Monday, June 19, 2006

Finally on the road

After a long week at the Flamenco Festival in ABQ (taking one class every morning and attending three performances) we finally left for our summer road trip right after my last class Saturday morning. We had an easy drive to Flagstaff and the kids were great thanks to the DVD player and They Might Be Giants. We really enjoyed the hotel pool in Flagstaff, where Eliza is proving to be quite the water rat already. She absolutely loves diving under the water and does so over and over again. Scotty on the other hand still won't put his whole head under, but he's been inspired by Eliza and is starting to practice putting his face in the water. At this point I think Eliza is probably a greater risk for drowning though, because while neither can swim at least Scotty exhibits some caution!

Sunday we spent the day riding the Grand Canyon Train from Williams, AZ to the Canyon. We rode the 2.5 hours each way in a restored Pullman Club Car (which had a bar--yahoo!) where we listened to live music on the way out and were entertained by bandits on horseback who borded the train and "robbed" us (for tips) on the way back. It was loads of fun for all three of us. The canyon itself is as gorgeous as ever but we didn't spend much time at the rim during our 3 hour layover because we had lunch and then watched them switch the engines on the trains. There are two trains per day and each one gets pulled by a diesel engine in one direction and a steam engine in the other. So at the Canyon they switch engines. We waited about an hour in the hot sun to see the big steam engine get coupled to our train. It was totally worth the wait. Scotty got to see the eccentric move in slow motion during the switching and then while on the train we were able to see the engine at full speed when we turned. The car we were in had windows that opened too so we got the whole experience with the sounds and smells of the engine and even the occasional spray of mist. Very fun.

Today we had a very long haul from Williams to Bakersfield, CA. It was about 450 miles and took an entire tank of fuel, which is more than we usually use for that distance. I think it was because we crossed the Mojave in a raging headwind so with the AC running the whole time plus a few climbs into that wind we burned through it fast. Most of the scenery was hot dry desert, and it was neat to see some Joshua trees and some giant wind farms in the mountains west of Bakersfield. The kids were great again though and we only stopped twice during the 6.5 hour drive. Turns out they were saving it all up for the hotel though, because once in our room they went nuts. Some good food, a swim, and a movie saved the evening.

Tomorrow we head to Monterey to see the Aquarium and, finally, the Ocean!

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