04.14.20 Let’s gather at the Grand Canyon North Rim for a Virtual Vacation with the Chauvins!

Just writing the words Grand Canyon puts a smile on my heart!

What an unbelievably beautiful handiwork of God.

I still remember seeing it for the first time and it took my breath away.

This was what we saw when we walked up to it for the first time.


I could go on and on and would never be able to explain how special this place is so I’ll let the photos and videos speak for themselves.

See both rims if you can!

The North and South Rim are only about 20 miles apart but the drive goes way around the side of the mountains and through some mountains to get to the other side about 200 miles away. We drove about halfway and parked for the night in the Marble Canyon – A M A Z I N G!!!

This video is taken from where we parked and spent the night in the Marble Canyon!

I took several videos of the North Rim and narrowed it down to eight for the original blog. These are two of them.

The North Rim and the South Rim are two totally different places in most all aspects.

The North Rim is much cooler, more beautiful tall trees along the roads, not any visible animals that we saw, and can be seen in 2-3 hours at a leisurely pace and for some reason it is not at all crowded.

The South Rim is still cool but not as cool as the North Rim, not nearly as many trees but lots of bushes with flowers, several elks were seen and we only saw a portion of it in about 5 hours at a brisk pace and it is crazy crowded! Several big shuttle buses travel several different routes to all the spots where you can see different parts of the canyon.

Photos from the North Rim


20151002_153101 (Medium)This next one may look like the first view we had but it is not. It’s far away from where we started!

20151002_152556 (Medium)Grand Canyon Lodge – North Rim was absolutely beautiful inside and out 20151002_153233 (Medium)

The lodge had a wonderful outside sitting area where you could enjoy a comfortable viewing of the canyon!

20151002_155322 (Medium)There are several cabins there for those who want to stay in a cabin on the North Rim.

I loved how the view kept going on and on and on into the distance!20151002_154358 (Medium)Oh to be young and able to climb atop this rock area. We felt blessed to see what we could but that had to be super wonderful!

20151002_154407 (Medium)That was just a peek, a very very small peek at the magnificence of the North Rim. Here are links to our original posts when we visited Grand Canyon North Rim in 2015. Yes, I wrote four blog posts about the Grand Canyon’s North Rim. It is that amazing!

From Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon – I included this post because it gives lots of Grand Canyon info that would be helpful to someone planning to visit there.

The Grand Canyon North Rim

The Grand Canyon North Rim Photos – Part One

The Grand Canyon North Rim Photos – Part Two

On our next Virtual Vacation, we will visit the Grand Canyon’s South Rim which is very different than the North Rim!

Have a wonderfully blessed week!

09.24.17 The Blue Hole in Santa Rosa, New Mexico

Sunday, September 24, 2017 – When we decided to go see the Blue Hole in Santa Rosa near Route 66 we really didn’t know what to expect.  It was very awesome, but I can’t even say I understand it at all, so I’ve included info from their website and a couple of their graphics/pictures along with the photos I took when we were there.

Blue Hole appears in the midst of the desert like a great blue gem. Once known as Blue Lake, it is one of seven sister lakes connected underground by a vast system of water. This wonder defines Santa Rosa even as it seems to defy the surrounding red mesas. Born of a geological phenomenon called the Santa Rosa sink, the place is magic—as water always is in a land of little rain. Nomadic tribes, cowboys driving their dogies cross the Pecos, and Americans going west on the Mother Road, Route 66, all sought respite here.

In 1932 Blue Hole became a National fish hatchery, morphed into the Blue Hole Recreation Area in the seventies, and more recently expanded to become the Blue Hole Dive and Conference Center. Not just for drivers wanting to get out of the fast lane or divers eager to get on down, it’s more than just a watering hole. Now it’s a destination meeting site for everyone from brides to board chairs. Halfway between Albuquerque and Amarillo, it’s within two hours’ drive of 80 percent of all New Mexicans.

Still, we never forget that the real sapphire is the incredible beauty of the Blue Hole itself. The lake is unsurpassed for its clear, pure water. That’s why we work so hard to protect it, ensuring, for example, that that surface runoff won’t impair its purity.  Like scuba divers who drive ten hours to get here, we know it’s the crystalline water that draws them in. Visibility is an astonishing 100’, due to the fact that the water completely renews itself every six hours—it’s truly never the same lake twice. What doesn’t change is the temperature—a constant 62 degrees.

  Roy wanted to see how cold the water was and he said very

This video shows the whole thing better than the pictures on.


That the first stop of a very busy Sunday on Route 66.  Next we went to the Route 66 Auto Museum also in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.  Wow, wow and wow!  I’ll share that next!

