Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Climbing on Camelback MTN

Here are some photos from another of the many rocks lying around Phoenix. Camelback Mountain provides some nice panoramas of the valley.

Parking stinks, we waited for 40 minutes to park in the tiny lot at Echo Canyon. I drove up the road to some road side parking featuring piles of broken windshield littering the ground near some of the parked cars. I felt a little better about waiting out the parking lot in hopes of salvaging my windshield. We have not reached the summit so we have pledged to return. We will return earlier in the morning in hopes of better access to parking.

Shane ran up the hill and Savannah worked her way up at her own pace. We started calling Savannah "Red" as would be inevitable for her. It is a good chore to go up the hill. There is a nice boulder chock full of routes for bouldering. We climbed a special route for the Evans's.

Enjoy the pictures.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pacific Ocean drive

Went to San Diego over the weekend. The family had a pretty great time. The drive was little tedious and weathered well by the children. They only blew up at each other on a 90 minute schedule. We drove to Yuma Friday night and the rest of the way on Saturday. We have a van equipped with three screens and capable of delivering three separate entertainment choices for the passenger's pleasure. I won't disclose the name of the car we drive unless we get direct financial endorsements from the manufacturer. In these economic times you will never get to read the make and model here. It's a rolling playroom for attention deficit media junkies. On the trip from Illinois we had the car radio with AM, FM, and Satellite radio, CD and MP3 functions, Satellite TV, a PlayStation, two Leapster's, two DVD players, a game boy, a slew of coloring books, ever changing scenery, and the timeless game of "he's touching me." It took nearly every piece of distraction to keep the kids from going nuts more often than every sixty minutes. It seems being strapped to a chair for eight hours a day next to another person evokes a certain desire to torment your fellow captives. So every sixty minutes it would be

"Stoo-ooop, stop it."

"I'm not doing anything."

" oow wwaaah eh eh stooooooooop!!!"

" What is going on?!?" "Don't touch her!!" "LEAVE THEM ALONE!!!"


"Let's pull over and stretch."

The kids would rotate to a new activity and the cycle would start all over again. Over all the kids were great. The trip to San Diego was a smaller version of the big trip, with fewer outbursts and more quiet times. Until the freeway in San Diego. The people driving there were all in a hurry and love to change lanes now. Just zip and there's a car in front of you. Go to change lanes and pow there's a car beside you right in the space where your car was supposed to be. We had thought of driving up the coastal highway on our way to Washington State. We decided we might pull through Utah now. Maybe check out the giant store room of files built into the mountain.

The hotel we stayed at should have had Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin staying there. It was right out of rat pack era motel styling, the Town and Country. Ring Ding Baby.

The beach had some cold water and monsterous three foot waves. The kids had fun trying to ride the waves in the 63 degree water. Shane helped some locals build a little sand castle while Sophia and Savannah made a sand head complete with seaweed hair. We played all day at the beach and retired in the swank comfort of martini alley to shower and head out ofr dinner.

Traci GPS'd a local cafe reataurant and we headed out. Two feet later we were parked in taffic in fron of a local mall. The mall had some chain restaurants we passed over for hopes of more local flavor in the cafe offered up by our GPS unit.

After we were cut off forty times, braked hard at every turn, stop light, and lane change we found ourselves in the busy artsy quasi-gentrified area known as "Old Towne San Diego." The family was beyond hungry we were very hungry almost very very hungry but I don't want to blow a thing out of proportion. Every restaurant we passed on this balmy Saturday night was dressed in a line of people waiting to be seated. We found our cafe and it looked really Swank, like too swank for the way we were dressed. We abandoned the Old Towne and went directly to being lost somewhere near the sports arena. We bought gas across from the world famous Body Shop where I can confidently say most of the Naval personnel stationed in San Diego either spilled out of or went in to during the time I pumped about thirteen gallons of gas.

We passed a restaurant with no one outside waiting and, ignoring the little voice inside saying "why is there no one wiating for this place?" and listening to the voice saying " we need to eat nnow dammit!", we pulled in at the Brick Alley. We could still claim "local flavor" and be served quickly. We were eating San Diego style without all the hassle of a unique dining experience. It was typical bar and grill fare and no one had gotten sick from the food there as of the time of this entry in the blog.

I had spotted a Baskin Robbins so we rounded out the night with a little ice cream, making the day a success from many different angles.

A cold front moved in over night with rain, clouds and rough seas to follow. We spent Sunday morning at La Jolla watching seals and being touristy. On the news that day we found an interesting story about a bar fight ending in gunfire at a bar near the beach we had played on. We had nearly witnessed chaos in the true wild west. I am grateful we retired early from the beach.

Drove home and narrowly missed the open hours for the old prison in Yuma. Actually we had stopped at Wal Mart for a snack while the final minutes had ticked off the final hour of operation at the prison. We were unaware of the hours of operation. We know now!