Words for Wednesday: More Kicks


If you ever plan to motor west,

Travel my way, take the highway that is best.

Get your kicks on Route Sixty-Six. 

(Lyrics to Get Your Kicks on Route 66 by Bobby Troup)

The second time proved to be just as relaxing and entertaining as the first.

When Papa and I journeyed to Arizona for the first time two years ago, we flew into Las Vegas, Nevada where our southwestern family members picked us up and drove us south to their home.

The rest of our time spent sightseeing we traveled by car (road trips are the best in my book!) and one day we enjoyed a scenic drive on old Route 66 to Oatman.

Just a couple of months ago on our second trip to Arizona, we flew into Phoenix, secured a rental car, and explored parts of the state on road trips. Yesterday, I posted about our leisurely and pleasant drive on old Route 66 again, only this time from Williams to Kingman.

Today I’m sharing some of my photos of the stops we made and sights we viewed along the way when we were getting our kicks on Route 66.




“The freedom of the open road is seductive, serendipitous and absolutely liberating.” ~ Aaron Lauritsen

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com


Give me a road trip any day

blogIMG_1126Now that we’re opening up a bit and not sheltering in place by staying at home, I’m looking forward to more road trips in the near future. I used to love to fly, but in the last few years, I enjoy it less and less.

Obviously, you can get from point A to point B much more quickly by boarding a jet but for me, there’s just something way more enjoyable about packing up the car and setting out for destinations by highway and byway. You can view the most interesting sights and stop whenever and wherever you choose and I enjoy that so much more.

Maybe it’s because when I was young, my father used to take my mother and me on Sunday afternoon drives and I have such fond memories of that. Or maybe it’s just that I like the peaceful, quiet aspect of a car trip consisting of just hubby and me and an open road when we can pick and choose where to go, how far to go, and where we want to stop and check out the scenery.

Back in early March before the stay at home mandates were issued, which seems like an eternity ago, Papa and I flew to Arizona to visit family. Upon arrival at the Phoenix airport, we picked up a rental car and hit the road northward for our Grand Canyon visit.

The day we left the southern rim of the Grand Canyon, rain poured from the overcast, foggy sky. We headed south to Williams, AZ where we could catch an intersecting highway traveling west. But instead of entering the interstate in Williams, we opted to drive westward on old Route 66.

blogIMG_1117With each mile on this less traveled two-lane byway, we encountered blue skies, sunshine, and warmer temperatures. Just what we needed! As an added bonus, Burma Shave signs along the road kept us amused.

blogBurmaShaveWhat a fantastic way to spend the day it proved to be! As we traveled along, enjoying beautifully different scenery and stopping in quirky and interesting little towns, I couldn’t help but remember an old song, Get Your Kicks on Route 66, written in 1946 by musician Bobby Troup. (Click on his name to watch/hear him perform the song.)

We surely did “get our kicks” traveling this mostly empty stretch of pavement. And eventually, my mind rolled back to an early 60’s television show, entitled Route 66, which I recall watching with my dad.

That show may have appealed to Dad, who enjoyed driving and traveling by car, because two characters, played by Martin Milner and George Maharis, wandered across the United States driving a Chevrolet Corvette along Route 66. Imagine my surprise as Papa and I were traveling on this remaining section of the old, historic highway when we saw a number of Corvettes coming towards us. Serendipity!

blogIMG_1175The original Route 66 highway extended from Chicago to Los Angeles, passing through America’s heartland (an area you pass OVER when you’re flying). We stayed on Route 66, which first opened in 1926 and was decommissioned by the 1980’s when newer, larger highways took its place, all the way into Kingman, AZ.

The trip proved refreshing and fun and we delighted in every mile of the way.

blogIMG_1136“Look for chances to take the less-traveled roads. There are no wrong turns.” — Susan Magsamen

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Words for Wednesday: Stepping stone to better things


The Grand Canyon was out there…somewhere

Whoever said “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” was right on the money.

Our first day on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park back in the early part of March began as a huge disappointment and I wrote about that in yesterday’s post. If you missed it, click here.

That amazing wonder of nature was socked in under thick pea soup-like fog. Fog so dense we couldn’t see one tiny bit of the canyon. This huge, mile-deep, 277 mile-long wonder of the world was out there covered in fog and we absolutely couldn’t get one glimpse of it.

Disappointing? Very. Discouraging. For certain. 

In addition to foggy conditions, the day was dreary, rainy, damp, and chilly, so we discussed what we should do. We took some time to eat a late lunch in the Market Plaza area of the park at the Yavapai Cafeteria, sitting well away from other folks there. We opted for a window view but all we could see was rain hitting the windows. 

