Now that Dennis is retired and Myra (Myj) is nearly so, we have time to explore new places and meet new people. And at journey's end, we also love coming home to family and friends in Oregon. "A journey is best measured in friends, not miles."
  • Day8

    On the Santa Fe Trail

    September 14, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 72 °F

    Because it was late afternoon when we left Acoma, we opted to stop in Albuquerque for dinner. So it was almost 9 pm when we arrived at our hotel in Santa Fe. The Old Santa Fe Inn is so close to everything we wanted to see, we just parked the car and walked everywhere.

  • Day6

    Old New Mexico

    September 12, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 81 °F

    From Winslow, we galloped to Gallup, NM for a quick lunch stop. Our goal was to reach the Acoma Sky City on our way to Sants Fe. We made it in time for the last tour of the day. Acoma pueblo is the oldest continuously inhabited community in North America. Native Americans have lived in Sky City since 1150 AD. We were able to tour the ancient Pueblo dwellings stop the Mesa, the mission church, and talk with Native artists who carry on traditional pottery making. Myj and Cheri made a few purchases.
    We stopped for gas and dinner in Albuquerque, then drove on in the dark to Santa Fe. The major driving part of our road trip is at an end. We've covered over 700 miles. Now we will settle in and explore Santa Fe for a few days.
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  • Day5

    Grand Canyon Suite

    September 11, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 75 °F

    We arrived at our hotel in Tusayan, AZ mid afternoon Tuesday. After checking in, we drove into Grand Canyon National Park, left the car in a lot and took the shuttle to Hermit's Rest. The rustic cabin at Hermit's Rest was the first of several Mary Colter designed buildings we visited on our trip.
    The shuttle runs along the rim, so we had an outstanding view of the canyon. Myj had visited as a child, but this was Dennis' and the Rice's first visit. Photos barely capture the beauty and massive scale of the canyon. We got off the shuttle bus at Powell Point and made the short hike to Hopi Point. Myj and Tom were able to keep their acrophobia in check. A lot of people had gathered at Hopi Point to watch the sunset, but the crowd was amazingly quiet. It really was an incredible experience to watch the sunset here.
    The next morning, we returned to the Park. We explored the Bright Angel Lodge, the Lookout, Hopi House and El Tovar Hotel. All of these buildings were designed by Mary Colter; each is unique. She incorporated local materials and Native designs and architectural features in each. Lunch was in the formal dining room at El Tovar and it was delicious.
    We took the shuttle to Kaibob Point to see more of the rim views, checked out the exhibits at the visitor center, then it was time to continue on our journey.
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  • Day5

    Such a Fine Sight to See

    September 11, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 81 °F

    We left the Grand Canyon mid-afternoon to continue on, destination Winslow, AZ. Many recognize Winslow from the Eagles song "Take it Easy." We stayed at the La Posada Hotel, which some consider Mary Colter's masterpiece design. The La Posada was on the Santa Fe railroad line, and many famous people stayed there. As many as 90 trains a day pass by: Dennis enjoyed sitting in the garden on the evening watching the freight trains. Sadly, the hotel was almost destroyed when the railroad company no longer found it useful, but was saved by an entrepreneur and his artist wife. They have been restoring it to its former glory. The hotel is beautiful, modeled on Spanish Hacienda.Read more

  • Day4

    Getting Our Kicks on Route 66

    September 10, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 66 °F

    After dodging a few random early morning thundershowers on our way to breakfast at Creekside Grill (chilaquiles- yum!), we visited the Chapel of the Holy Cross. The chapel is built into the cliffs of Sedona, with beautiful panoramic views of the canyon.
    Leaving Sedona, we drove through narrow Oak Creek Canyon and on toward our destination for the day, the Grand Canyon . We stopped in Williams at the Cruizers. Route 66 diner for lunch. The historic 66 route through Williams must have been the inspiration for Disney's Cars movie. There are lots of old buildings, neon signs and fun souvenir shops.Read more

