Maid Mirawyn's Photos Maid Mirawyn's Photos

Friday, July 20, 2007

I want Six Flags!

2006-10-07 Six Flags 19.JPG
Originally uploaded by Maid Mirawyn
Last year, we went to Six Flags for my husband's company picnic thing. It was so fun, but it was a bit crowded...and it was in October, which meant Fright Fest was going on.

But there were roller coasters we didn't get to ride at all. How sad! And the lines were so long for Goliath that we skipped it totally; it was the new coaster for the year.

And just to tempt me: Six Flags sent a load of buy one, get one coupons to our office just this week! If my husband doesn't get a school library job this year, we are so going!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Woohoo! Bonus tourism!

Saint LouisWell, five minutes away from St. Louis, I realized that meant the Gateway Arch! Well, of course we had to stop...especially since we had never been to Missouri or Illinois.

We only had about half an hour in the city, but it was fun. Parking was a bit tricky, but I'm glad we did it. The arch is so cool! It's big, and it's pretty. Really, really big.

It's practically impossible to get a good, complete photo of it, but I still took several interesting photos. Then I bought a postcard, so I would have a "perfect" photo for the scrapbook. But in some ways, I like my photos better! For instance, I took one that makes it look like the symbol for Starfleet. Perfect geek shot. :)

But then we had to get back on the road. Illinois, then Kentucky, then Tennessee, then HOME.

Did I mention we arranged everything so we can have dinner in Chattanooga, at Luipi's Pizza? (It's only one of the best pizza places ever!) It will be our shortest visit in Chattanooga in history!

Totally in love with the Denver Public Library!

Denver Public LibraryI was so surprised by the Denver Public Library, right in the middle of the downtown area. It's incredibly unique...but that's what you would expect, since it was designed by Michael Graves. We saw the outside (and took tons of photos) on Friday night, but we didn't get to go inside. Yesterday morning, though, we took the speed tour before leaving Denver. It was great! It's so large that they have a self-guided tour map available at the front desk. Not only is it absolutely filled with books, but the art collection is astounding! There's art on every floor, and the about half of the top floor is a gallery. The main gallery space overlooks the city, facing the park; there's a deck that is opened for the special events, too.

The fifth floor historical room is breathtaking. I'll upload a photo later, but the center is dominated by the timbers that form the central space. AND along one side are table areas that overlook the museum. The coolest part? It's like a big desk and a window seat all in one; the table is that deep. I would have loved to have climbed up and sat in the window, but I doubt they would have been too happy about that...

We proposed a "bring Colorado here" lever so we could visit the library frequently, but I think they have a backlog.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver

We visited Tattered Cover's downtown location after finishing up downtown. If you know us, you know we had no choice. It is a bookstore, after all. It is also practically an institution in Denver; I had read about it long before, so it was on the must-visit list. Plus it had a coffee shop and was open late...

The selection is great, and the atmosphere is wonderful! There's antique furniture everywhere (but the friendly type of antique, not the "don't touch me" type). The sections are logically arranged, and the magazine assortment is wonderful! The art in the store is unique: portraits of every writer or illustrator who has visited the store, taken when they visited. I didn't have time to look at every single one--there were way too many--but I was happy to see Madeline l'Engle. Yay.

Anyway, if you visit Denver, you must visit Tattered Cover. Next time we hope to visit the Lower Downtown ("LoDo") location, too.

A little more of Denver

Dredd is totally nuts. Denver really is a nice little city. There's a lot of interesting buildings downtown, including an unbelievably beautiful library, the really weird (yet appealing) Denver Art Museum, the Byers-Evans House (where the people were very, very nice), and all the great government buildings.

And of course, there's the Capitol building, with its official "One Mile Above Sea Level" marker. Um, make that markers: the one mile mark was officially changed in 2003, presumably as a result of more accurate measurements.

Parking can be very difficult, but after 6 pm and on Sundays and holidays you don't have to pay the meters...which is a big help.

All in all, it's very compact, so getting from one place to the other is easy!

Next up: Denver

Ugh. The traffic is way worse than Atlanta's: nearly forty minutes to go twenty miles. But so far I love the scenery. To the west, beautiful snow-covered mountains, as far as the eye can see. They just keep getting bigger!

We want to go downtown and do the touristy walking-around thing, but traffic is scaring us. So our plan right now is to head to Boulder, for Shuttles, Spindles, and Skeins. (Because I obviously I haven't bought enough yarn. Right...) I'm probably going to buy (a drop spindle and some roving) stuff to spin my own yarn for dyeing.

