Grand Canyons – 1 and 2

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We   S T R E T C H E D   O U T    our trip for as LONG as we could! 8  3/4 weeks (61 Days) and 8,990 miles (a little over 1,000 miles per week); and yes, ONE of the main highlights of our trip was to get home!

From the Grand Canyon, Williams AZ , Barb and I both encountered some health issues that slowed us down; her vertigo came back with a vengeance, and my lower back went nearly “kaput” loading our generator.

When we did arrive home, both of us fell into the “tired pit” and the walls came tumbling down; we are just now able to dig our way to “daylight”.

Sorry for the delay in getting this blog report out to you; we appreciate your patience.  Both of us are recovering.

 August 12 Tuesday

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This morning we said goodbye to our dear friends, Dwain & LuAnn & left for Kingman, Arizona.. We left the beautiful mild weather of California for the Mojave Desert of Arizona with temps in the high 90’s. On our way to Kingman, we drove through the Mojave Desert We arrived in Kingman at the Ft. Beale RV park  (one of the nicest parks where we have stayed) late in the afternoon, so we had time to set up and rest for the night.

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August 13 Wednesday


This was a day of rest; we were so unaccustomed to the heat and we have been traveling 5 weeks straight so we just stayed holed up in the camper trying to recover from our journeys & exhaustion.


August 14 Thursday


This morning we rested and in the late afternoon when it was a little cooler; a “cold” front was coming in the evening.  We decided to visit the old Railroad Depot Museum there in Kingman and then check out the Route 66 memorabilia at the Quality Inn, where they displayed more items than many of the Route 66 Museums.

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We learned that Andy Devine, the actor who had played Roy Rogers sidekick, had lived in Kingman for many years and the main street was named after him. John also went to another Route 66 landmark, Mojave Cultural Museum  & learned about the Native American culture.


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This caboose was at the Mohave Museum . . .  a fascinating place to spend a few hours in Kingman, AZ.

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This painting sure looked 3 Dimensional
This painting sure looked 3 Dimensional

August 15 Friday

We left this morning for Williams where we would spend 3 nights at the Grand Canyon Railway RV park. We only had a short drive so arrived there in time to unhook our camper and drive 65 miles to the South Rim entrance of the Grand Canyon. We were only able to photograph Pipes Creek and Duck on a Rock before it became too dark.

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August 16 Saturday


We arrived at the Grand Canyon Railroad Station by  9am to board our train leading to the Grand Canyon. It was a 2 hour ride in a vintage 1920’s non-air conditioned Pullman car. There was even a staged train robbery so you can imagine the hardships that the people must have endured.


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The number 7 occurred “naturally”; God put His own stamp on the Grand Canyon!!!!


Natural Wonders of the World

In 1997, CNN announced a listing of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

Grand Canyon
The Great Barrier Reef
The Harbor at Rio de Janeiro
Mt. Everest
Northern Lights
Paricutin Volcano
Victoria Falls


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August 17 Sunday

Following the 4 hour round trip train ride to and from the Grand Canyon and the nearly 4 hours on the bus tour combined with the high humidity and temperatures, we exhaustedly just plain rested all day. Whew!



August 18 Monday


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We left this morning for Albuquerque and stopped in Flagstaff for lunch at the Route 66 Galaxy Diner. Historic Route 66 memorabilia was everywhere in the Diner! After a delicious lunch of burgers, fries & a large chocolate malt (which we SHARED, you remember, the “two straws in the soda” thing), we headed for the Painted Desert.

On the way, we saw the picturesque San Mateo mountain range which seemed to extend for miles.

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We entered the Visitor Center there and really wanted to take the 25 mile drive around to see the Petrified Forest as well but time did not permit.

We finally arrived at our High Desert RV park in Albuquerque where we rested well for our next day’s adventure.


August 19 Tuesday


Later in the afternoon, we went to Albuquerque Old Town for a few hours, drove through and photographed the Coronado Statues  & an adobe hacienda.

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August 20 Wednesday


We left for Amarillo, Texas and stopped in historic Santa Rosa, New Mexico where John photographed a Route 66 restaurant and we toured the Historic Route 66 Auto Museum.

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Our next stop was in Tucumcari where we ate a delicious Mexican lunch at Del’s Diner located right on Route 66. Across the historic route was an restored Route 66 Texaco Station and just down the street the famous Blue Swallow Motel. John enjoyed photographing those historical landmarks.

