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Rodney’s Grand Adventure Part 6 All Aboard!

The next morning after breakfast we noticed several cowboys walking around, suddenly a bell rang and all the tourists were herded towards a small coral with stadium seating. We were then presented with a cute skit that included a real life honest to goodness shoot out(Hollywood style), an attempted horse theft, illicit gambling, and cowboy shenanigans. It was actually a cute family friendly show and great for the kids.  Afterwards it was all aboard and on the train. One tried to kidnap Rodney and hold him for ransom. Took a look at Chris and realized we didn’t have any money. 

Chris had booked the luxury parlor car and it was wonderful, we were booked in the last car on the train and were  greeted by a friendly attendant named Virginia. The inside of the car had built in couches and tables that allowed you to sit comfortable and either look out the window or converse with the other passengers.  Since we were in the last car we were able to stand out on the back observation platform as we traveled to the Grand Canyon. We could also go up two cars and look out through the Observation Dome in the Vista car. There was cheese, fresh fruit, and drinks available. There was also a bar in the car and Virginia served as our bartender.Chris had water, I had a Bloody Mary which was very good, and Rodney had a drink called “The Slim Fast” Virginia informed us that there were no calories allowed in the luxery car so we could enjoy as many of them as we wanted.  The drink was delicious and the Grand Canyon Railway tours was nice enough to share the recipe with me.

The Grand Railway Slim Fast

  • ½ oz Amaretto
  • ½ oz Coffee liqueur
  • Fill class with half and half, top with whipped cream and a cherry.

I can’t stand coffee and I swear that Virginia said Kahlua when she told me about the drink. But I emailed this is what their email said, either way it was delicious and I highly recommend it.  I also found a similar version at TheKitchn  called “The Almond Joy” that I am anxious to try.

Spiked Almond Joy Milkshakes
Makes 6-8 mini milkshakes

For the milkshake

  • 3 cups packed French vanilla ice cream
  • 1/2 cup stirred coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup almond liqueur (I used Amaretto)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate liqueur (I used Godiva)

For serving

  • Chocolate syrup
  • Whipped cream
  • Shredded sweetened coconut
  • Whole almonds

Combine the ice cream, coconut milk, almond liqueur, and chocolate liqueur in a blender and mix until smooth. Adjust ingredients if desired (I like a creamy milkshake, if you want it thicker, add more ice cream. If you like more almond flavor, add more Amaretto, etc).

Place the jar containing the milkshake back in the freezer for about 30 minutes to an hour to let it thicken up a bit. Puddle chocolate syrup in the bottom of serving glass (I used shot glasses) and pour the milkshake over the syrup. Top each shake with a pile of whipped cream, a generous sprinkle of shredded coconut, and a whole almond.

The train ride took 2 hours but the scenery was beautiful, Virginia kept us entertained with interesting facts and sites along the way. About halfway through the trip we were joined by a singing cowboy who serenaded Rodney and me with “Country Roads” by John Denver. One of my favorite songs from child hood.  I just cannot describe the experience in this blog.  We met some great people on the train, laughed, sang, drank, ate, and had so much fun. It is just something you have to experience for yourself! Below are several pictures of the scenery and the great people we met along the way.

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Rodney’s Grand Adventure Part 5

Funny, it is taking me longer to write this blog than it did to actually take the trip. Our trip was a total of 3 days, Friday morning to Sunday early evening. But ! I feel that we said, experienced, and did so much in that time. I think a big part of it was that we were not connected to our computers or watching TV. SO many times I come home from work and go straight to my computer to catch up on Facebook, check emails, read blogs, find tons of cool things on Pinterest. Then I look at the time and realize the night is gone.  I did take my phone and Ipad on the trip with me. The phone mainly because of the GPS, the ability to call in case of emergency and this cool app called Trip Advisor.  I brought my Ipad along so that I could type up notes about the trip as we drove.  That didn’t work out to well since I was busy looking at the scenery, reading Burma-Shave signs and enjoying my time with my favorite husband.

