Thrusday, April 12, 2018  

Travel Quote: TRAVEL to as many destinations as possible for the sake of education as well as PLEASURE. ~ Maya Angelou

Selda and I left Santa Fe, New Mexico heading East for Amarillo, Texas. This is the last leg of our Westward Ho Journey. At this point, we had driven 5,097 miles since we left Dallas, Texas on March 27, 2018.

We crossed the state line into the Great State of Texas at approximately 3:13 PM. We got excited. Selda hung her head out the window to take a picture of the Welcome to Texas sign. We stayed in the Embassy Suites (Suite 514) which was the perfect way to end our last night on the road. We were also on a mission to have a steak dinner at The Big Texas Steak Ranch, Exit 75 if you are going East on I 40. This place is well known in Texas as well as being featured by Guy Fieri on The Food Network. It did not disappoint us. One must come and eat here before you go to heaven!!!!!

With God's blessings we will be home in Dallas on Friday, April 13. Thank you Ron and Erwin for posting on the web site, taking care my home and checking in with us. Thank you Shirley for your prayers of traveling grace. And to all who followed us vicariously, thank you for your good wishes.

We thank God for lighting the way to keep us safe and allowing us to return home to our family and friends. We left footprints and only took memories of our journey. We began our Westward Ho journey on March 27, 2018 from Dallas, Texas and visited:

  • Amarillo, Texas
  • Gallup, New Mexico
  • Arizona (drove through the state)
  • Barstow, California
  • Nice, California (condo on Clear Lake for 6 nights)
  • Lincoln City, Oregon
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Mountain Home, Idaho
  • Moab, Utah
  • Dove Creek, Colorado (pinto bean capital of the world!)
  • Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Amarillo, Texas

We returned safely back to Dallas, Texas on April 13, 2018 after traveling approximately 5,456 miles.

Westward Ho!
Nola and Selda

 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018  

Travel Quote: "Land of Enchantment" first appeared on New Mexico license plates in 1941. The State Tourist Bureau and New Mexico magazine first used the phrase "The Land of Enchantment" in 1935 to encourage tourism to the state.

Selda and I got an early start and drove to Madrid, New Mexico. It was approximately 30 minute drive from Santa Fe. This is an artist community. We spent a couple of hours shopping and wandering around.

We left Madrid to return to Santa Fe as our next stop was the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. Her life and paintings are displayed in honor of her legacy which the museum has so respectfully and accurately displayed. She has always been a favorite painter of mine. Prior to our visiting the museum, we had lunch at The Sweet Bakery and cafe. It is next door to the museum. The food is good there. It is in a prime location for tourists and professional people who work in the Plaza and capital area.

After the museum we drove around the Plaza and the buildings of the capital. FYI…Santa Fe is the capital of New Mexico. Life is laid back here. People do not get in a hurry. There are several art galleries, silver and turquoise craftsmen, ancient buildings, American Native Indian shops, and lots of additional specialty stores. We drove along the River Park. Selda took a picture of several sculptures situated along the walk path. We also saw the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. It was built by Archbishop Lamy starting in 1869 and took 15 years to complete. We missed going inside. They closed at 4:00 PM. Santa Fe is a very old town. You can spend several days discovering the history of its inception. It is easy to get around. Enjoy the pictures.

Westward Ho!
Nola and Selda

 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018  

Travel Quote of the day: All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware. — Martin Buber

Sun and blue skies were our constant companion today. Selda and I were in the car by 10:30 AM, driving only 392 miles today to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Dasie, the lady who does all the talking on Selda's GPS, is taking us the most direct route to Santa Fe. We were on highways 409, 46, 64, and finally Interstate 25 heading into Santa Fe. For the first 60 miles, we traveled on some backroads with no name, range cattle, oil pipe line, pot holes, mail boxes, and no sign of human habitation. There was only one white truck that passed us. No worry...we knew we were heading somewhere...just did not where and when we would arrive in Santa Fe. The landscape changes rapidly. We saw huge mesas, mountain ranges, and the ancient solitary stone formations on our journey. As we worked our way through Utah, we were surprised to find ourselves in Colorado. We stopped in Dove Creek, Colorado. It is considered the Pinto Bean Capital of the World. I talked to a young lady and her dog. Her mom lives in Hillsboro, Texas and her dog was adopted from there. We had a heartwarming conversation about our animals. I shared a picture of my Sophie J who was rescued from Hillsboro, Texas. Selda purchased a beautiful original painting from a local artist. We continued on the back roads driving through Colorado. Within a few hours, we entered into New Mexico. 4.5 hours later, we arrived into the city limits of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Colors of the landscape goes beyond imagination. Just have to see it for yourself.