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09.23.17 – To Sante Fe or BUST! – Sante Fe, New Mexico

Saturday, September 22, 2017 – Traveling Route 66 is kind of like trying to find your way anywhere in the dark. Sometimes the only way to know is to see the sign to the right here every now and then along the route.

When Route 66 gets to Albuquerque from the west, it goes both eastward toward Oklahoma City, and northward towards Santa Fe. We are currently staying in Tijera, NM very near Albuquerque.  Since Sante Fe is a fairly famous US city I decided we’d take a drive there one day.  I really had nothing specific to see in Sante Fe and realized this the day before we went. I asked friends on Facebook (they always come through for me!) what we should do on our way there or in Sante Fe and got some great suggestions.  Nancy Duvic said that downtown Sante Fe was great, BJ Smith said that Gabriel’s was a great restaurant and Deborah Thompson suggested we go through Madrid, NM because it was a cool little town with lots of neat shops. Those three stops made it to our list (it was really all on our list!) but we didn’t accomplish seeing downtown Sante Fe very much or getting to enjoy the shops in Madrid, NM though we did see the town.

We took Route 66 from Tijera west to Albuquerque to see Route 66 in that stretch.  What we found were several Route 66 old signs and business signs in places where the businesses have long gone away.

Next on our way north I discovered a “must see” Restored Trading Post in Santo Domingo on our Route 66 New Mexico map.We put it in the GPS and two trading posts showed up  so we set our course for the first.  The more we drove the deeper into a really poor area we went.  It was the poorest area I’ve ever been in. I felt really bad taking photos of the worst areas so the three are of an area that wasn’t the worst.

After seeing that and not finding the Trading Post we went to find the other Trading Post and didn’t find that.  One very nice building stood out from the rest.  We pulled over so I could get a photo of that and a man in another car jumped out and told me no photos of the church were allowed.  I told him I didn’t know it was a church so I apologized and got back in the car.  We rode around that area a bit more and decided that the information on the Route 66 map did not work well with our GPS so we didn’t find any trading post.

Then we made our way into Sante Fe and when I saw a Trader Joe’s sign I asked Roy to turn in there.  My boss Curtis loves Trader Joe’s as do many other RVillagers.  I’d never seen one and couldn’t imagine what was so special about it.  As soon as you walk in you see it is different.  Every single thing that I saw was made by Trader Joe’s.  No Campbell’s soup, no soft drinks, and everything was healthy or organic.  Most things in the store I’ve never seen before.  Here’s some photos I took there

Everything was very reasonably priced for such a unique store.  So many different types of food and even in this healthy organic place Roy and I found cookies and candies to buy.  I will be looking for more Trader Joe’s as we travel!

I hid these rocks in the parking lot and didn’t realize a lady in her car saw me do it.  She approached me in the store to ask what that was about.  I told her and she loved the idea of putting a smile on someone else’s face by using something so simple as a rock.

At this point we’d had two detours, one the poor mexican area that took us way off the interstate and this amazing find of a Trader Joe’s which we walked each and every aisle checked each thing out!

Our GPS showed Gabriel’s to be almost 25 minutes away so we decided to head towards Gabriel’s for dinner which gave us very little time to visit downtown.  We did get to see the University of New Mexico

Along the interstate (where there was no Route 66) we saw this cool roadside art.

We accomplished probably the most important which is eating!!!  BJ Smith, a friend of ours from church recommended Gabriel’s Restaurant in Sante Fe.  It is way, way out on the outskirts of Sante Fe and we thought surely we were lost but was delightfully happy when we found it and got to enjoy their delicious food.  They made guacamole dip for our chips at our table to our preference.  It’s on the menu as an appetizer and is well worth it.

We are not use to Real Mexican food but we did know to ask for no hot chilis.  Roy and I eat at La Caretta’s in Amite and the one in Hammond when we are home.  We always get the same things, a Grilled Shrimp Taco Salad for me and the LaCaretta’s Special for Roy.  Gabriel’s menu was so big and had so much it took us a while but we wound up ordering the same type thing here.  Roy ate every bite of his big plate of food with the same three items he got at LaCaretta.  I loved my taco salad except that they didn’t have shrimp so I had chicken in my taco salad.

After being absolutely stuffed from eating all of this we headed back to our RV.  We went a different way back because of a recommendation from our friend Deborah to see the small town of Madrid.  After miles and miles of nothing but desert, all of a sudden there is this cool little town of house after house which are shops!  Unfortunately by the time we got there it was 6 to 6:30 and the shops were closed.  Also the sun was directly in our eyes so what was there we couldn’t see too well.  This was the only photo that I got!