Anyway, I think I'll like Denver. Too bad we have so little time here.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Colorado Springs

Well, Dredd and the Brothers of Dredd are on their way back home now. We had a great time today: Garden of the Gods is breathtaking! All six of us went, and it immediately turned into another chance to climb big rocks. I, of course, am always in favor of that, and kept up quite nicely, even though I was wearing a long denim skirt and sandals. Go me. :)

One of the really fascinating things about Garden of the Gods is the rock formations themselves: they look like sculptures! I would swear I saw a head, a troll's face, a puppy, and at least two fish. Weird, huh? But totally beautiful. I took tons of photos, and Corin took quite a few with my camera, too. He has a good eye, by the way.

After Garden of the Gods, we went to see Transformers, at the Tinseltown USA theater in the Springs. Nice theater, good screen, great movie. The movie really lived up to the hype (in my opinion), but there was a bit of gratuitous sexual-themed dialogue in a couple of places at the beginning. Other than that, I have no reservations. You do see individual humans die a couple of times, but it isn't graphic or bloody. Mainly, you see bad things happen, which presumably kill people. (Like explosions which rip through an area, but you never see the people caught in the explosion.)

Saying goodbye to our friends was sad, but we had a great couple of days with them. And to think, it's all thanks to the internet!

Small town fireworks...

Last night we went to Crossroads Church's annual Fourth of July cookout. (That's the church Dredd's family attends.) Everyone was so nice, and apparently they had heard about our pending visit.

The food, of course, was wonderful. We got to meet so many people we had heard about from the guys...including the infamous Justin. He's really a nice guy!

The fireworks were a lot of fun, and the rodeo grounds weren't crowded at all. One great bonus to the small fireworks: we were very close to the launch site, so we were able to see some really great stuff!

Then everyone went back to the house, and we set off lots of bottle rockets and other stuff. After that, we all played Munchkin, until I got too tired. (Yes, I was actually the first person to go to sleep!) Prince Cor won the game, but Corin (the youngest) played really well. Poor Caspian, though: his brothers ganged up on him, so he never really got beyond level three or four.

Anyway, tons of fun. Off to the Springs today, for Transformers and general fun. I'm going to hate to say goodbye to everyone.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Vogel Canyon adventures

This morning we all headed to Vogel Canyon for some hiking and a picnic. There were nine of us,total: the two of us, Dredd and his three brothers, and Sherman, his twenty-one-year-old sister, and his seven-year-old brother.

It was so much fun! I wouldn't have believed I could do that type of rock climbing, but Dredd and Sherman really knew what they were doing, and were always willing to help anyone who needed it. Sherman also played pack mule and lugged in two gallon jugs of water. Believe me, we drank every bit of it!

The scenery was incredible! The plateaus are absolutely gorgeous, with the exposed strata of rock creating bands of color, contrasting with the green plants everywhere. They tell us we picked a great year to visit; no one remembers the last time it was so green in July!

Dredd and Sherman had their cameras along, too, so I'm going to try to convince them to upload their pics to flickr, too.

Edited on 07/12/2007 to add: Flickr set is here. It's still a work in progress.

We made it to Colorado!

Yep, we made it to La Junta, safe and sound. Sadly, I had to call for further directions just two hundred feet from our destination; it seems Dredd lives on a trick street...

Anyway, the Riveras have been so very, very nice. The guys are all exactly like I expected, and their mom is very sweet. It's not everyone who would invite total strangers from the other side of the country to come stay with them for a couple of days!

Last night we played with the Wii. First the Brothers of Dredd (Cor, Caspian, and Corin) played a weird Mario game and then something called "Rayman: Ravin Rabbids". Mainly, you torture psycho bunnies. Then we all took turns playing Wii Bowling. Apparently I'm better at Wii Bowling than real bowling...but just barely.

Today we're hiking to Vogel Canyon, which should be fun. So Sherman and his siblings just showed up, and it's still unknown whether we'll be meeting Hobbs later today. Yay for Spirit of Elijah!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Leaving Santa Fe

Santa Fe is beautiful! The art district is wonderful, and seems like it will never end. There are sculptures everywhere, along with paintings and murals. It's great!

BUT I miss Southern hospitality. The people here are curt and so many of them rarely smile. They are pushy, too.