Commercial Break – I love the app Trip Advisor, the best part is: that it is Free! While we are traveling I use it to check for interesting attractions and restaurants that are nearby. We have found some pretty cool things such as Cave Paintings on the way to Northern California, Nit Wit Ridge, and a Woolworth’s museum/café with an original lunch counter . It has its quirks but you can’t complain for the price. For those that don’t have a smart phone you can still access the program by clicking the link. 

We arrived at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Williams about 7:30pm got checked in and headed up to our room. Their lobby is pictured above. We reserved the hotel as a package deal through AAA. Below is a breakdown of what we got and the price.

  • Standard Room with 2 queen beds 2 nights
  • $20 Retail Gift Certificates ($40 total)
  • Friday, Dinner Buffet
  • Saturday Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner Buffet
  • Luxury Train- Luxury Parlor Car (Round Trip)
  • South Rim Motor Coach Tour

The total cost was $867.34

Yeah I know I said the same thing when I saw that, lucky for Chris I saw it after it was too late.  But I have to say, we will probably never take the trip again, mainly because there are so many other cool places to go. We also haven’t taken any real vacations in over 2 years.  And for goodness sakes – I am worth it!  I would do it again in a second but I would change a few things (see below).

Hotel Room – The hotel room was fine, just your generic room. We didn’t have a great view but, then again, we were 65 miles from the Grand Canyon, and beside that I usually keep the curtains closed so no weirdo’s get turned on by seeing me in my sexy granny panties. Chris did say he heard an elk “bugle” at dusk though when he went out to move the car and get the rest of our things. The bed was a bit hard. I have stayed in better rooms but I have also stayed in rooms which were much, much, worse.  The people were friendly and courteous and the room was clean, that was my main concern.  This picture is not our actual hotel room it is from the hotels web site but it looked just like this except not as nice a view.

Meals- By the time we settled in it was a little after 8pm. After asking, we discovered the dinner buffet closed at 9, so we headed out for a meal. Rodney was tired from all the excitement and stayed in the room hoping to watch some free HBO.  I have to say I was not impressed by the food. I understand it was the end of the night and most of the food had been sitting in warming trays for a bit. It was food and we were hungry and tired.  Sadly the meals did not improve any over the next few days. It was basic bland cafeteria food. Not bad, just nothing to write home about which may be why I am putting it in a blog instead. As I said, the restaurant was a large cafeteria and you had to walk through the gift shop to get there.  I can just see little kids suddenly seeing some overpriced tchotchke (yes that is spelled right! Google it if you don’t believe me) that they just have to have. The place was fine if you have a large family to feed and you want the convenience of not having to think/debate over where to eat but if I did it again I would not include the meals. I don’t know how much that would save but I bet we would have gotten better food and better prices in the local town. The dinner ticket had a price of $20 (each) and breakfast was $10. Sorry, I don’t remember what lunch was.  The town’s, Williams, main drag was just across the street and it would have been nice to see the sites, mingle with some other tourists, and get some decent food.  The picture below is from breakfast Saturday Morning, Rodney looks a bit hung over. I hope he didn’t raid the mini-bar.

When we got back Rodney was sound asleep, he was so cute since he snores and drools a little. I wish I would have gotten a picture but I had left the camera in the car.  Chris and I decided not to disturb him and headed down to the pool and spa area on the first floor.  I finally got to wear the new bathing suit I bought 2 years ago (it still had the tags on it); it felt so good, and relaxing, to sit in the spa. Afterward we headed over to the pool and swam for about an hour. I liked that the pool was open till 11pm so we had time to enjoy it. My only gripe at the time was that it was a bit crowded, but what do you expect; it was a family hotel.

The next morning we woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed, actually it was more like stiff, achy, and with bed head. Remember that the bed was a bit too hard for our tastes?  But the day was about to get better! Today we were going to take a train ride and finally see the Grand Canyon!

Tune in next week to learn more about the exciting adventures of Rodney the Hairy eared Rhino. There will be gun fights, horse thieves, a train robbery, and, oh yeah, a really BIG GIANT HOLE in the ground,  not to mention one of the best cocktails I have had in a while.

Next episode- The Grand Canyon!!!!!

