Friday, April 30, 2010

I Don't Care for Heights

Don't take me wrong, I love the views of the majestic Grand Canyon. However, I do have a healthy respect for gravity. It has always worked in my experience. We made it to the rim of the Grand Canyon. The wind was gusting, it was cold, we were underdressed (not prepared for snow.) It was 85 in Mississippi. We didn't know it was still snowing in the dessert!

Standing on the rim, having to lean to walk in the wind, taking pictures, all I could think of is 1) I am a big man, 2) this is a lot of wind, 3) that is a long way down, and 4) the lowest bidder installed this guardrail. Took the fun right out of it for me. I headed for the watch tower and took pictures in there. Out of the wind and back from the rim.

I messed up yesterday and took OLD 66 to a ghost town called Oatman. It was a 2 lane switch back over the mountains that has not been maintained. It was really a 1-1/2 lane road with no guard rails. The scenery was great, but this will be another once in a life time routes. Not going that way again.

We spent the night in California to be able to put another sticker on our map on the side of the RV. Our next destination is Vegas, the real one this time. Amy has already chosen the chocolate tour she wants to go on. We are camping at Circus Circus tonight. Gonna leave here just as soon as Will gets the sewer unhooked.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Painted Desert Day

God sure does know how to paint. The painted desert and the petrified forest were well worth the day we spent riding and walking around. We hiked around the rim of the first batch of desert with the most color. We also hiked thru the crystal forest and took bunches of pictures of petrified logs.

Our destination tonight is Holman AZ at KOA. We are really liking the KOA kampgrounds. They are clean, well run, and affordable. Tomorrow is the Grand Canyon. We tried to make reservations, but Buddy the RV is too large for their campground so we are going to chance it and find something somewhere tomorrow night.

This is our third night in a row to stay on Route 66 which is kind of neat. It was too windy tonight for the planned hamburger cookout, so my lovely wife came to the rescue and grilled them on the pancake griddle. In the words of the Red Robbin commercial, "Yumm".

The kids are working on their memory travel scrap books putting the brochures and post cards along with highlites of the trip. Buddy is sporting some new bumper stickers as well as two more States filled in on his travel map.

Left Turn at Albuquerque

Our adventure continues! We spent Sunday night near Santa Fe. We tried to see the Pecos Indian ruins, but got there too late in the day. On Monday we walked around downtown Santa Fe and did not buy a single piece of turquoise or sand art. We weren't sure what all was there, but we spent an hour looking.

I was running out of gas. We drove from Amarillo to Santa Fe. All the back roads, when we did see a functioning gas station, it was at 3.oo per gallon. That logic made me look favorably on the 2.76 I paid in Santa Fe.

We stopped by the Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque for an educational experience. We learned about Volcanos in New Mexico. The early natives carved graffitti onto the rocks and the National Park Service put some trails together so you could go look at them. They get right upset if you try to add to them. Which is a bit short sighted if you ask me. If they had let Picaso do one, then they would have something.

We stayed Monday night in Gallup. We are on Highway 66 again. I was really tired tonight and went to sleep before game time. This park is located behind a La Quinta Hotel (which is spanish for "behind Denny's") The park and hotel are owned together, so the kids got to go swimming in the indoor pool. It was still too cold for any average human, but Amy states "The pool was nice feeling". Donna and I planned our next day while they played.

We have a short driving day today. We are riding the painted desert and the petrified forest and staying there tonight. I've got to stop blogging now. Katie and Amy are cooking pancakes for breakfast, and they smell really good.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bunch of Driving Done

We made it to Santa Fe at a Koa Kampground. I took a side tour thru Las Vegas. But as you know I can't tell you anything about it except we did shoot the loop at the Plaza. Everything else stays in Vegas.

We started the day in Palo Duro Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world. We spent the night at a campground at the bottom of the canyon. Saw some wildlife, a huge turkey with his spread on for his chick. He chased her a bit, then she started chasing him back.

We made our way from there to Route 66. We ate some ugly crust pie at the Midway Cafe and got some souviners. Antoher bucket list item taken care of. After lunch we took off thru the middle of nowhere. I've been to Carroll County Mississippi. I thought I had seen vast expanse of nothingness. Not so! From Amarillo we took a back road to Las Vegas. We passed a total of 6 other cars in 114 miles. I told Donna I could go outside and take a shower and nobody would care about it but her.