We got checked into our hotel and walked to the Blue Corn Cafe and Brewery. The food was tasty. We met a mother and daughter. The daughter is a glass blower. Her name is Amy "firefly" Griffin. She has a show opening on April 14 called “She Takes Flight.” She has created the human spine out of glass. I also read a flyer that she gave me. In addition, she shared with us her friend’s business in Madrid, New Mexico that specializes in turquoise.

Samantha Brown, the travel person who has her travel show on PBS, has been an inspiration to me. I was able to hear her lecture at the Dallas Travel Show in March 2018. Her words: Look people in the eyes...listen to their story. This is what we have been doing. Selda and I have been blessed to speak with so many interesting people. Their kindness and stories will always be in our hearts. We feel very blessed to be on this travel adventure. Enjoy the pictures. I thank all of my friends who are keeping us in prayer for traveling grace. Thank you Ron for posting.

What are you waiting for? Get out and travel!

Westward Ho!
Nola and Selda

 

Monday, April 9, 2018
Moab, Utah  

Moab, Utah Moab is a city on the southern edge of the Grand Canyon in Eastern Utah in the Western United States. It is the home of the Archers National Park. This is the place you want to come to for all kinds of outdoor sports. Peak season is from February - December. Last week Moab hosted 60,000 people for a Jeep Rally. In a few weeks, they will have another rally. Selda and I got in early, meaning before 11:00 PM. We had a fantastic Mexican dinner at a family-owned restaurant that has been there for 20 years. Israel was our waiter. The margaritas were intoxicating! After dinner, we did laundry and posted on our Westward Ho blog. We will be on the road soon, heading toward Santa Fe, New Mexico. The weather is sunny with blue skies. Enjoy the pictures.

Westward Ho!
Nola and Selda

 

 

Sunday, April 8, 2018  

We were up early this morning leaving Portland, Oregon. We were traveling to Mountain Home, Idaho to spend the night. It is approximately 475 miles. The rain was again our constant companion on the journey. We drove through mountain ranges, causing our ears to pop. In addition, snow was still on the ground when we reached the summits. The speed limit is set for 80 mph. The signs for "chain up" were interesting for conditions of snow/ice on the highway. The surrounding scenery is picturesque. The mountains are majestic. The roads were two lanes on each side. Better for driving. As we neared the Idaho border, we saw fewer of the Red Woods, and the landscape started changing. Our blue Nissan Rouge managed the roads like a fine tuned race car. Please enjoy the pictures.

Westward Ho!
Nola and Selda

 

Saturday, April 7, 2018  

Travel Quote: Great Things never came from comfort zones.

This morning we left Lincoln City, Oregon rolling towards Portland, Oregon facing gusty winds and rain. The Pacific Ocean was certainly demonstrating its force of nature. We drove along the Red Woods Highway. These trees are so ancient, big, and majestic. You just have to see them in person. As we were leaving the city limits of Lincoln City, Oregon, we saw this sign: At this spot we are at the 45th Parallel Halfway between the Equator and North Pole.

We stopped in Eureka, Oregon. I was in need of an oil change with the rental car as it was over 1,000 miles due. We had lunch, did some shopping and within a few hours, we were back on the road. As we rolled onward, The Lady Bird Johnson Grove of Ancient Red Woods took us on a detour off the main highway. We drove up this steep mountain for about 5 miles to a walk over bridge above the highway. In 1968 Lady Bird Johnson dedicated this park. See picture for additional information. Again, the rain continued with us all the way to Portland, Oregon. We checked into our hotel around 1:00 PM. We were then off to have lunch with my brother's family. It was very cold, windy, and raining. After a 4 hour happy celebration with family, Selda and I were off to Washington Square to do some shopping for souvenirs made in Oregon. We headed back to our hotel for a good night’s rest. In the morning (Sunday), we will be on the road to Mountain Home, Idaho.