 

Rodney’s Grand Adventure Part 1 

Rodney’s Grand Adventure Part 2 

Rodney’s Grand Adventure Part 3 

Rodney’s Grand Adventure Part 4 

Rodney’s Grand Adventure Part 5 

Rodney’s Grand Adventure Part 4

I am amazed at how much you can do and experience when you step away from the computer or the TV. I am only halfway through the first day. During the trip we met, talked to, and experienced so many great people and great things, I just can’t seem to write everything down. I felt like the trip was

actually a week long and not just 3 days.  There is something so peaceful and beautiful about the desert. I love the colors and being able to see for miles.  Breathtaking.

During the drive I happened to see the receipt and how much Chris paid for the entire trip and for a moment I was a bit upset. Then I remember some words of wisdom from one of my closest (and wisest) friends Dea: “Bills will always be there but the Grand Canyon may not. “  Now you may laugh

but some place I had always wanted to go was New Orleans. I had an opportunity to go in 2004 but I was worried about money and decided to go the following year. In 2005 Katrina hit. So my advice to you is to stop procrastinating. Stop waiting: Get off your butt, pack a bag, and go experience this great country of ours!

We love taking back roads because you see things you wouldn’t normally see and you meet people you wouldn’t normally meet. There is far less traffic and the pace is much more relaxing. During our drive we saw hawks, prairie dogs, and even an eagle. We also came across the Grand Canyon Caverns.  Outside the caverns it looks a little scary: broken signs and a run-down looking motel. I am sure at the height of route 66 this was “the” place to stay but it didn’t look like too many people visited the area now. We decided to follow the signs and drive down the partially paved road and we are so very glad we did!

We thought that the tour was a bit pricey at $16.95 a person but it was vacation and Chris loves to explore caves. We found out this was a “dead” cave meaning that there was presently no water and it had stopped growing several tens of thousands of years ago. It was still pretty amazing though. Our tour guide, Stephanie, was wonderful; she answered all of our questions, shared great facts and history and all with bits of witty humor. Tours are only about 45 minutes but ours lasted an hour and a half. It felt like we received a personal tour since it was just us and another family of 5 people. Stephanie kept us entertained the entire time.

The highlight was when we found out you could rent the cave for a night! In the middle of the cave is a platform with basically a hotel suite in it. How cool is that? Chris is so excited he started making plans for a

Rodney and Chris hanging in the Cave Hotel room.

boys getaway to explore the caves then spend the night playing Dungeons and Dragons in a real live (ok, dead) cave! Of course it would have to be a cave “adventure”. I love my nerd of a husband; he and Rodney were hopping around like 5 year olds at the thought.  The tour ended with some great music and a laser light show reflected off of the cave ceiling. It was amazing.  I regret that we didn’t know about the Supai Falls but that requires hiking and/or a helicopter ride; perhaps next time!

A few miles down the road from the caverns is the town of Seligman. The template for town of “Radiator Springs” in the movie “Cars”. It is a wonderful sleepy little down.  Classic cars, signs, and memorabilia from the glory days of Route 66 abound throughout the town. Sadly we arrived at about 6pm and just about everything was closed down. We were looking forward to stopping at the Snow Cap Drive-In for some ice cream but, sadly, there were closed. We were disappointed as we had heard great things about the place. But just walking through the town was a great experience. Rodney was very excited at the chance to ride a vintage motorcycle. Unfortunately he forgot to pack his helmet so he just got to sit on it (Rodney doesn’t know Arizona doesn’t have a helmet law, and we were not about to tell him because we didn’t think the owners would appreciate a Rhinoceros taking their bike on a little motorcycle joyride!).  So he will just have to wait for some other day to feel the wind in his hairy ears.

Below are pictures from Seligman. Finally there is even a picture of me!

Rodney’s Grand Adventure Part 1 

Rodney’s Grand Adventure Part 2 

Rodney’s Grand Adventure Part 3 

Rodney’s Grand Adventure Part 4 

Rodney’s Grand Adventure Part 5 

Rodney’s Grand Adventure Part 3

We reached Kingman not to long after Amboy.  We decided to stop and visit one of their many quaint museums. As soon as we got out of the car we were smacked in the face with some incredibly hot, dry heat.  I could feel the moisture being sucked out of my skin. We quickly ducked into The Mohave Museum of History and Arts and were greeted by a very friendly docent. It was a nice small museum. Did you know Andy Devine was born in Kingman? Neither did I, I also didn’t know who Andy Devine was.  I enjoyed reading about the local history and seeing some of the authentic clothing from past residents. You can take a virtual tour on their website, insidde were it is nice and safe with air conditioning.

