March 2007 - 4:00 AM Up for the Train

4 am comes awful early, especially after a night of celebration....but knowing that we'll be on a train for the next 38 hours, we'll be able to sleep and rest so off we go.

Roadway Inn - Flagstaff, AZ
Everything is packed and we head to the car to load up and head to the station, which is only a few blocks away.  While checking to make sure we have everything we have notice one bag was left behind, the most important one because it held our train tickets.  Court heads back to the room, puts the card key in the slot and it doesn't open the door.  He tries over and over but nothing happens - okay so we look at the window to see if we can jack that open to get and we can't so we start freaking out, just alittle.  We head over to the motel office and on the window it states they are closed until 6 am, this won't work because as I said our train leaves at 6 am.  So we start banging on the door, ringing the bell over and over and banging on the window.

The clerk comes to this little window and begins to tell us they are closed so we frantically tell him what's happened and he FINALLY gives us another key to try and it works!!!!  Let's get going....

Flagstaff, AZ
So we arrive at the station with plenty of time to spare thank God, I just hate being late for anything.....

Our train arrives Amtrak Santa Fe Super Chief.  We didn't get a suite we just took regular seats and since it wasn't full we each had 2 seats for which we could stretch out on and sleep at night. The trip was both exciting and uneventful making several depot stops along the way......

Depot in Albuquerque, NM
Stopover in Kansas City, Missouri

Rounding the bend
ending in Chicago for the night we get into Union Station. 

We decided to extend the trip and stay in Chicago for the night, something we did alot when we lived in Indiana.  We would take the Amtrak from Lafayette to Chicago and just explore. 

We stayed at the Chicago Hyatt and walked Michigan Avenue "The Magnificent Mile" which I always loved to do.
So many cool things to look at.....and of course our visit wouldn't be complete if we didn't eat at the Billy Goat Tavern.   

(Taken from the Billy Goat web site)
Ever hear of the "Curse of the Billy Goat," also known as the Cubs Curse?

Do you recall the Saturday Night Live sketch in which a short order cook would yell out to incoming patrons:

"Cheezborger! Cheezborger! No fries, cheeps! No Pepsi, Coke!"?

All of the above have one thing in common: the World Famous Billy Goat Tavern, a Chicago legend since 1934

As I said before, we used to go to Chicago quite often so we are no strangers to the town including walking Lower Wacker Drive and all the way down to Navy Pier, etc., but this time was different.  We started walking from our hotel and wanted to do our regular route but along came this guy, as soon as we left the hotel he was right behind us.  We get past the Wrigley Building and head to the Billy Goat and he's still behind us, which really wouldn't be too odd, but all of a sudden I decided to turn around and ask what his deal was.  He asked if we were from here and being pretty savvy to these things we said yes we where and he said not to worry he didnt' have a gun and Court immediately said he had one on him and with that the guy just walked away.

Needless to say we no longer felt as secure, safe and confident as we had in the past so instead of spending more time than needed we just went to the Billy Goat, had dinner and headed back to the hotel.    In all the years we have been going to Chicago, this was the first time we didn't feel comfortable.  So to bed we go - off to Lafayette to get the car and visit some friends - then back to Utah

March 2007 - From Kanab to Lafayette, Indiana and Back

We've been working long enough to save enough money to go back and get our car out of storage in Lafayette, Indiana.  We decide to take Amtrak from Flagstaff, Arizona to Chicago to Lafayette.

Our journey begins on an early morning in March, 2007.  Our boss takes us to Page, Arizona and to the airport to pick up a rental to go to Flagstaff.  We luck out and get a convertible Mustang - RED, absolutely beautiful and the weather was perfect to have the top down.  It takes about 3 hours to get to Flag and the train didn't leave until 6 am the next day anyway, so we were able to take our time and go through the Grand Canyon South Rim (we still like the North Rim better).

Flagstaff, Arizona is home to Northern Arizona University  so there are several bars full of college students and it was a blast.  There are a few old, really old historic hotels in town that we would have stayed at, but we were on a budget so we stayed at the least expensive one for us this time - maybe we'll stay at the others another time.

October - December 2006 - Ramblings from the past -

Ralphie as a kitten
So we are coming to the end of our first Workamping job and oddly we've fallen in love with Kanab and Utah.  The country is absolutely beautiful and very spiritual so we make the decision that this is where we'd like to make a new life ...... at least for now.  The little kitten that would follow us to the end of the road when we walked to work eventually found his way not only into our hearts, but into our home as well. Bud and Fuzzle were very accepting of him so our brood grew from 2 to 3 and he was christened Ralphie. 

Fuzzle and Ralphie
I have to say that fall, winter and the holidays in this area are pretty.  We had a very light snow that just dusted the mountains and along with the red rock colors was beautiful.  It was too cold, but cold enough that I wish I had brought our cold weather clothes with us - this is the sunny southwest right?  We decorated the right for Christmas as much as we could.
First snow in Kanab - for us

At the end of the season, the Lodge closes and now what do we do for money.  Court is lucky enough to be kept on in maintenance I take a job at Zions Bank Call Center.  It seems a fairly easy job and pays really well, but after I'm on the job for a month it's not exactly me.

It's very mechanical and if you don't follow the script they ding you, that's right.  You have people listening in on your calls to make sure you follow exactly what they have scripted - go off that script and you get notified by your supervisor that you aren't doing your job correctly.  This is crap to me...I am big in providing excellent customer service and not sounding like some robot so you can imagine the hard time I had with this only get a potty break after you ask for it and then they keep track of the time you spend in the bathroom, how long you are away from the desk....ridiculous, but I stuck with it until the Lodge opened again in March and back we go.

To our surprise we were offered the Head Housekeeping position and of course we took it as it meant alittle more money and alittle more control over some of the staff that were taking advantage of the the place which in our opinion was rampant - and it wasn't only in housekeeping but in most of the departments as well.

So yet another new chapter in our lives begins - little did we know at the time just how much our lives would change in the near future.

August 2006 - Western Legends Life Goes On

August 2006

It's after Western Legends and everyone is ready for a rest, but this time of year is the busiest part of the year for tours and other travelers.  Around the end of August everyone is scrambling to get in one last vacation before school starts so we are busy with families.  Our tours are mostly if not all European and Asian.  Most of the tours only stay one night and every once in a while maybe 2 but we are always full , 89 rooms full most every day.

Since we didn't bring our car with us we rented a jeep to go exploring.  Our first trip would take us to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon

It was windy I remember that day, my nemisis.  As we leave Kanab we go through Fredonia, Arizona, Jacob Lake where the Jacob Lake Lodge and Restaurant is and offers both cabins and hotel rooms as well as a campground for accommodations. The Restaurant has to die for cookies and is a great place for a rest stop on the way to the North Rim.  The Kaibab National Forest has various places for camping they are forest service roads and the Kaibab Lodge also offer rustic accommodations and then into Grand Canyon National Park, the Lodge and it's cabins, some of them on the edge of the canyon offer the most fantastic views.  The North Rim of the Grand Canyon, sometimes referred to as the "other" Grand Canyon, is less populated with visitors and uniquely different from the South Rim.
Grand Canyon North Rim