we'd get back on the interstate. Ok, I'm always game for putting out fleeces! Well, we turned off and there was no gas station, BUT there were a bunch of people going that way - so it couldn't be that bad, right? (Should have been the first clue - God does actually answer fleeces!) We continued on the paved, not gravel road and guess what - we saw actual roadrunners! I was so excited!!! I've never seen a roadrunner before!! That was about the coolest thing! Then the paved turned more into gravel but the Saguaro's started popping up everywhere, it's like we were in our very own personal wilderness! (Should have been Clue #2!) Incredible! Well, the sun goes down around 9:15 there and we are getting close to dark and we saw a sign - Whatever town it was = 17 miles. I looked at the map and the town was the first one listed on our little gray line. And it wasn't even halfway down the road. Well, the sun went down. There weren't any lights out there - definitely the middle of no where. We kept driving, waiting for this town. Turns out the town was a ranch. We kept driving. And driving. And driving. It's really dark out. There was a sign up ahead, you want to know what it said? It said something to the effect that the next 6 miles is all private road and not that well maintained, continuing to drive on it is at your own risk (Clue #3). Next came washboard gravel road. The kind that drives you to distraction and makes you go crazy and you just want to make it stop! But it won't! At times like these you just think of the great adventure you are on and all the happy memories you are making! Did you hear that? It sounds like a flat tire! (Take back what I just said about happy memories and great adventure!) Just kidding! Another great addition to the EPIC ADVENTURES OF SAM AND SARAH! So we changed the tire and put our doughnut and continued our final 20 miles out of the wilderness in the pitch black dark to a little town to get in the right direction of Phoenix.

We're about at 11pm now and a couple hours out from Scottsdale and planning on traveling the doughnut the whole way up since we'd be spending the day in Scottsdale looking at galleries, we could hopefully get it fixed... So we are meandering north, trying not to travel to fast despite the late hour and our weariness trying to take over. We pulled out the computer and thought we'd take our minds off the not so ideal situation and watch a little "I Love Lucy." Meanwhile, Sam told me to close the computer because he was probably about to get picked up by a cop. So immediately I started rustling through the glove compartment box looking for a the necessary paperwork and frankly a bit confused, because there is no way that Sam could be speeding on a doughnut! So the cop comes to our window and says that we have a tail light out. Is that all? Oh well, so he asked for Sam's license and all the other goodies I'd already collected and he took it back to the car. A few more minutes, he came up and asked Sam to step out of the car and come back, that he needed to talk to him. What?! So I'm sitting there, and sitting there. Another police pulled up. It's getting later. Then the other policeman came up to the driver side door and said, "Ma'am, your husband's license is suspended and I need to do a check on yours to make sure you can drive." Well, hello, you could have knocked me over with a feather?! Sam hasn't had a ticket in a couple of years now, except one a couple weeks ago that I know I paid and it just went through. How in the world does he have a suspended license all of a sudden? WHAT?!? This is insane. Meanwhile, the other cop is in the back questioning Sam if he's got guns in the car? drugs in the car? picked up any illegal immigrants at Yuma? Sam was trying to explain to him our last great adventure and show him that we have a doughnut on our car... It's a good thing they didn't want to search our car - it was a mess, and we probably would have been there all night trying to repack our little "home"! Finally he says, "I could haul you off to jail and tow your van right now. But I'm not. And I'm not going to give you a ticket for the light because you have bigger problems right now." Thank you, oh kind sir. Then out of the blue, he asked us both if we'd been drinking. Ummm.... no, I don't think so. At that point Sam was a little fed up with our whole adventure and was getting ready to say something about his wife being 5 months pregnant, but thought otherwise, which was probably a pretty wise choice! The other policeman was so nice and apologetic the whole time and told the younger guy, I don't think so, they've just been driving for the last 14 hours. So then the younger cop pipes in, well, you better stop driving when you get tired, we don't want any accidents.... Duh. Anyway, we got in the car and tootled away on our doughnut. The next few hours were spent in quiet reverence. Not sure when Sam was going to blow, I didn't know what to do - so we kept driving....and driving....

Well, I don't want to completely bore you to death, so I'll leave the rest until tomorrow. So make sure to tune in later for more EPIC ADVENTURES OF SAM AND SARAH! including the real reason for the suspension, the fixing of the tire, and finally, visits to the National Parks!

Until next time from the Tundra!

PS. You'll notice that the header picture on my blog is spring like - completely making you believe that it's not quite as Tundra-like as I make it out to be - but seriously, do you really want to see a picture of the stark winter of the Tundra - that would be so boring!!!!

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