Soaking up all that history, local culture, sure built up an appetite. We were hungrier than a woodpecker with a headache.  We decided to stop for lunch at the Redneck Southern Pit BBQ http://www.rednecksbbq.co/ .  Boy, are we happy we did! When we got out of the car

Chris pausing for a second with Rodney sipping on his Gin and Juice (Mt. Dew)

we were almost knocked on our buts by the extreme dry heat from the Arizona desert, but then we detected this amazing smell of cooked meat.  Just like Pavlov’s dogs we started drooling and headed for the source of that amazing smell. We walked in and were greeted by Richard who told us what the specials were and even offered some advice on what to get.  I had the pulled pork, potato casserole, baked beans, and corn bread. Chris had the Andouille sausage with cole-slaw and Mac-n’cheese. Rodney decided he needed some caffeine and would just share with us.  I just have to say you gotta love a restaurant that has an entire roll of paper towels at each table!  The pulled pork was so good it didn’t even need sauce. I must say it was the best I have ever had. I am drooling as I type this and am thinking that I need another road trip.  The entire staff was very friendly; here is a picture of the owner with Rodney. Total cost of lunch – $16.61 Not a bad deal!

With full bellies we were soon back on the road.   Tune in tomorrow as we explore the mysterious caverns, the Pixar movie Cars, and finally arrive at our destination.

Just to make you drool some more here are the pictures from Redneck BBQ. If you stop in make sure to tell

them Rodney sent you.

Pulled Pork, potato cheese casserole, baked beans, corn bread with honey cinnamon butter. Mmmm, Mmmm, so worth it!

The owner of Redneck BBQ and Rodney discuss the global effects of Obama care and the need for a national pulled pork plan.

Andouille sausage sandwich, coleslaw, macaroni salad. Chris ate this so fast I hardly had time to take the picture.

 

Rodney’s Grand Adventure Part 1 

Rodney’s Grand Adventure Part 2 

Rodney’s Grand Adventure Part 3 

Rodney’s Grand Adventure Part 4 

Rodney’s Grand Adventure Part 5 

Rodney’s Grand Adventure Part 2

I woke up early today (Friday June 29th) excited about our trip, I couldn’t wait to get started. I was rushing around trying to get everything packed, ready, cleaned up, cats fed, and doors locked. Checked to make sure the stove wasn’t on: Nope not on. Why I checked I don’t know since I hadn’t cooked anything in a while but you never know. I was hoping to get out of the house about 8am. Chris slowly woke up, wondered to the kitchen made a light breakfast, drank some coffee, read his email. Rodney waited patiently by the door. Chris asked me what the rush was since we had all day to get there, I stopped and realized he was right, this was that mythical thing, a vacation! Why was I stressing out and rushing around?  So I sat down and played some games on facebook and read some emails.

Monkey Cat Dot begging Papa not to leave

Ditto is posing for the new camera I bought for the trip since my last one ended up missing.

At about 9am Rodney was tapping his feet impatiently, which is a little odd to listen to since they are of the plush variety, so we threw are bags in the car and headed out. Just look  at the expression of excitement on Rodney’s face as we head out!

We decided to take the back scenic route along the 29 Palms highway then on through Amboy. While driving past the Morongo Indian Reservation we saw a marine jogging down the side road carrying an American Flag. We turned around to see what it was all about. Following the Marine was a van full of nice looking young marines; hey, I know I am married but I can still appreciate a good looking man serving our country.  They explained that they were running from Camp Pendleton to 29 Palms to raise money for a friend who was injured in Afghanistan.  For those not familiar with Cali the total distance is 160 miles and they completed it in just over 16 hours. These are truly amazing men as are all of the men and women in the military. I just want to take a moment and write a thank you! To read more about the cause these nice (and fit!) young men were running for visit: MillitaryTimes.com/blogs  or to donate visit their website: Pendletontothepalms.com

Shortly after, we entered Joshua Tree. Here is a picture of Rodney as we are about to go up on of the steepest hills on a major highway. I don’t know if it is really one of the steepest hills but that is what Chris said and he is pretty smart.