Westward Ho!
Nola and Selda

 

Friday, April 6, 2018  

Travel Quote: Keep asking directions till you get there.

We began our morning leaving the condo in Nice, California at 7:15 AM in a heavy rain, driving to Lincoln City, Oregon on 101 Pacific Coast Highway. The road has scenic views on either side of the highway and is mostly one lane each way with 45-60 mph speed limits. I will say this: driving the road with its hills and curves, combined with heavy rain in the dark was a nightmare. It took us 12 hours to get to Lincoln City. Our mileage this day was 589 miles. We finally checked into our hotel at 11:45 PM which was located on the beach. Below are pictures along the coast line. I would encourage all to drive on the 101 Pacific Coast Highway in the sunshine.

Westward Ho!
Nola and Selda

 

 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018  

As Willie sings" On The Road Again" we were off towards Muir Woods, California. It is north of San Francisco and part of the Golden Gate area. The drive is scenic. We were blessed to have wonderul weather. We arrived and experienced our first toll bridge across the bay.

Muir Woods is a quaint community. We are driving on a highway which loops around homes built on the hill side. We arrive at Muir Woods National Park. We find out that you need a reservation for parking in the lots. We are told to drive 3 miles down the road and wait till 6:30 PM to come back. Of course this is not an option. We came to a second lot and there we found God's Grace. We were able to park and walk the 1/4 mile to the visitor center. The Sequoia Redwoods are God's trees. You just have to go seem them for yourself. After 3 hours, we were back on the road heading back to our condo in Nice, California. It is about a 2 hour drive. We drove on 101 North for 80 miles and exited on Old River Road which winds around the mountain with hair pin curves for 30 miles. On the drive, we saw 3 deer grazing by the side. The sun is setting...and I want to be off this mountain. It is good to be home. I will blog on Wednesday. We have 2 nights left before we leave on Friday morning, April 6. We will take 101 Pacific Coast Hiway to Lincoln City, Oregon where we will spend the night. Then, on Saturday morning, April 7 we will drive to Portland, Oregon to visit my brother and family. We will spend the night in Portland, Oregon. Then, on Sunday, April 8 we will begin our trip back to Dallas.

Westward Ho!
Nola and Selda

 

Monday, April 2, 2018  

We are up early and out the door by 7:30 AM. Our destination today is Mariposa, California. This is the south entrance to Yosemite National Park. We have reservations at Best Western. It is about a 3 hour drive. Blue sky, puffy clouds, bright sunshine will be our companions on our journey today.

An interesting milestone to mention is in the town of Merced, California. The Fancher Obelisk. In the early 1900's he set aside $25,000 to build a tomb in his honor for him. The story of this obelisk is interesting. Our drive is on 101 North. It takes us through the agricultural center of the state with orange trees, almond trees, and grape vines on either side of the road. At times, Selda could have reached her hand out of the passenger sided of the car and touched the branches of the trees. We were that close. We stopped at the tourist center in Mariposa, California for information about the park. Mr. Dean Carlson was very helpful. I am including a picture of him, as he went above and beyond to provide outstanding custumer service to a traveler. We did not know the Sequoia Redwoods grove would be closed. It opens in June. There were a few we could have hiked in to see within 3 miles each way. Of course this ruled us out. I was in shock! The main purpose of this trip was to see the trees. After several minutes, Mr. Carlson could see my distress. When I was able to speak, I shared with him that we had driven from Dallas, Texas to see the Sequoia Redwood grove. He immediately came up with plan B. He suggested that we drive to San Francisco, to the Muir Woods Grove. It is about a 2.5 hour drive. He even printed out a map for us.