I really wish we could have visited this charming place, Roy not so much! I looked on the internet for Madrid, New Mexico photos and found a bunch.  Here are a few that can give you an idea of what it’s like.

This day could have been a bomb for us but it turned out to be a great over all day.  I had a great brain day and not having to do very much strenuous helped me not be totally wiped out when getting back home.  Although I think the fact that I slept until 11 am today does show I needed that much rest but again today is a rest day so I’ve been blogging and rock painting all day.  We will rest Saturday and travel Sunday to see a couple of things in Santa Rosa, NM and then on to Tucumcari, NM to see more Route 66 things for a couple of days.

From there we continue east on Route 66 ending in Oklahoma City before we head back south to go home.

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!


09.22.17- 66 Diner in Albuquerque, NM

Friday, September 22, 2017 – After riding the Musical Highway and the Sandia Peak Tramway, we really enjoyed eating at 66 Diner located on Route 66 in Albuquerque. Great food and amazing old time atmosphere! We felt like we’d stepped back into the 50’s and 60’s with their eclectic ambiance! Betty Boop, Elvis, Marilyn, vintage and neon signs, juke box, soda fountain and Pez collection are just some of what you’ll experience when you visit there.

Originally built as a Phillip’s gas station (Sam’s Sixty Six Service) in 1946, the business soon expanded to include a service garage to better meet the needs of locals and Route 66 travelers.   Converted to a diner in 1987, much of the original building is still intact, and the hydraulic lift “lives on” under the restaurant’s hopscotch court!

This was very funny “Jim’s Bumper Crop” made up of car bumpers!! As I said near the top, a portion of the dining room was once a mechanic bay, and there’s a hydraulic lift still intact under our hopscotch court! In 1987, they converted the service station into a restaurant.

We knew right away this was meant for Roy and I.

Our misbehaving amounted to me having an asthma attack while eating and then I spilled so much dreamsicle shake (oh how delicious that was!) all over the table while pouring some from the metal tumbler into the tall malt glass. The stack of napkins below came from me trying to clean up my mess. Roy was very well behaved so at least one of us was! While this was a fun day even if it was exhausting! We had a wonderful day of rest on Wednesday.  We then headed out on Thursday going to Santa Fe, New Mexico to see what’s between here and there.



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09.21.17 Musical Highway, Sandia Peak Tramway in Albuquerque, NM

Thursday, September 21, 2017 – Tuesday we set out to experience the Musical Highway, ride the Sandia Peak Tramway and enjoy dinner at the 66 Diner, all in Albuquerque NM which is just a few miles west of where we are staying in Tijera, NM!

The idea of a “Musical Highway” was something we’d never heard of.  Then to have it so close to us that we could actually ride along it and hear “America the Beautiful” was so super cool we had to do it.   It’s a small stretch of road on a part of Route 66.  There are three signs that let you know where it starts.  

This is what the road looks like that you go over to make the music play.

This video explains it and lets you hear it!  Check it out!

From there we headed to the Sandia Peak Tramway.  A trip on the tramway transports you above deep canyons and breathtaking terrain a distance of 2.7 miles.  From the observation deck atop 10,378 foot Sandia Peak in the Cibola National Forest affords an 11,000 square-mile panoramic view of the Rio Grande Valley and the Land of Enchantment.  The cost is $20 per person and it was well worth it.

The photos below are in order of how we saw each part of the mountain on our way up, at the top, and on our way down.

When we reached the top the winds were blowing sooooo hard it sounded pretty scary.  They have to shut down the tram when winds reach 45 mph.  It was at 40 mph so it was very close.  I took a video so you could hear the sound the winds made at the top.

Looking down into one of the canyons

Going up the mountain was very quiet.  The strong winds started as we got nearer the top.  I took this video to give you some idea of what it was like!

We learned that in order to do emergency maintenance while the tram is either going up or down a maintenance person has to ride on top (outside) the tram to get there.  In addition to the maintenance people, the tour people who are on the tram with you had to pass being able to get on top and ride up and down.  Oh my goodness, they had best be paid well!

I was pretty out of breath and couldn’t do some of the adventuring Roy did so here I am waiting for him at the top of the steps which lead to the ski area.

The ski lift area is of course closed when there is no snow.

Drinking a lot of water or gatorade when at high elevations helps a lot to not have altitude sickness.


Going back down the mountain.  These photos were taken from the opposite side of the tram and from the rear. We’ve ridden on trams before but they were not this high and a lot less rocks/mountains were seen.  This was very special and I got to leave two of my rocks there!