The views were amazing. We could see for miles in any direction and not see another human. We climbed the base of the Rockies. It is call the Canadian Escarpment, 6300 feet above sea level. When we got to the top we could see the snow capped peaks of Taos in the distance. It was really a beautiful trip. Also once in a life time, cause I aint never going that way again.

Amarillo by Morning

So much to blog about. Where do we start?

Bucket List Items

John F. Kennedy assassination Site – I got my picture taken on the grassy knoll. And as a bonus, Donna took my picture standing on the x in the middle of the street. Upon learning this, Granny told me to quit playing in the street which is a change for her.

Cowboy Stadium – Donna wanted to see the stadium. Unfortunately it was imploded and in a pile of debris, but Hey, she wanted to see it, she got to see it.

Texas Motor Speedway – Got pictures of race cares in a pond out front.

Oil Well – Saw one, not too close though.

Texas Long Horns – Donna rode all most all the way across Texas before she saw some long horns. We saw buffalo, camels, and llamas before we saw a long horn.

Isn’t it interesting that almost every time you talk about driving across Texas, you hear “Dang it is a long way across Texas.” We made it to Dallas last night, went to Daly Plaza and got on the road to Amarillo. We found Palo Duro State Park, the second biggest canyon in the country. We are camping in the bottom of it. I am waiting now on the sun to go down so I can get some sunset pictures on the canyon walls (maybe).

Our gas mileage went way down. There were 40 to 50 mph headwinds most of the way today. The driving was tough. I am worn out. The rain kept us up last night. The wind tossed us about all day. I am going to sleep in a rocking rv tonight.

And finally, in order to beat the others to it. I learned today how close you can pull the rv up to the payment shack. Not That Close! Buddy the RV has a boo boo on his front. I put a big ouch sticker on it along with some 200 mile per hour duct tape. “The boys back at the shop worked real hard this week to give us a good chance with the Numer 17 Dutchman Ford. Daryl got underneath us and took some of the air off the rear. Got us wicked loose. I took the corner a bit too tight and had my mind on getting out my wallet and smashed her up against the wall. Messed up our aerodynamics for a bit till Bubba got some of that 200 mph tape and a sledge hammer and fixed her right up. We’re gonna take her back to the shop this week, tweak the motor and get her ready for Daytona.”

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Wow! That was a storm

We got parked in time for the big one. It hit about 1:00. The RV was rockin and I was up and praying that we would be ok. I was considering the best place to go if the tornado sirens went off. Thank the Lord, we didn't have to find out.

It looks like more bad weather for Memphis and Atlanta today. Maybe Jackson will be spared this second round.

We are up early with the birds and looking for some worms. Our goals today are some sight seeing in Dallas and heading for Amarillo.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Day before the Day we were suppose to leave

Praise God from whom all blessings flow! He answered our prayers for safety thru the storms and amazing gas mileage.

Reports of bad weather in Jackson got us on the road early. We left before the storms hit and dodged them all the way (almost) to Dallas. We are on the outskirts of Dallas hunkered down for the night. We had a 5 minute hail storm while we were gassing up in Brandon on the way out of town and no more bad weather or wind.

I put a budget together for the trip for fuel and for stuff. I figured 6 miles to the gallon for the gas. Our first leg we got a whopping 9.36 mpg. Sounds bad, but when you budget for 6, it is all good.

I am coming up with algebra problems for the kids as we travel. One to help figure out the mileage and stuff, and the other to keep them sharp on math.

We did not see anything or do anything today, just rode. We are about 20% of the way there. Tomorrow I am going knoll hunting with my camera!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Grand Canyon or Bust!

Tiki Travelers is gearing up for the "Grisswald Family Vacation." Starting this Saturday we are climbing in Buddy the RV and heading out west. The ultimate destination is the Grand Canyon. But we are going to see as many other parks, sites, tourist traps, great restaurants, etc. that we can before we return.