  • Day3

    Life is a Highway

    September 9, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 79 °F

    We altered our planned itinerary and decided to head north on Monday instead of Tuesday. We dropped off the Range Rover and picked up a minivan: not as fancy, but much roomier. Launching Myj's curated playlist, we headed for Sedona. As we left the Phoenix area, there were many Suguaro cacti in the hills along the highway. It was fun to check out all of the unique configurations of the arms, giving each cactus a personality!
    As the elevation changed, we left the sandy desert behind and began to see more of the red rock. Sedona is surrounded by spectacular red rock formations.
    It's much cooler here than Phoenix. We strolled through uptown Sedona, checking out a few of the shops. Naturally, we had to buy some crystals. It took awhile to select just the right ones from a huge variety at one of several crystal shops. Each type of crystal is purported to have unique powers. We enjoyed drinks and dinner at the Cowboy Cafe watching the shadows change on the rocks as the sun went down.
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  • Day2

    I'd Rather be a Cowboy

    September 8, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 90 °F

    We spent a relaxing morning eating yummy breakfast sandwiches Cheri made and watching the birds and bunnies in the yard. The Rice's Sun City home has a beautiful view of the golf course lake and fountain. It was interesting to see the birds that differ from ours at home in Oregon: Peach-faced Love Birds, Gambel's Quail (I think), Grackles, and Arizona Woodpecker. There were lots of Canada Geese enjoying the lake as well. Of course, in the southwest, there are other uninvited houseguests, including tiny lizards and a cucaracha in our shower!
    In the afternoon, we took a Sunday drive to Cave Creek. As the tourist season hasn't really started yet, some of the shops were closed, but we had fun exploring the kitsch in Frontier Village. We returned via Scottsdale, passing by some very upscale malls and car dealerships including Lamborghini, Ferrari, Mazerati, and Alfa Romeo. Dinner at Tommy Bahama was excellent.
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  • Day1

    By the Time We Get to Phoenix...

    September 7, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 63 °F

    It's a busy morning at PDX, but check-in was smooth and we're ready to join Tom and Cheri in Sun City! It's cool and cloudy in Portland, but Tom reports that it was 110 in the house yesterday when they arrived. Hope the AC is working!

  • Day21

    Doviđenja!

    June 18, 2019 in Croatia ⋅ ⛅ 75 °F

    Our trip is almost at an end. We left Dubrovnik this morning on Croatian airlines and are now waiting at the Frankfurt airport for our flight home. This has been an amazing journey. One guidebook refers to Slovenia as "Europe in miniature " because of the German, Austrian, Hungarian and Italian influences and geography of Alps, plains and seacoast. We experienced an amphitheater and an emperor's palace built by the Romans, early Turkish tombstones, castles of Germanic kings, medieval cities built by the Venetians, Austrian cathedrals and villas, roads and bunkers from World Wars I and II, towns destroyed by more recent wars, and religious sites of several religions. Mark Twain said "Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer" and these experiences have definitely made us richer in unforgettable memories.
    For Myj, seeing and learning more about her ancestral homeland, and renewing connections with some of her relatives was priceless. More than just being "along for the ride" Dennis fell in love with Ljubljana and Slovenia too.
    And of course, we met some fun and interesting new people. The quote we put on our profile is fitting: "A journey is best measured in friends, not miles." We are still fans of the Rick Steves travel mode. If you want luxury, it isn't for you, but if you want local experiences in the thick of things and a little learning along the way, go for it! The hotels are comfortable, close to the action, but are sometimes "quaint and quirky." You do need to travel light, as you may have to carry your bags a half mile down a narrow lane or up a hill to a castle where the bus can't go. The guides are amazing!
    We're ready to go home to beautiful Oregon and see our family, friends and pets. The PDX carpet will be a welcome sight! But...there are still a few places on the bucket list. Where next?? Hmmm, Myj did hear Dennis say "Maybe Ireland next year" and there were a whole table of tour friends as witnesses!
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