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IMG_4439 Blue Swallow Motel Tucumcari NM web

We specifically planned to photograph the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, NM because of the life and testimony of Mrs. Redman.  From their website, here is a copy of her Benediction she placed in every room. RIP Mr. & Mrs. Redman and thank you for caring for so many folks.


Lillian Redman’s Blue Swallow Benediction

Lillian Redman Postcard When Lillian ran the Blue Swallow Motel, each guest was provided with a copy of this benediction.   A printed copy is in each room today.

Greetings Traveler:
In ancient times, there was a prayer for “The Stranger Within our Gates.” Because this motel is a human institution to serve people, and not solely a money-making organization, we hope that God will grant you peace and rest while you are under our roof.

May this room and motel be your “second” home. May those you love be near you in thoughts and dreams. Even though we may not get to know you, we hope that you will be as comfortable and happy as if you were in your own house.

May the business that brought you this way prosper. May every call you make and every message you receive add to your joy. When you leave, may your journey be safe.

We are all travelers. From “birth till death,” we travel between the eternities. May these days be pleasant for you, profitable for society, helpful for those you meet, and a joy to those you know and love best.

Sincerely yours,  Lillian Redman (owner of the Blue Swallow Motel from 1958-1998)

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We finally arrived at Palo Duro State Park in Canyon, Texas about 25 miles south of Amarillo. When we scheduled our visit here, we were not aware that this park is considered to be the Grand Canyon of Texas. We were really surprised when we entered the park & drove our camper to our campsite at the bottom of the canyon. What we saw was really mind-blowing. Although the canyon is not as deep as Grand Canyon, it certainly lives up to it’s name.  The Grand Canyon in Arizona is over 5,000 feet deep; the Grand Canyon of Texas is over 600 feet deep. Not everything in Texas is bigger; but the Palo Duro State Park is beautiful and very deserving of its nickname:  The Grand Canyon of Texas.


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August 21 Thursday


We left around 10am to drive the canyon so we could get some morning photos. As you can see, the park is filled with steep mountains warning of falling rocks & narrow ridges. Very much like the Grand Canyon but not as large. After we finished photographing as much as we could, we drove back down to our campsite. It was so hot that we just wanted to get cool.



August 22 Friday


We left Texas for our next destination in Ada, Oklahoma where we were looking forward to spending some quality time with Scott, John’s oldest son & his precious 10 yr. Old daughter, Rachael. We arrived at our Twin Lakes RV park in Ada that afternoon & set up our camper. We rested that night for we knew that the next 2 days would be busy.


August 23 Saturday


This morning, we met Scott & Rachel at a park in Ada, went for a late lunch at Appleby’s & dinner at Mazios’.


August 24 Sunday


We visited the First Baptist Church in Ada, which has an outstanding music program, 70 voice choir, full orchestra & dynamic pastor. We really enjoyed the service then left to meet Scott & Rachel for a drive to Sulphur Springs to see the Chickasaw Cultural Center there. We saw the film, ”Facing the Storm”, the history of the Bison in America. We learned that as long as they are in the boundaries of Yellowstone, the Tetons & private reserves, they are protected, but if they wander outside of the perimeters, they may be hunted down.


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August 25 Monday

We left for Eureka, Kansas to spend some time with John’s middle son, Jamie. John spent several hours discussing some of the technical points of photography with Jamie, who has taken an avid interest in the hobby in the past few years.


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August 26 Tuesday


We worked & completed our San Diego blog thanks to Jamie’s internet.  Lack of available internet and cell phone service proved to be the most severe handicap of our journeys.


August 27 Wednesday

Preparing to start the “re-entry phase” back into the real world, we paused at one of our favorite Quiet Spots . . . just to pause and come back into reality slower. IMG_4877


We left for Roaring River State Park near Cassville, Missouri , about a 4 hour drive. We stayed 3 nights here at this peaceful park at our campsite.

We asked Barb’s sister Susan & her hubby, Russell to join us on his day off work and they were able to stay in a nice cabin up the hill. When John & I were first dating, they brought us here and we have many fond memories of our time together. We arrived at our campsite in the early afternoon, set up our camper & then went over for a hot dog dinner with Susan & Russell.

A very dear friend of John’s, Dr. Paul Busiek, a former member of the Missouri House of Representatives, was influential in getting the conference center named: “Emory Melton Inn & Conference Center“.

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Dr. Paul Busiek at the sign.



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We are now home, in Branson, MO and our next adventure is some months away.  We will keep you posted when the cameras start clicking again.  We hope you have enjoyed our PhotoMural USA Travelogue as much as we have enjoyed bringing it to you.  Please feel free to share this link with anyone you choose.

John and Barb Freed