We scheduled a whopping 2 weeks for this adventure. We are going to be working on some of our "bucket list" items. Donna's never seen the GC. I've never seen Vegas. I have never ordered a 72oz steak and tried to eat it in one hour. We've never ridden in a helicopter or on a mule. Don't know if we will get the last one or not.

For trip preparation we went on AAA website and planned the route, picking out the various places to see on the way out. We worked on Buddy the RV last weekend getting all the little fix-it things taken care of. We caulked the shower, tried out the water heater, added a bunch of hooks and hangers to take advantage of unused space, and made several minor repairs. Amy and Will worked on dirty spots in the carpet and got Buddy all spic and span. (whatever that means)

Our first destination is Dallas and the Texas Book Depository. I am going to get my picture taken on the grassy knoll. (Why is this called a knoll, why not a hill or spot or exit ramp??? we don't call anything else a knoll that I am aware of ~ just something to ponder).

Friday, April 9, 2010


I admit it. I have it. I have a case of new truck fever. Ever since Andy drove off in MY truck, I've NEEDED to get a new one. Not just any old new one. I want a Ford F-150 King Ranch Crew Cab. If you are going to pray for a new vehicle, it aught to be a good one. (That could go on a T-shirt.)

So what to do? How am I going to get over this new truck fever? Thankfully I have the self control not to raid the kids college fund or our retirement fund to go get one. I haven't had a car note since I finished paying for the truck Andy stole from (got) me. I don't want to borrow money, and I don't have enough laying around. I did check under the sofa, no luck there.

I came across a cure. At least it seems to be working for me. I found this on They recommend making a list of everything that is currently wrong with your car. Stuff that you have been living with cause it was worrysome, but not enough of a burden to fix. Make that list, and start spending on ALL of those repairs. Fix every single thing you can think of that is wrong.

I have two cars to deal with. One is my Harley (convertible). The other is my truck (small SUV). On the car my list includes: brake job; trunk lift supports; new radio with jack for ipod; new ipod; fix the window control; fog light busted; heater is not working; dead battery cell; very dirty finish; windshield wipers.

I put a new battery in it last week. Allen washed it this week. I am buying trunk lift supports on the way home from work today.

When you think about it, we really do some goofy stuff in order to get buy instead of going ahead and fixing stuff that is broken. I have been driving around for 2 years with a large paint stick in my trunk to hold open the trunk lid instead of going to autozone and buying the part that I need to fix it.

When I get done with the car, I am going to start on the SUV. It has major repairs like a new A/C and electrical issues with the transmission and seat controls. But that is another list for later.

I can honestly say that this cure is working. I am over my truck fever. I have good goals to study on car repairs. I am still fervently praying for my King Ranch F-150. And tonight I will have a used paint stirring stick to put on ebay.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Dip Makin and Dry Rub Creation

We found some new spices this week at Rainbow Grocery. Rainbow is where all the hip people in Jackson go to get their groceries, incense, and tofu burgers. They let the rest of us shop there too.

I found some organic adobo spice. I thought it was going to be like the adobo sauce that the chipotole peppers are stored in. Turns out it is pepper, salt, oregano, garlic, onion, and turmeric. I have to be honest, I used it as the only spice this weekend on our steaks. It wasn't right. The steaks were just ok. They needed salt. So, my views on adobo seasoning is, "Ah, it's ok, just remember to use some salt too."

I found roasted garlic granules. These are wonderful. All the flavor of roasted garlic, and none of the work or squishy finger mess. These puppies are very powerful. I mixed them one to one with my other find, chipotole powder to make a spice for chip dip.

The dip was 1 cup of sour cream with 1 tea spoon of garlic granules and 1 tea spoon of chipotole powder. It was way to garlic. I added 1/2 a tea spoon of Cayenne pepper and balanced it out. This dip was good. It grabs the back of your throat on the way down with that good pepper feeling.

My dry rub consist of turbindeno sugar 1/2 cup(I know I misspelled that), cayenne pepper 1 TBs, chipotole pepper 1 TBs, salt 1/2 cup, black pepper 1/2 cup, dry mustard 3 TBs, and paprika 1/2 cup. I chopped it all in a spice grinder to blend. Going to try it on the next batch of ribs.