Since the weather was definitely not improving, we decided not to try any hikes but instead continue on in our rental car, hoping for some break in the rain.  Driving down Desert View Drive,  a scenic road which leads from Grand Canyon Village to one end of the national park, we planned to stop at several overlook points along the way.

At each overlook,  we hopped out of our car, hoping to catch a glimpse of what we came to see. And at each point, we were dismayed by more misty weather and fog.  A few hardy souls were doing the same and as we reached the lookout, it was almost like you could hear a collective sigh and an inward groan. 

After greeting us hello, one gentleman shook his head and exclaimed, “My wife and I came all the way from San Antonio to see this and we can’t see anything!” I gave him a sympathy nod but decided not to one-up him with “Well, we came all the way from Pennsylvania!”  I surmised it wouldn’t make either one of us feel any better about the situation.

After the third or fourth still foggy stop, Papa walked in one direction and I ambled along in another. My path crossed with a long-haired woman about my age dressed in a bright red sweater. We nodded and said hello to one another and then she spoke, “Not much to see here I guess.”

“No,” I replied, “and unfortunately, it’s been that way all day for us.”

She asked which direction we came from and I answered. Then she advised me to not give up but keep on going. She had come from the other direction and for one brief moment, she said the fog lifted and the sun shone so that she could see the colors of the gargantuan gorge, but then it descended once again.

But she looked me in the eye and stated, “I know you are going to get a break. You (said with emphasis) will see the canyon today. The sun will come out just for you (again said with emphasis).”

A little bit startled by her announcement, I think I just mumbled, “I hope you’re right.” Was she clairvoyant or something? Why did she declare what she said with such conviction? We said goodbye and Papa and I climbed back in our rental car. 

And you know what happened? When we stopped at the next spot, a number of folks were congregated. The fog was edging its way up out of the canyon!

blogIMG_09512Papa and I ran to the edge to see and for me to grab some photos. A gentleman asked me to take photos of his wife and him with his cell phone posed in front of what we could see of the canyon. In turn, he graciously took a picture for us.

blogIMG_09542Driving on, we got an even more pleasant surprise at the next overlook. The fog completely dissipated and the sun showed its warming, illuminating rays.  What a display!

blogIMG_1007We stayed for quite some time and I just kept snapping photos with my DSLR camera until we noticed we were practically the only people still there. We just didn’t want to leave that glorious sight.

A father and son duo joined us and again we exchanged cameras to take photos of one another. As the four of us stood in absolute silence just gazing at the beautiful and amazing sight before us, the older man spoke with a sense of awe and wonder.

“How can anyone see this and believe there is no God?” he wondered out loud. I said, “I so agree.”

blogIMG_1008It was a moment I will remember for a lifetime because it reminded me of the awesome power of our Creator God and also of His perfect timing.

Just when we start to feel discouraged and are tempted to throw in the towel and give up, God delivers exactly what we need exactly when we need it.

“What do you do when disappointment comes? When it weighs on you like a rock, you can either let it press you down until you become discouraged, even devastated, or you can use it as a stepping-stone to better things.” ~ Joyce Meyer

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com


When travel plans go awry

blogIMG_0891It’s been on our “bucket list” of places to see for years now.

The last time (two years ago) that we ventured into the state where this spectacular place to visit is located, we had to cancel our plans and reservations due to a health problem Papa encountered prior to our departure.

Disappointing? Yes, it was. But we were relieved when Papa’s situation rectified itself and we managed to still fly to our destination even though we couldn’t visit that particular place.

The place? The Grand Canyon in Arizona. Two years ago, we didn’t get to see it, but we still experienced a grand old time in the Grand Canyon state. We spent all of our trip instead with my sister and brother-in-law in their home and sightseeing all the attractions in their part of that southwestern state.

Fast forward two years – March 2020. Once again we had made flight, hotel, and car rental reservations for a trip to Arizona. By golly, this time we were going to see the Grand Canyon prior to a visit with our Arizona family. Then news about covid-19 permeating our country erupted but we decided to keep our plans intact.

We flew into Phoenix one evening in early March, picked up our rental car, and drove to our hotel in Flagstaff in the dark. The next morning we planned to drive to the south rim of Grand Canyon National Park and view this amazing place in nature.

blogIMG_0893Hmmm…one problem arose. When we awakened that morning, overcast, rainy skies greeted us and fog. Nevertheless, we hopped into our rental car and began our journey. The further we drove, the more it rained and the foggier it became.

One highlight as we entered the national park was spotting female elk along the road just eating and minding their own business instead of paying any attention to the long string of vehicles driving into the area.

blogIMG_0896We drove to the park visitor center, found an empty slot in the parking lot, and since it was raining pretty steadily, we decided to go indoors where we watched an excellent film about this natural wonder.

