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Monday, 30 April 2012

Mixed Monday

We started the day by waving Spencer off, back to school for his last term.

Dave then set up the archery which Ross really enjoyed. 

Calvin assumed his role of BBQ chef.

We didn't leave the house until at least 2 o'clock and we headed to the mountain park for a walk, and a sit down!  Ross found a great tree to climb too.

 We were planning on driving to Bakersfield to shop but in the end no one wanted the long drive and we decided that Tehachapi had all that we needed.  

(Especially if you were to need giant camping chairs)

We took Dave and Amy out to eat and they chose their favorite Mexican Restaurant.
The food was so good! 

(sorry about the blurriness--my camera prefers to be outside)

Although this was a rest day we crammed lots in and were exhausted by the end of it.

Get ready for the start of holiday number 3 tomorrow

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Easter Sunday

We woke to a beautiful Sunday morning and ate breakfast on the decking before heading off to Sacrament meeting.  I forgot to say yesterday that Spencer had come home for the weekend to spend time with us.

After church we drove to red rock canyon.  It was really hot but Ross and Spencer decided to climb to the top.  The rest of us explored the lower levels and found a little shade.

We had a hot dog picnic which was really fun.

We then drove out to this mining ghost town, Randsburg.  It was fascinating if a little eerie. 

Shooting, Fishing, Paddling and the Most amazing Views

So now we are in California with our friends the Jernigan Family.  Their son Spencer served the first part of his LDS mission in our little branch in Milford Haven and spent his first Christmas away from home with us.
This is the view that we woke up to!

And this is the magical cabin that Dave and Amy live in.  It is so peaceful and was the perfect place to relax after our long journey.

They had lots of boys stuff planned for our first day.  They live in a gated valley and the shooting range and lake are part of that community.  

This was the best kayak in the world

Amy, Martha and I went into town while the guys did their thins and in the evening we just chilled out with a movie.  This place is different from the first part of our trip, it felt like a completely different holiday. 

Friday, 27 April 2012

Goodbye and Hello

It was time to leave Arizona and our great hosts, Rex and Linda (and Grandpa)
We were sad to leave them.  They and their family and friends were so welcoming to us and went out of their way to make sure we had a fantastic time.
We had a few tears as we said goodbye.

Here we are in Joshua tree National park and this is a Joshua tree.  Not quite what some of us expected.....ok so it was me, I thought that there was only one Joshua tree in the world, hence he U2 album title, THE Joshua Tree.  There are however millions of them.

Here is our attempt at the afore mentioned album cover.

The making of this photo was very amusing as the wind was blowing very hard, there should be a hat in the picture but it blew away!

These roads seemed to go on forever.

We passed through 29 Palms (Robert Plant song playing as we drove into the very strange town)

Also we made our second tiny trip on Route 66 in Barstow.

Eventually we rolled up at our friends, the Jernigans, in Tehachapi in the dark at about 8pm.  Can't wait to show you the view that we woke to on Saturday morning

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Family Day

We spent Thursday with my Grandmothers cousin, Phylis, and her son Tracy.  We had such a great day.  They showed us around their complex on the golf buggy.  We were fascinated with all the facilities they have access to.  They made us feel so welcome.  I have met Phylis before when she has been over to visit and it was like we were never apart, she and Tracy made us so welcome and we got on really well.  You can really see the family resemblance in her to my Granny.

Later that day we were able to take Phylis to the Easter Pageant at the Mesa Temple.  450 church members take part in this portrayal of the Saviour's life.  It was marvellous and I was so glad that Phylis could be with us a bit longer.

We interrupt this broadcast.......Birthday Alert

Taking a quick break from the holiday......

Martha and Calvin are celebrating their birthdays today.

 Here is the cake, a book for the book worm!
if you look closely you will see where it broke in half as I was getting it out of the tin!

Recharging, Retail therapy and Rockin' R

We were all really keen to visit the Mesa Temple while we were there, it is beautiful.  It looks very different from our Temples in London and Preston.  Even though it is in a busy area it is so peaceful with lovely gardens all around, it was a great place to recharge ourselves as we were all quite tired from the day before.  Linda took care of Martha and helped her buy presents for her church primary class and teachers while calvin and I took the boys inside. 

In the afternoon we headed out to a western clothing store for Calvin to have his "midlife crisis" and purchase his cowboy boots.

"Do my legs look short in these?"

An excellent choice!

That evening Rex and Linda treated us to a western dinner show at "The Rockin' R Ranch"

Here they are chilling with Gareth and Calvin.  He wore his boots as you can see.

We all enjoyed the whole evening. I panned for gold and found some! The boys shot pistols, Calvin was called up on stage to twirl ropes, Ross loved the food, Gareth enjoyed the music, Martha got to wear her hat and bandana and we all learned the Arizona State song.
oooooo, ooo, ooo, ooo, Arizona.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The "Grand" Day Out

Linda went out and bought doughnuts for our early breakfast before we left for the Grand Canyon.  We left soon after 8am hoping to be there at about lunch time!!!