Eventually we made it to Amboy. Amboy  used to be a major stop on Route 66 but now it consists mainly of Roy’s Motel and Café (way over priced gas!) and a shoe tree . I have heard of these mythical plants but have never seen one. Sadly the shoe tree has fallen over and is near death. Darn! I was hoping for a new pair of Milanos. Luckily, through cross pollination, we noticed that a bra/underwear tree was blooming nearby. Chris really liked that but was a little disappointed that no “fruit” was being added when we stopped to check it out.

Amboy, CA Shoe Tree

Rodney looking for a pair of green neon high tops in his size.

Chris as Indiana Jones and the Adventures of the Shoe Bridge.

Next Stop Kingman!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rodney’s Grand Adventure Part 1 

Rodney’s Grand Adventure Part 2 

Rodney’s Grand Adventure Part 3 

Rodney’s Grand Adventure Part 4 

Rodney’s Grand Adventure Part 5 

Grand Adventures with Rodney

Since this blog is brand new I haven’t had a chance to introduce anyone to Rodney the Hairy Eared Traveling Rhino.

Rodney is an adventurer and likes to explore and travel to exotic places like Eureka CA and Seligman AZ.  Because he has trouble getting around by himself he often takes along his two favorite traveling companions Chris and Jule.  How we all met is a story for another time. This blog is about a recent grand adventure we all took to the Grand Canyon.
We have talked a lot about visiting the Grand Canyon since none of us have ever been. It is strange since it is so close to where we live (about a 6 hour drive) yet we just never bothered to go. Since we met Rodney, Chris and I have decided that we needed to have more adventures even if they are just for the day. We need to stop sitting around the house thinking about things we should have done when we were younger and just go out and do them while we still can.ule.  How we all met is a story for another time. This blog is about a recent grand adventure we all took to the Grand Canyon.

Last week I got some good news from HR that I had miscalculated my vacation days and actually had one left but I had to use it by the end of June or lose it. Wow what luck, but what to do with it??? I came home and told Chris and we both decided to take advantage of it and it was time to run off to the Grand Canyon. Rodney was hoping for something a bit more exotic like the Calico ghost town in CA but he gave in.  Chris recently was in a fender bender with my car and we had a nice comfortable rental car with working air conditioning so we decided to take advantage of it.

Chris is off this summer so Rodney and I put him in charge of planning the trip. This was done for a couple of reasons:  Rodney has trouble using the mouse and typing on a keyboard with his less-than-prehensile Rhino feet and Chris, being weird and always looking for novel places to see, likes to map out all the strange back roads instead of using the main highways and using GPS.  I like to play it by ear and just randomly do things that we find interesting; and we do find some cool things we never would have thought of by taking back roads. None of us likes hard schedules and itineraries, we like to take it easy explore and get there when we get there. Since no one was waiting for us this was easy to do.  Besides isn’t life supposed to be about the journey and not the destination?  This trip so ended up being about the journey!

Before we left I mentioned the trip to some co-monkeys and they shared some interesting things to see and do while on our trip. I took some time to look them up and sent links to Chris and Rodney to investigate. When I got home and walked through the door this was the conversation:

Jule:  “ Did you get my email?”

Chris:  “It’s all taken care of.”

Jule:  “But did you check out the links?”

Chris:  “It’s all taken care of.”

Jule:  “But did you book the train?”

Rodney:  (Quietly in the corner) “Train? What Train? Nobody said anything about a train!”

Chris:  “It’s all taken care of.”

Jule:  “ but, but…”

Chris: ” It’s all taken care of. You just need to pack a bag, get in the car, and look beautiful.” In the corner Rodney just sat with a big smile on his face. I looked at Chris and new he had planned something wonderful and it was all taken care of. “

Tune in tomorrow for the next installment of the Grand Adventure which will include exciting links, color pictures, and a marine or two.

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Rodney’s Grand Adventure Part 1 

Rodney’s Grand Adventure Part 2 

Rodney’s Grand Adventure Part 3 

Rodney’s Grand Adventure Part 4 

Rodney’s Grand Adventure Part 5