But I've met a few really nice people here: a couple from Ireland who are traveling old Route 66 and the owner of Oodles Bead and Yarn Gallery and a male friend of hers who was at the store knitting. The women at Marigold Arts, too, were as friendly, welcoming, and hospitable as anywhere in the South.

All in all, this trip has been incredible already.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Everything's bigger in Texas!

Including the crosses! Groom, Texas, about half an hour east of Amarillo, is home to "The Largest Cross in the Western Hemisphere." And boy is it big! The land is so flat that you can see it from miles and miles around. I mean it is huge.

We never intended to stop, but when we saw how big it really was, we decided we had to go see it. Originally it was for laughs, but once we reached it we were quite surprised! It's not just a big, huge cross; it's in the center of a plaza, with the bronze statues for the Stations of the Cross circling it. A path at one side leads straight to a tableau of Jesus, John, and Peter at a table, with Jesus breaking the bread for the Last Supper. Behind it, wide steps lead up to three bronze crosses, depicting Jesus and the thieves. At the base of the stairs, a path leads around to a replica of the Empty Tomb; the angel atop it is visible from the crosses.

I'm not Catholic, so the Stations of the Cross weren't something I'm used to, but it was still beautiful. The sculptor was obviously talented, so the faces are expressive. And across from the parking area is the Pilgrim Center, with a gift shop (we didn't shop). Visible from the parking lot is a beautiful fountain with waterfalls, the Fountain of Mercy. At the center stands another statue of Jesus. Yes, it's a bit cheesy, but it's really quite beautiful, and I thought, "I wish Grandma Lucy could have seen this." She would have loved it.

Wide open spaces

I can't believe how open and flat both Oklahoma and Texas have been! It's amazing enough that you can see practically forever; but the houses! They're so few and far between. There are cows everywhere, or else cultivated fields. I'm more accustomed to the fields of Rural Georgia or Lower Alabama; maybe there are fields this large down there, but they're never that open! There are always gentle hills, so you never see the whole field. But not here.

In some ways, it could be boring. But it's so different from the landscape I'm used to that it's actually interesting.

Get your kicks...

Yep, Route 66! We stopped in Shamrock, Texas to grab a milkshake at McDonald's. As we were exiting the expressway, I noticed a sign for "Historic Route 66." Well, we had to stop. So we headed down the road, and--sure enough--there was Route 66!

We chose the right spot, too. On the corner was a wonderful restored gas station, complete with restored gas pumps! It's now the Shamrock Chamber of Commerce and a gift shop(which we didn't go in). There were also a couple of old "Route 66" motels, which I'm sure have been there since its heyday. I'm really happy with my photos.

And if my mom is reading this: yes, I got you a rock.

Where can you find buffaloes? Only in Oklahoma!

We stopped at the Cherokee Trading Post, somewhere along US 40 in Oklahoma. For the most part it was the typical tourist goods (made in India, usually). But there was also an art gallery, which had some stuff that actually was made by Native Americans, some Cherokee and some Navaho.

My beloved husband knows how I love Raku pottery, so he bought me a little "Dream Box" (or something like that). The theory is that you put your dream in it. I'm thinking it will be perfect for a couple of pairs of earrings. :) It's really well done, and the glaze went almost pure copper on the body of the box, leaving it as beautiful and shiny as a new penny.

AND they had a couple of buffaloes, which I went and tracked down. I couldn't get any good photos, but I did get to see both of them. I love buffaloes! They're almost as cool as the yaks in Yak's Bend. ;)

Almost there!

Well, it's been an eventful day! Our morning started with breakfast at the Waysider Restaurant in Tuscaloosa, courtesy of my husband's instructor, Professor Bullock. She was so nice: she invited me to join the class for breakfast! A true Southern lady...

Then on to Serendipity Needleworks, just a few blocks from the university. What a wonderful store! Shelf after shelf of beautiful yarns, arranged by color! And the owner was so nice! So were the customers, for that matter. I spent an hour and a half there. Lots of fun..

Then we hit the road. Alabama to Mississippi to Tennessee; in Memphis, we stopped for dinner. It was barbeque ribs, of course, on Beale Street: Blues City Cafe. A few photos of Beale Street, then back on the road.

Arkansas, then Oklahoma. We stopped in Seminole for coffee from the Starbucks; again, really nice people! And 3 am Eastern, we made it to the hotel, the Travelodge. Maybe not the best choice: it shares a parking lot with a nightclub, and it was pretty noisy for a while. But it finally quieted down, so I'll be going to sleep as soon as I post this. Tomorrow, we enter Texas and then...NEW MEXICO!