This was such an odd sign and all I can think is that it’s from many years ago and still there since it’s on Route 66.

We went to eat at the 66 Diner on Route 66 in Albuquerque for dinner after this but adding that experience to all this might have you on photo overload so it’s going to be in the next blog post!

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09.19.17 Petrified Forest and Painted Desert on Route 66 in Arizona

On first impression, the Petrified Forest may not sound very appealing as it comprises stone log fragments scattered over a rather remote and otherwise featureless section of Arizona desert. Apparently it comes as a little disappointment to some, like us, who expect the trees still to be standing in thick rocky groves instead of lying flat in sections as they are. But the petrified logs are extremely beautiful with most unexpectedly bright colors, and the park contains a section of the scenic Painted Desert. 

Petrified Forest covers 146,930 acres.  We stopped to look up close at a couple of places along the trip.  We skipped getting out to walk a distance to see things.  I’m having a lot of problems with breathing while walking any distance.  I know we missed a lot but what we saw was beautiful. 

Petrified Wood

Dora and Boots in the Petrified Forest.

Many miles of going through the forest was just desert.

Petroglyphs are carvings made directly into rocks. Newspaper Rock boasts over 650 petroglyphs from a variety of tribes that frequented the area, such as the Anasazi, Navajo, and Pueblo.

Many of the petroglyphs are crescents, small human figures, animals, swirls, and a few other patterns. While many of the glyphs came from the Pueblo people, there have been many authors over a long stretch of time, extending from the prehistoric era to the historic periods of more modern times.

At the outlook, there are three sets of binoculars.  With the naked eye you would never know the markings were there. Looking to the right wall shows swirls and men while looking almost straight downward from the children’s binocular set yields a different set entirely. It was a good view and interesting to be so close to them. I wish we could have gone closer to them to see the markings without the binoculars, but I understand the need to preserve the carvings.

  This is from the internet showing a lot of the shapes clearer.  We saw them through the binoculars. This rock was left at Newspaper Rock!

The rocks we saw when heading to the exit of the park.  I think it was the prettiest!

From here we drove to our home for 7 nights which is Hidden Valley Resort in Tijera, New Mexico.

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09.18.17 Route 66 on the way to the Petrified Forest, Arizona

Monday, September 18, 2017 – When we left Williams, Arizona we drove down Route 66, when we could, on our way to the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert.  I say “when we could” because it doesn’t exist everywhere it use to.   In some places Route 66 has simply been replaced with I-40.  In some places both exist with Route 66 buildings  being just shells of the originals.  Some stretches of Route 66 have been well kept up.  Even though I bought 4 books and several maps about Route 66, it is very difficult to know what you want to see.  Plus there is a lot of jumping on and off Interstate 40.

I’m basically saying this is not a get on a highway and go for many miles and see lots of stuff.  We’re going to be happy we get to see what we get to see.

Here are some photos we took on Saturday between Williams, Arizona and the Petrified Forest in Arizona.

We have seen more mountains than I ever thought we would.  This was one place where there were no mountains, just desert for many miles.  I’m starting to miss the lush greenness and real grass of our home state, Louisiana. 

A lot of states have unique rest areas.  Its taken us a bit to get use to having to park with the Big Riggers but we do.  This rest stop in Arizona was in the middle of lots of Arizona rocks.

Here we are at Jack Rabbit Trading Post on Route 66.

Here’s Dora and Boots waiting for mom and dad to come back to them!

This is Holbrook, Arizona where the Wigwam Motel, also known as the “Wigwam Villages”, was a motel chain in the United States built during the 1930s and 1940s. The rooms are built in the form of tipis, mistakenly referred to as wigwams. The first photo below is just an old Battery company that still exists but is not in operation.

  The License plate says “Doc Hudson”.

41 Packard

Look at this “Tow Maters” Grand Pappy!!!   

Check out this old RV!!!

Before we got to the Petrified Forest we came across a massive business Jim Gray’s Petrified Wood Company.  We had a great time shopping there picking out somethings for all the grand children, their parents, my sister and us.  Outside we saw a couple of cool things.  In this next photo the the Petrified Wood Company created a small pond out of petrified wood.

Look at this petrified alligator and dinosaur egg clusters. 

Finally on our way to the Petrified Forest! 

Route 66 somewhere!  I forget where we were but this is about average road condition when you are on Route 66.

Next time I’ll share several pictures of the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert.

Today is Monday and we arrived yesterday at Hidden Valley Resort in Tijera, New Mexico.  Its an odd RV park.  Most parks out west have cleared all the desert away and built a park.  This one cleared a little away but left a lot of the yellow weeds and sage bushes usually seen in the desert.  We are way up on a mountain on the third level up from Route 66.  One cool thing is that there’s tons of rocks just waiting to be painted.