We initially had reservations for 2 nights at the Best Western. He called the hotel and we were able to cancel our 2nd night without a charge. So, we proceeded to explore Yosemite National Park for the remainder of the day. We were guided to Charlies Restuart on the main street for dinner in the evening by our host at the hotel. We were given a card and presented it at the restaurant. We had a choice of free wine or desert. Of course we choose desert! At the end of the day, visiting the park and having a marvelous meal fulfilled our dreams of seeing God's creation in Yosemite Park. I encourage all to visit our national parks. Selda and I observed many visitors from Europe here on holiday. And, make sure you research information regarding thetime you are going to visit!

Saturday, March 31, 2018  
Sacramento, California

Travel Quote: "My favorite travel moment is PAUSING my every thoughts. PAUSING to take in the character of the place. PAUSING to feel collective experiences and journeys of thousands before me. PAUSING to revere nature and her creations; PAUSING to honor man and his inventions." ~ Ketki Sharangpani

We stayed at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel in Sacramento, California. Our morning began with having coffee in bed. We slept in and got some well deserved rest. Our condo in Nice, California will not be ready for check in till after 4:00 PM. We checked out of our room by 11:00 AM. The hotel gave us cookies for our journey! They make the best.

We went across the street to a mall which had every store imaginable in it. We had lunch in the food court. After lunch we began the 2.5 hour final leg of our journey to Nice. Our drive was filled with fruit trees, grape vines, and mountains. The scenery will forever leave an imprint on our brains. We drove through curves like hair pins to the top of the mountain and then proceeded to wind down to the valley. I pulled over several times for Selda to get lots of pictures. There are several acres we saw which had experienced forest fire. I am so grateful I did not do this drive in the dark of night.

We will be home-based until April 7 at the WorldMark by Wyndham Clear Lake in Nice, California. We are in a 2 Bedroom/2 bath two story condo that also includes a washer/dryer. The resort sits on Clear Lake and we have the lake view from our living room. One bedroom/bath is downstairs and the other is upstairs. This condo is bigger than my home in Dallas. We feel like ROCK STARS!

Selda and I will regroup for the next 24 hours. We will begin our plans for visiting Yosemite National Park to see the wonders of the sequoia trees. Tomorrow is Easter Sunday. God has blessed us. We are thankful.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Selda and I wish everyone a Happy Easter."

Westward Ho!
Nola and Selda

 

 

Friday, March 30, 2018  
Barstow, California

Travel Quote: "Travel to inspire and to be inspired."

We are leaving Barstow, California this morning. The weather is clear and sunny. It is warming up quicker as we continue our way on 99 North. The high today was 88. I am pulling over for Selda to take photos. The mountains are steep. There are several hundred wind mills on the mountain tops. The landscape is changing every mile we take. As we climb up the mountain and then circle down...we find our-self in the valley of priceless agriculture. Fruit trees, nuts and grape vines.

We are entering the town of Delano, California. Population around 52K. We pulled off to gas up and attend Good Friday service at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. Selda and I soaked in the peaceful quietness of the service. You would just have had to been there to experience the moment of this special Good Friday. After service we continued our journey on 99 North towards Nice, California. Our journey took us through Selma, California the raisin capital of the world. We had lunch in Fresno, California around 4:30 PM. We have 123 miles heading toward Sacramento, California the capital . I have reviewed our check in date for Nice, and see that I have made a mistake. We check in March 31... not March 30. So, we have reservations a Double Tree Hilton property tonight.

Westward Ho!
Nola and Selda

 

 

Thursday, March 29, 2018  
Barstow, California

Travel Quote: "A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles." ~ Tim Cahill

Up and out on the highway with perfect weather. Today we drove from Gallup, New Mexico to Barstow, California, approximately 540 miles as the crow flies. Driving down the I-40 West highway is picturesque. Selda took a great picture of the San Francisco Peak mountains, just north of Flagstaff, Arizona.

History Note: Once the fiery center of one of Arizona's most explosive volcanoes, the summits surrounding the now dormant inner core stand guard, protecting land that the native people of Arizona consider to be so sacred it is where earth meets heaven. The Navajo consider them to be the most sacred in all the West and their medicine men use the herbs collected from the mountaintop in healing ceremonies. They view the rising peaks as a holy landmark directing others to this sacred place. The Hopi believe the Kachina spirits live at the top of the mountain, gracefully moving through the clouds from summit to summit. The Kachinas are honored and revered here, in hopes that they will bless the crops below with a quiet rain that will ensure strong growth and healthy lives. The Zuni, Havasupai and Yavapai-Apache also consider these graceful remnants of the volcanic highlands to be sacred and return regularly to pray and honor the spirits that dwell there.

