Sunday, August 30, 2009


Saturday, August 29, 2009

GRAND CANYON #1 - Straight Shots

Thursday, August 20, 2009

So, we're driving down a small Arizona highway. It's raining outside. T tells me this probably means geocaching is out for now, but I am still kind of tracking upcoming ones with my GPSr. I see that we are coming up on one, but figure we won't be able to stop for it...until we see the door, the door of the Church of the Holy Dove. Wow.
We zoomed past it, but were so intrigued we turned around and came back. The door, which you see in the first photo, was unusually small, and took up the entirely of the front of the small building. There was a geocache somewhere behind the church, but the rain was coming down, so we ran out of the car and in through the unusual door. As we shut the door, a woman in a pickup pulled up and parked next to our vehicle. She came into the church, too.
Turns out she is a local, and frequent visitor to this holy place. She pulls her windbreaker off and begins telling us the history of this unusual place. She indicates a guest sign in book, and tells us to write a little prayer in the notebook by the altar and leave it for the next guests to share. She often comes here, she says, to celebrate her faith. Sometimes she has company, but mostly she enjoys the place solo. This woman has been helping with the wildfires in the west, and tells us of her job refueling the helicopters that bring the water to fight the fires, and of eating her meals in the town outside of the Grand Canyon we are headed to next. She shares history of weddings and baptisms that have been held in the place. Then she writes down her own prayer and leaves us to enjoy the place alone.
The inside is remarkably roomy, and stark, but fills one with a sense of peace. One does indeed feel closer to God in a place like this. The children check out the altar. I read the verse that the Bible on the altar is open to, and write a prayer in the book. I notice that the woman's prayer was one of thanks for the rain, and left ours asking for a safe journey and strength for our family.
As we left the sanctuary, the rain had stilled, and so had all our tension from the first day of our journey. We all felt at peace and calm. I was able to go behind the church and to the side to find the geocache, which was an ammo can filled with trinkets and holding a sparkling gold keychain travel bug, which I was excited about.
We all climbed back in the car, feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the next couple of hours of driving before we reached that night's destination. That calm stayed with me the rest of our trip, though, and so did the appreciation for this tranquil stop on our crazy journey.

Great Western Road Trip Ramblings #1
It is hard to know where to start with a journey of this magnitude. The planning and plotting along was tedious and timeworn. It's generally best, though, to start at the beginning, and so in this case, PHX, where four people - two small and two big - stood waiting for their ride. No, it was not the Winnebago they had conjured visions of, but a steel grey Santa Fe that would carry them on this epic journey to the Western frontier.
This family of four loaded four suitcases and four carry on bags into the back of this Santa Fe, and took off, heading north out of town on 17, Flagstaff bound.
The first stop was unexpected, a sudden need for drinks in the town of Black Canyon, which was remarkably hard to navigate through. T went inside the store for liquid refreshments, while I watched the compass of my GPSr unit align to straight across the street, 500 feet, for a chance at our first geocache of our journey. Here is the online log:
August 5 by hardings (1609 found)This one has the honor of being our first Arizona cache find, although sort of accidentally. We were actually looking for a place to get sodas and I checked the GPSr to see what was nearby, and voila! Was quite a climb for this Texas crew, real close up look at cactus. Lid of container broken and a piece fell off when I opened it, but contents in good shape. Thanks!
Finally, we got on the road again, stopping next at this place, the picture of which sums up my ideal scenery when stopping to find a geocache:

I was so excited to look for this one, but not so excited not to have found it, especially before the thunder and impending rainstorm chased us out of the search area.

Who knew Arizona could be so green?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

begins here...