Monday, January 05, 2009

we miss you, Arizona

We made it home Saturday night. We are becoming more efficient travelers as it only took us 30 hours this time. My goal is 25.
We are not so pleased to be in all this snow and cold and are in the process of figuring out a longer term solution to our aversion to cold weather.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

random sights

It was our last day here, so we found a way to get to this crazy huge baby cutout in the middle of a field next to the freeway. It is something we have been curious about since we first saw it two winters ago. We found a dirt road by an irrigation canal that took us pretty close to it. After playing around by it and snapping lots of pictures, we drove around the area and found some buildings nearby with more fun plywood figures, including a newsboy holding a newspaper that reads, "Big Baby Frightens Freeway Travelers". Also in the area were cabbage farms and lettuce farms and a rose farm which is something I have never seen before. Ila and Mei loved the fields of roses too. Tomorrow we head north again.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

fun with friends

We are lucky to be friends with not just one, but two families who live in this area of Arizona. We are house and cat-sitting for one family right now in Buckeye while they are in Canada. We spent last weekend with the other family at their house in Casa Grandes and then again today. A few of the highlights from our visit to their house was riding their motorcycle and finding a praying mantis (stick bug). We were marveling today at how we were able to do more than one fun thing in one day. We did three fun things today! With kids in tow, our stamina is greatly reduced. We met at North Mountain Park for a picnic, some good quality playground time and a short hike. We then headed to the YMCA for a swim in an outdoor heated pool. It was a beautiful day. After an accidental drive through downtown Phoenix (surprisingly small and traffic-free), we finished the day at Encanto Park feeding birds, having another picnic, taking a walk around the park and playing at another playground. We were all pretty tired and ready for bed by the end. Check out our friend's blog here for her take on the day.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

the Saguaro Cactus

During a recent drive through the desert, passing by the hundreds of saguaro cacti (the plural form of cactus is so awkward), many questions entered my mind. Once again, the world wide web came to the rescue. One article that I came across was particularly helpful. It was written by a 12 year old boy from Arizona who won a Junior Naturalist Award for his article. He answered all my questions.
How old are they before they grow their first arm? 50-75 years old
What is their lifespan? 150-200 years
What causes their erosion/death? sunburn, frost, moth tunnels, nesting by birds such as the Gila woodpecker, bacteria and yeast infections brought to them by the wind or insects.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

We decided to spend the afternoon exploring the desert to celebrate Christmas. But it started raining. But we went anyway. We came across a cotton mill so we stopped to look around. We are hoping that this was not illegal trespassing...although there was no one around we became a little nervous and didn't stay too long.
As you can see in the pictures, Liam was having a great time climbing the mountains of separated cotton seeds.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

the trip so far

Our trip started around 1pm Friday afternoon, despite our intentions to leave early in the morning. There was no trouble at the border, just the same annoying wait for my mug shot and fingerprints and $6USD payment because I am only a permanent resident of Canada and not a citizen. Maybe someday when Denmark will recognize dual citizenship I will take the plunge and become one. We were still in Montana when the sun went down and there was a bit of a snowstorm. The fuse went on the blower on our heater so it wasn't heating the car or defrosting our windows. Our windshield was full of frost, there was blowing snow, it was dark...very poor visibility. I got behind a snowplow (because it had so many lights and was driving slow enough) and followed it off the freeway where Rus found a spare fuse (yippee!) and we were on our way again. There was a moment when we were parked and before Rus fixed the problem, that I was scared. It was so cold.
It wasn't long before we drove past the blizzard and into Idaho. We drove through Utah and Nevada into Arizona, the temperature rising the further south we got. The kids were a little disappointed to be driving through Las Vegas in the daytime. They wanted to see all the lights.
Just outside of Las Vegas on the border into Arizona over the Colorado River lies the Hoover Dam. It is enormous. It's a bit unnerving to stand and look over the side of the bridge. There were helicopter rides being offered for only $30. Maybe we will try it on the way back...we were content with just walking across the bridge. About an hour before arriving at our destination, we were stopped by an Arizona state policeman. The reason for us being pulled over was a burnt-out headlight. He wrote us a repair order for the headlight as well as for the windshield. The crack in our windshield is lower then the wipers, it is not in the line of vision at all so I am not so happy about being forced to repair that. After explaining the repair order procedure he let us go. The next day, our headlight was miraculously functioning again. The crack in the windshield however, had not disappeared. We made it to our friends' house in Buckeye (just southwest of Phoenix) around 10 pm Saturday night. A 33 hour trip with frequent stops for gas, food, baby nursing, etc. Last year the drive down took 36 hours because went to see the Grand Canyon instead of going through Vegas. Since our arrival we have been spending time with our friends (they left for Canada tonight) and not going much further than the local grocery store. We are just happy to be where it's warmer. We played outside in the rain yesterday.
Here is an aerial view of the Hoover Dam, courtesy of Wikipedia.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

it's that time again...

Now that we are in the depths of winter, what better way to deal with it than to escape? This year our migration is only lasting about 2.5 weeks. We will be leaving early Friday morning the 19th and we have to be back January 4th.