This is near Sedona.  The red rock landscape was fascinating.

We stopped so many times and saw so many interesting sights.  Montazuma Castle and the Native American Indian Stalls were just two of our stops.

We made it to Williams by lunch time and had a short trip on Route 66 and a stop at the souvenir shop.

Eventually we made it to the IMax theatre to see the Grand Canyon Movie Experience.  Then with a bit of direction from a tour guide we headed of to see the spectacle that is "The Grand Canyon"
(hoping we might make it by sunset!!!)

We only saw a small portion of this massive wonder of the world and we were really grateful that we could see it at sunset and watch the colours change.

Needless to say the journey home was considerably quicker without all the scenic stops but those were sights we may never see again and we have our memories now forever. 

Monday, 23 April 2012

Horseback Riding

This was Martha's choice when we asked her what she wanted to do on holiday.

"Horseback Riding"

As you can see the horses were quite big and they don't have such stringent Health and safety rules so we had no riding hats.  Martha was understandably nervous but we were so proud of her as she just held on tight and carried on. 

 We rode for an hour through the orange groves with Casey our guide leading the way.  Two of Rex and Linda's grandchildren joined us and made the day even more fun!!!!
We talked and laughed about this activity every day for the rest of the holiday.

After the ride it was back to the house for a quick swim before lunch at Linda's office. They had a Mexican lunch for us and had all dressed up western style to welcome us.  These people had watched us on Linda's blog while she served in wales on her Mission.

The water was quite cool but warmer than the sea at Amroth!

Here we are at dinner on Monday evening at Rustlers Rooste.  Calvin wanted to go somewhere to watch the sunset over the city and this is the place to go!

Follow this link to find Martha's early birthday party photo.

Clocks beginning to regulate to US time now but we were all very tired and ready for an earlyish night.....a long day ahead tomorrow.

Relaxing Sunday

So, after a comfortable but short nignts sleep we ate breakfast...bacon, egg and cinnamon rolls.  It was general conference weekend so we headed down to the basement and the biggest tv I have ever seen to watch the Sunday morning session.

I had asked Linda about meeting some of the people who's blogs I have been following.  She made a couple of calls and luckily the people in question were in town for conference.  So I got to meet Amy(my infernal journal) and her husband Brett.  Amy loves all things British, especially kids accents!  It was so good to meet her at last. They have been through so much over the last couple of years and are now looking forward to the arrival of their first son.  Later in the day we also met Linda's brother and his wife, I also follow her blog.  It was so wonderful to meet these people who I felt I already knew through their writing. 

Linda and Rex's sons and their families arrived for lunch.  Our kids got to spend time with the grandchildren while the adults watched the next session of conference.  Ross and Gareth had great fun out in the street on the Segway.

We really enjoyed our first day, meeting new friends and sharing conference with them was great.
Sorry there are no pictures today.

Can't wait to show you the pictures of the next day!

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Here We Go

Not really knowing where to start with the fantastic holiday we had, I have decided to do it day by day over the next two weeks.


 Day 1, Saturday 31st March 2012 

We stayed over night at the Novotel, Heathrow so we would be ready for the 9.30 flight.  We were not able to book seats together for this one so with some trepidation we headed for check in.  The lady said they would try their best to sit us together when we got to the gate.  That was the best we could hope for.  The food choices were quite limited in the departure lounge and we were all a bit nervous so we just sat around and waited and waited and waited. Eventually our gate came up and we walked and rode the travellator to get there.  A lady took our boarding passes and a man came along and said "Williams party, I am waiting for you."  He allocated our seats and when we got on the plane we found we were all together in the front row of our cabin so we had extra legroom and adjustable screens! 
It was perfect, we settled in for our longest flight, Nine and a half hours.

Our arrival in Texas was slightly earlier than scheduled, we collected our luggage, cleared homeland security and settled down to wait for our connection.  This is where the time change kicked in and Martha fell asleep on the floor of the terminal because at home it was bedtime.  Meanwhile the boys, realizing it was only 2.30 in the afternoon had their first of many root beers and some BBQ fast food.

The flight to Phoenix was great, most of us slept most of the way but we did manage to look out though and see the desert below.

We collected our luggage and headed off on the bus for the car rental area.  Mini van collected we loaded up , set the satnav, and prayed for a safe journey as Calvin got to grips with driving in the USA again.

The satnav did its job and Sister Crandall ran out to greet her weary guests.  Grandpa was eagerly waiting to meet these British folks.  Linda had cooked tacos for us, Gareth was too tired for food but when he smelled the Tacos he was good to go again. 

We didn't stay up too much longer after that, just enough time to say hello and catch up on a little news.

It was so good to see those friendly faces after such a long journey and we were so excited about all the adventures planned for us.


Monday, 9 April 2012

Holiday Update

We are having the best time, Arizona was great and we got up to all sorts of stuff. I can't upload pictures until I get home though.

Now we are in California, the scenery is amazing and the friends we have been to visit have shown us the most amazing places. The time is going nice and slow, the suitcases are filling up, the dollars are holding out but most importantly memories are being made.