Raindrops still falling our heads after we exited the visitor center, but we were excited to finally view what we planned for so long. So we decided to walk in the rain along a pathway to the Mather Point lookout.

What did we see? Not the Grand Canyon. Well, we were sure it was out there…somewhere. But it was completely, and I do mean completely, fogged in.

blogIMG_0906I took photos even though we couldn’t see a darn thing. I kept saying, “Well, there’s the Grand Canyon…we just can’t see it.”

Disappointed? Yes. We certainly were. Our thoughts were running along the lines of “Maybe we just aren’t supposed to see this natural and amazing wonder.”

But…tune in tomorrow to see what happened next.

 “Don’t let today’s disappointments cast a shadow on tomorrow’s dreams.” ~ Unknown 

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Words for Wednesday: desert adventure


My brother-in-law leading us on an adventure


That view!



Arizona sunshine and beauty

“A man practices the art of adventure when he breaks the chain of routine and renews his life through reading new books, traveling to new places, making new friends, taking up new hobbies, and adopting new viewpoints.”  ~ Wilferd Peterson

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com



blogIMG_2984I’m not much of a cruiser.

The Papa in this empty nest has been expressing a desire to go on an ocean cruise for years. He just can’t convince this Mama to go.

It’s not that I don’t like the ocean. I do. I love sitting beach-side in the warm sand, sun kissing my face, the sound of waves crashing ashore, and the smell of salted sea water in the air. And I could sit for hours on a craggy shoreline enjoying cool ocean breezes.

There’s something mesmerizing about being by the sea.

But the thoughts of boarding a cruise ship and setting sail for the depths of that same ocean for several days causes me to hyperventilate.

Regardless of that trepidation, I’m not averse to taking short day cruises. And we’ve experienced plenty.

Ferries from Seattle across Puget Sound; across Delaware Bay from Cape May, New Jersey to Lewes, Delaware; and from lower Manhattan to Liberty Island and Ellis Island in New York City.

Riverboat rides on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers.  A sightseeing cruise in Boston Harbor.  And once even out into the Pacific Ocean on a whale watching cruise off the coast of Oregon.

So I can enjoy a good day cruise and that’s what we did on our trip to Arizona. We experienced two river trips in Lake Havasu City. One was just a short ferry ride northward and across Lake Havasu, a 45-mile long body of water created by Parker Dam on the Colorado River, to the California side to enjoy a good dinner and back to Lake Havasu City.

But the other water trip we took was more scenic and quite the journey. We boarded a jet boat for a two and a half hour guided tour cruise up the Colorado to Topock Gorge, 25 miles away from Lake Havasu City.

blogIMG_3613We opted for the last afternoon cruise, boarding the jet boat at the London Bridge and returned there just as activity was winding down in that tourist area. While on the tour, we learned fascinating information about how the London Bridge came to the Arizona desert. If you missed that post, click here to read about it. 

The scenery on the tour was breathtaking and I kept hopping up and down from my seat to snap photos, finally succumbing to the lure of standing outside (it was a bit chilly for Arizona) on the boat deck to continue clicking away with my camera. For most of my deck-side stay I was alone. It almost made me feel like an explorer or an adventurer of sorts.

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We definitely would recommend the boat tour to anyone venturing to this area. It was well-worth the time and money spent, although not all the folks seemed to enjoy the trip. Two of the other passengers were teen-aged boys who appeared to be with grandparents.

When we purchased our tickets, we paid extra cash to get front row seats onboard and noticed the grandfather did the same for the four of them.  The boys’ attitude prior to leaving demonstrated their disinterest entirely. They seemed most unhappy to even be there. And once we boarded the boat and began the journey, they both fell asleep and stayed that way for practically the entire cruise.

Attitude. It’s something that can make you or break you and it affects the people around you as well. Those teen boys appeared bored beyond words and one could tell from their attitude that they were not appreciative of the time with their grandparents, at least on this excursion.

I found myself wanting to bop them on the head and admonish them by saying, “Wake up!  Enjoy the scenery and especially this boat ride with your grandparents because you won’t get this time back.”

Of course, I speak from an older person’s perspective. And if I had knocked them upside the head and spoken to them with a condescending tone, that would demonstrate a not-so-nice attitude on my part.

Instead I snapped a photo of the backs of their heads to remind myself that attitude makes a big difference in how you live each day, especially when traveling. I’d much rather have an attitude for adventure than one causing an ordeal. But perhaps that’s a lesson that comes with age?

Now if I could just figure out how to avoid an ordeal (my reluctance to board an ocean cruise ship), I’d surely give Papa the adventure he craves.

“Attitude is the difference between ordeal and adventure.” ~ Robert Lipkin

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com