We’re going out tomorrow to see several Route 66 sites around us.  Thursday we’re going to ride up to Sante Fe and see what we can see along the way.

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!!

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09.16.17 Grand Canyon South Rim, Arizona

Saturday, September 16, 2017 – Two years ago we visited both the North and the South Rims of the Grand Canyon. It was amazing then and is still an amazing creation of God’s to see. This year we skipped the North Rim, pulled Dora over to the side of the road in the Marble Canyon and got a great night sleep before visiting the South Rim. First are our photos of our time in the Marble Canyon and the drive from there to the Grand Canyon

Because the North Rim is so totally different from the South Rim if you want to learn about the North Rim check out the two North Rim blogs. The links are near the end of today’s blog. The North and South Rim are only about 20 miles apart (you can see that on the map below), but the actual drive from the North to get to the South Rim is 220 miles because it goes way outside the north rim around the canyon and then back up to the South Rim.

Below our photos from this year are links to our blog post from 2015.

This year’s photos of the Grand Canyon. We met a really nice family from Italy at the Grand Canyon entry sign. We took their family’s photo and they took this one of us. They asked if they could see inside our RV because they had never seen one so big before. When we are traveling and the RV slides are closed up it looks like a hurricane came through the RV because everything has to be put on the sofas or the bed to secure them while traveling. Oh well! They were really sweet and we saw them a couple of more times while we were in the Grand Canyon.

We have a pink flamingo riding on a bicycle that we usually put near our RV wherever we stay. This time the flamingo got to ride inside our RV and when we got out we could see the flamingo in the window! That’s what Roy’s pointing at!

Here’s Boots and Dora patiently waiting for us in the parking lot at the Grand Canyon!

The first visit back in 2015 we together took several hundred photos. There are hundreds of photos in these blogs below. We have a lot of new followers of our blog so if you haven’t seen the 2015 photos, have fun!!

2015 Grand Canyon North Rim, Part 1

2015 Grand Canyon North Rim, Part 2

2015 Grand Canyon South Rim, Part 1

2015 Grand Canyon South Rim, Part 2

From the Grand Canyon we traveled about an hour to Williams, Arizona.

We are staying in Williams, Arizona the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park. It is a really nice park that takes Passport America so staying here didn’t wipe out the bank account. As their names says they do have a train that runs each day to the Grand Canyon. Since we’ve been to the Canyon twice already we are going to save that money to spend on Route 66.

Our RV spot is one block from Route 66. We went there today and walked along the sideways seeing all the shops, restaurants and other interesting old time things. Next blog will be about what we saw there today! From here on till we get to Oklahoma City we will be trying to see everything we can on Route 66. Next up The Petrified Forest and any other goofy places we can find!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!!

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11.04.15 Grand Canyon South Rim Photos – Part One

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 – Seems we took way more photos of the South Rim than I first thought. Here are the first of those I selected to share!

If you remember from a past post I shared that the South Rim has many more viewing sites than the North Rim 20151003_171702 (Medium)and is not as cold or as many lush green trees. Many more yellow flowered bushes were found on the South Rim and lots more animals! The crowds are huge on the South Rim with almost 10 different huge parking areas and a bus system to pick you up from your parking space and deliver you to other Grand Canyon viewing locations along the route. The viewing areas that run along the South Rim cover 10 miles, closer to 20 miles long. Here’s a graphic showing all the places you can view it from. We saw it from the three central view points. It would take a week of several hours a day to see all of the views on the South Rim.

grand-canyon-viewpoints20151003_122155 (Medium) 20151003_160228 (Medium) 20151003_125736 (Medium) 20151003_123304 (Medium) 20151003_123159 (Medium) 20151003_161351 (Medium)20151003_161225 (Medium) 20151003_161240 (Medium) 20151003_135517 (Medium) 20151003_140121 (Medium) 20151003_162032 (Medium) 20151003_122708 (Medium)20151003_131654 (Medium) 20151003_123018 (Medium) 20151003_124442 (Medium) 20151003_122655 (Medium) 20151003_131657 (Medium) 20151003_161346 (Medium) 20151003_140146 (Medium) 20151003_124223 (Medium) 20151003_125803 (Medium) 20151003_155933 (Medium) 20151003_122727 (Medium) 20151003_162831 (Medium) 20151003_124507 (Medium) 20151003_161341 (Medium) 20151003_122214 (Medium) 20151003_134615 (Medium)That wraps up part one of The Grand Canyon South Rim! Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

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