Friday, July 17, 2015

Disney Cruise and Western U.S. Trip Report - Day 1

I wish I was better at recording my vacations in written form, but I’m going to try to record all the wonderful (and not-so-wonderful) things that happened during The Horton Family’s Marvelous Adventures West…which included a 7-night cruise on The Disney Wonder, sailing to Alaska.

First, an overview in order to keep my memory somewhat organized

June 25, 2015 – Parrish’s 34th birthday and our departing from Fort Worth Day.  Spent the night in Farmington, New Mexico
June 26, 2015 – Farmington, NM to Ogden, Utah
June 27, 2015 – Ogden, Utah to Vancouver, BC, Canada
June 28, 2015 – Day in Vancouver/Victoria, BC
June 29, 2015 – Debarkation Day
June 30, 2015 – Day at Sea
July 1, 2015 – Tracy Arm, Alaska (essentially a day at sea with great scenery)
July 2, 2015 – Skagway, Alaska (with lots of rain.  Overall a Thumbs-Down)
July 3, 2015 – Juneau, Alaska (Deluxe Tour of Juneau Port Adventure)
July 4, 2015 – Ketchikan, Alaska (Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show Port Adventure)
July 5, 2015 – Day at Sea
July 6,  2015 – Debarkation Day; Vancouver, BC to Salem, Oregon
July 7, 2015 – Voodoo Doughnuts in Eugene, Oregon; Giant Redwoods in California (none of which we got photos of); scary mountain driving; Salem, Oregon to Sacramento, CA
July 8, 2015 – Sacramento, CA to Las Vegas, NV
July 9, 2015 – Day in Las Vegas
July 10, 2015 – Las Vegas, NV to Winslow, AZ; Hoover Dam & Grand Canyon
July 11, 2015 – Winslow, AZ to Amarillo, TX
July 12, 2015 – Amarillo, TX to Home

Secondly, an overview of our cast of characters

Me – Deedee, single, 39
Sister – Parrish, single,  mom to Ellie, 34 as of Day 1
Niece – Ellie, daughter of Parrish.  4, almost 5.  Light of my Life!
Mom – Candy, married to Tom (Dad) turned 67 on Embarkation Day
Dad – Tom, married to Candy (Mom), 73 also awesome

Day 1, Thursday, June 25, 2015  
We drove  to Canada, in two cars.  This is due mostly to the fact that Dad is a wheelchair driver and has a large electric wheelchair which takes up most of the back of his accessible van.  Mom and Dad drove  in their car, we three girls drove in Parrish’s mid-size SUV. 

We planned to leave at 6 AM.  When The Hortons make grand plans to leave early, they typically fail.  Somehow, this time we managed.  We pulled out of the driveway around 6:08.  This was after planting birthday cards for Parrish in her car AND having to chase my parents down the street because they failed to shut the driveway gate behind my car once I drove it in for safe keeping.  We hit the Sonic drive-thru for some greasy fast food breakfast, then we were off.

The Texas leg of our journey went off without a hitch.  We stopped in Amarillo around noon for lunch at a restaurant we had frequented on our trips to and from New Mexico during my high school years.  The place:  Calico County.  It had lived in our memories for years as some sort of legendary country cooking icon of greatness.  It did not, however, live up to my memories of it. 

Due to 75 MPH + speed limits, the trip went really quickly.  We finally hit New Mexico, which I think we were all looking forward to.  We had plans to drive to Albuquerque, then up through Farmington, which is where we lived 20 some years ago.  The original plan was to stay in Albuquerque for the night and drive through Farmington on our way to Utah the next day.  We were making such good time that we changed plans and decided to stay in Farmington.  There is a stretch of road between Albuquerque and Farmington that is basically nothing and requires a 3 hour drive.  On the second half of that, I was driving, and suddenly, we had a flat.  In the middle of nowhere.  We were going to call roadside assistance, and wait for however many 500 years it took them to reach us.  Fortunately, a state trooper pulled up behind us shortly thereafter and spent the better part of an hour changing the tire.  Yeah, we both probably should learn how to do that ourselves….

Ellie really wanted her picture taken with these "horsies" outside of a gas station somewhere in New Mexico.  :/

Finally, with another 80-90 miles to go, we were back on the road.  Driving at about 34 MPH due to the temporary spare on the car.  We finally reached Farmington and not much had changed in the two decades since I’d last been there!  We decided we’d (okay, Parrish would) get the tire replaced as soon as Wal-Mart opened up in the morning, at some Burger King, then hit the hay.

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