We stopped in Kingman, Arizona for lunch about 57 miles from Flagstaff. We at at Cracker Barrel, which is Selda's favorite place. With it's location just off of I-40 West, the city is a very busy hub for industry. Located about 100 miles from Las Vegas, it is home to an air port for Fedx, and American Home Cabinetmakers which sells to Loews and other retailers. There is a large population of retires located here. Barstow, California is 235 miles down the road.

We crossed the California state line and to our surprise we had to stop at a check point. I guess, we looked harmless...they smiled and passed us on. Barstow is the home of the Marine Corps Logistic Base. We arrived at our hotel, California Inn. Great place. Lots of restaurants within walking distance. Tomorrow we will move on to Nice, California. This is where we will base out of for the next week.

Westward Ho!
Nola and Selda

 

 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018  
Gallup, New Mexiso

We started our morning at the Big Cross in Groom. This display of the stations of the cross, the Crucifixion, and the tomb is emotional and affects the human soul. We spent over an hour here today. This is Holy Week...Selda and I connected spiritually through a sense of purpose being here today.

We left Groom making our way to Gallup, New Mexico. We stopped several timesalong the way. When we reached Albuquerque, New Mexico, we stopped and asked a local for a great place to eat Mexican Food. They suggested Sadie's off of I-40 West. The food was great and very large portions. I had the chef salad. Selda had achicken enchilada with beans and potatoes. The hot sauce was HOT! They also brought you home made sopaipillas, which were fantastic.

It was a long day on the road. We finally arrived in Gallup at 10:30 PM. Our hotel, Fairfield Inn by Marriott, is located just off historic Route 66, and is great. In the morning, we will be heading out for Barstowe, California, about 546 miles from here.

Thank you to Ron, who is very generous and kind to post these updates.

Westward Ho!
Nola and Selda

 

 

 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018  
Amarillo, Texas

Travel Quote of the Day: " Traveling is not something you're good at. It's is something you do. LIKE BREATHING!!!!"

Good morning from Amarillo, Texas. Thought we would never make it. Selda's flight came into Love Filed around 4:00 PM on Tuesday, March 27. We immediately hit the road. Extreme rain all the way to Amarillo. 12 midnight, we checked into the Comfort Inn. Sometimes I could only go 50 miles/hour. The speed limit is 75 once we got out of Dallas, which took over an hour because of the rain. It is a cool 36 here this morning, and the sun is shining at this moment. Our room is great. The complimentary breakfast was good. We will be leaving here around 9:30 AM, driving to see the Big Cross in Groom, TX. I have been here once before. We are going to visit now, as do not know what the weather will be on the way back. I suggest going if you ever come this way to visit.

Our destination today is Gallup, New Mexico. We will be staying at the Fairfield Inn and Suites. 462 miles...and adding on Groom, Texas ...another 49 miles. We are traveling during Holy Week. Stopping in Groom will be a spiritual experience for us this morning.

Westward Ho!
Nola and Selda

 

Monday, March 26, 2018  
Dallas, Texas

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you did not do than by the ones you did do. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." ~ Mark Twain

Selda and I are heading West to explore, dream, and discover America's people and landscape. Nice, California will be our home base. We are driving from Dallas, Texas. One main objective is Yosemite National Park. Sequoia Trees and Redwoods. Of course anything else we encounter will be a blessing.

Samantha Brown, host of Travel with Samantha Brown stated "it is important to experience the emotions of People...Culture...when you travel. Look them in the eye and listen to their story."

Selda will arrive at Love Field in the afternoon of Tuesday, March 27. I will pick her up and we are on the road. Will stop in Amarillo, Texas for the night. The goal is to be in Nice, California by Friday evening to check in. Keep us in traveling grace.

 

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