Monday, August 1, 2011

Lots to share...

Hi... well.. reading over my post (or shall I say lack of post) I realize that I have been majorly slacking off. I guess I've had a busy summer, so while Emily is sleeping in... i figured I would take a few minutes and write a little down. Our family went on vacation to West Virginia the first week in July for a family reunion. We had a great time. We stayed at a place called Oglebay, it was an up-scale campground. The kind of campground that had everything.. including a museum, a zoo, many shops, a lodge. We stayed in one of their cottages (infact our family rented 3 cottages.... the Roach boys (My husband & his 2 brother's & their families) stayed in one. Pat & Aunt Barbara & Nic stayed in another smaller one. & Our cousin Niki and her family stayed in the last one. It was really nice. We had great weather and did many things... like.. swimming in 3 different pools they had there, going to the museums, their nature center, hiking, the zoo, and just hanging out. Infact they had so much to do there, that even after a week of being there, we still didn't manage to fit it all in. But we did do most of it and everyone seemed to have a great time! I know we did! After that... Emily & I started our own adventure.. Brian couldn't get the time off, so Emily & I made the treck all the way back to New Mexico with Pat! We finally got the opportunity to see where Grandma lives and Emily LOVED it! I actually ENJOYED the roadtrip. Pat was really great at only driving during the day, ( I get a little nervous at night--the big rigs lights freak me out) so we would drive for about 9 or 10 hours during the day and stop at a hotel for the night and start early the next day. This way Emily was able to swim a little each night in the hotel swimming pools. (She has become a fish this summer! I'm quite proud of her!!) Anyway.. we got to New Mexico in 3 days.. which wasn't bad considering we stopped in Missouri & visited a drive thru Cavern! You know the kind with stalagmites and stalagtites.. it was really cool & the only drive thru one! Pat had discovered it & we decided to take the time out and do it. It was a nice break! I enjoyed the pace of this roadtrip more than any other.. Even with the time taken up by the drive there we were still able to spend a week in New Mexico! We had a great time, I really enjoyed the fresh air & look of New Mexico! Although there is sooo much brown! The houses especially where Pat lives are all in the New Mexico style adobe coloring...... so its different shades of browns. But being a bit of a earth tone girl.. i quite liked them! We did many things in New Mexico.. like Museums, a trip to Albuquerque which included another museum, zoo and aquariam! A few of a our day outdoor trips that Pat had wanted us to see had to be cancelled because of the horrible mountain fires they were having, many of the national parks and recreational activities were cancelled.. it was the only vacation i was ever on that RAIN would have been ok. I hated seeing the mountains on fire in the distance.. it was hard to see and hear about, I'm sure worse if you were actually a resident. Pat is quite good at being a "travel" tour guide and took us to see many things.. like petroglyphs and a place where she volunteers and we did a "Josephina" tour. Josephina is based on one of the American girl dolls and we got to see an actual settlement like the ones that are talked about in the books & stories of the time when Josephina would have lived. It was cool.. Emily likes things like that, but when she's had enough, she's had enough.. it's hard to keep her attention for tooo long but she still had a wonderful time! She would have been fine chilling at Grandma's house for the whole trip. She kinda fell in love with a few of Grandma's stuffed animals and was happy making up stories and putting on plays with them at Grandma's house. Pat's house was neat, she collects different Native American & other artwork from New Mexico & her travels and so every where you look in her house there is something neat to see! We had a few chill days at her house just to give Emily the break she needed, it was funny.. we would go to bed sooo early like 9 or 9:30 and wake up like 6:30 or 7:30 am... it really was a laid back kinda trip and it was nice that way. I even read an ENTIRE book... called "the Help" which was really good.. Brian had gotten me a Kindle before we left and that was great for us to have. We went out to eat a few times in New Mexico and each time I was daring and decided to order it like it came to get the "Official" New Mexican cuisine which of course included getting Green & red chile on everything.. i gotta say I LOVED it!!!!! We ate at this place called Harry's Roadhouse which is really POPULAR with the locals. IT was sooo YUMMY!! I got a burrito with green & red chile's! It was my favorite meal of the trip! I just thought YUM the entire time i was eating it.. we also had a great dinner at a place called Maria's where I got fahitas.. they were good too but not like that burrito from Harry's. lol. The last day Monday.. we found out our train home was delayed so Pat suggested we go to "Lotaburger" and get a Green Chile Cheeseburger which is the "OFFICIAL" food of New Mexico.. so we did.. and I quite liked it, but that was the HOTTEST of the green chile's I had eaten and I needed ALOT of ice tea with it!! LoL!! All in all we had a great trip!! I am soo thankful for Pat for putting up with us, I'm sure all she wanted to do after a week of vacationing in WV was relax and she was such a wonderful and gracious host to us!! Thank u PAT!! It meant so much to us that we were there! :) SO after we finally got on the train (it was 3 hours late picking us up in New Mexico) we actually had a good time on the train, atleast for the first leg which was Lamy NM to Chicago IL! They had a few volunteer Forest Rangers on the train who were in the sight seeing lounge car and would give you information on what you were seeing out the train! Also they had a Junior Ranger program, Emily had to finish an activity book and make a pledge and she became a JUNIOR RANGER!!!! She acted like she was receiving the Academy Award when they made the announcement that there was a New JR. Ranger Emily Roach age 10 from Blackwood NJ!! SHe was waving her hand, holding up her plastic badge & grinning from ear to ear!! It was great to see!! Anyway.. like I said we got on that train late but I wasn't too concerned because we had a looooooong layover in Chicago for the second leg on the trip from what was originally suppose to be the last leg of the trip but that was cancelled & IF I had not called the day before we left to check the reservation would have not even known.. SOOOO we ended up having to change it from Chicago to Philadelphia TO Chicago to NYC then NYC to PHiladelphia!! NOT FUN!! Anyway..the 2nd leg was no where as nice as the first leg... this could have had something to do with SLeep depreviation BUT it also was because the staff was unfriendly and we didn't get ANY information (like where we were??? Or lunch or dinner reservations???) it was like night and day difference from the last train to this train. Really made me understand how the East Coast gets the rep they get.. i was hating "us" after this trip! NOT helpful... and towards the end of the 2nd leg.. i was realizing that we would not make the 8:00 depart for the last leg.. so I kinda freaked on the conductor and explained *loudly how absolutely less impressed i was with this train compared to the last one.. & he didn't EVEN try to HELP me!!!! What an ass, he gave me the # to the amtrak to rebook my NYC to PHL portion of the trip! Gee Thanks! Needless to say, I was NOT happY!!!!! But luckily I found out there was a slim chance we would make that train because it was coming in 20 minutes late..... SO if we boogied we might JUST make it! and......... WE DID!!! The conductor was CLOSING the door & I was like "WAIT---WAIT is this the train to PHILADELPHIA!!!!" After being on trains or in train stations for the last 48 hours I was really relieved and happy that we were on that TRAIN!! The cafe cart was EVEN open so Emily and I were actaully able to get dinner since the last trains cafe cart closed well before I knew we were going to be that late and we didn't have the 1 1/2 hours we were suppose to have for a lay over in NYC to eat! We were STARVING!! We split a pizza & were on our way HOME!!! We ended up getting into Philadelphia about 10pm or so and finally seeing Brian!!! We were happy to be HOME!!! But also we really did all in all have a great time.. minus ofcourse the train issues! Emily is already saying she wants to go back to New Mexico!! :)

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