Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Arches National Park

Any long drive that takes place in the middle of the western region of America would not be complete without a stop at The Four Corners Monument where Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah meet. We made our stop there when we were heading from The Grand Canyon, AZ to Arches National Park, UT.  It was pretty neat to be in four states at once.
We arrived at Arches National Park on Sunday afternoon and due to our limited time there, we got to hiking and site seeing right away since there are over 2,000 natural stone arches within the park (not all accessible or visible). We started at the bottom of the park and worked our way to the top, where we would settle for the night at the only campsite within the parks walls.
Balanced Rock 
The Windows, North and South
Navajo Arch and the bottom of Double O Arch
 After our long drive Sunday night we still managed to go on a 3 mile hike/rock climb to see the most popular arch of all, Delicate Arch. This arch is used for many things in Utah including the background of their license plates.
Delicate Arch
The next morning we got up early yet again to go on Devils Garden Primitive 7 mile hike/rock climb to view over 15 different arches. We had a great time hiking through the red rocks and taking in the beautiful scenery that exists within Arches National Park. The natural formations are quite impressive and very neat to see up close.
Landscape Arch, the longest arch in the park and possibly in the world
Double O Arch
 Overlooking Devils Garden
Partition Arch
We had a great time visiting Arches National Park, I highly recommend others to go there, it was like a giant red play ground with an absolutely gorgeous scenery. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Grandest Canyon Of Them All

After Slide Rock we headed to The Grand Canyon, where we camped at Mather Campground. That night we got our first glimpse of the canyon and although it was overcast and hazy it was breathtaking. We were both awestruck by how far it stretched and how deep it was. It is truly a sight to see, no one picture will ever capture the magnitude of it's greatness.
Our friend Danna, who lives in Phoenix, drove up to spend the weekend with us, which was awesome. The next couple of days were spent together hiking and exploring the area around the South Rim. We hiked both Hermit Trail and South Kaibab Trail. The trails although relatively short in distance were quite a work out due to the rapid elevation changes, for example South Kaibab Trail dropped 2,060 feet over 3 miles. Hiking down was difficult on our knees and hiking up was exhausting, but it was all worth it.
The views we got to see were truly amazing. Both Nick and I have added The Grand Canyon to our top ten places visited. I hope you enjoy our pictures. 

Hoover Dam & Slide Rock

After Vegas we headed to Sedona to visit Slide Rock with a quick stop at Hoover Dam. 
In Sedona, we camped at Manzanita Campground, which was nice and right off a creek. For those of you who don't know, Slide Rock is a narrow passageway that runs through the rocks and acts as a natural water slide. The passageway is covered in algae which makes it smooth so people can slide right down. We got there early Thursday morning before the park attendants were there, and before most families had shown up. We got to enjoy the slide many many times before the crowds of families and children arrived around 10 AM. It was a lot of fun and we truly got to enjoy one of the coolest natural water slides.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Vegas Baby!

So we have been in Vegas the past couple of days, where we got to spend some time with Grandma Sakamoto. We have enjoyed a variety of activities over the past three days, including: playing ping pong with the champ (Grandma), driving around in her golf cart, watching the movie "Brave" (which was better than everyone else led on), making Grandma a fabulous homemade steak and mashies dinner, driving around Grandma so she could run some errands and do some shopping, baking some cookies and doughnut holes with Grandma, eating at a Vegas breakfast buffet, and lastly visiting the strip and eating at Gordon Ramsay Steak! (which was delicious and so worth it). So far our trip has been great even though it has been very hot but it's been nice staying with Grandma and having the AC and showers. Now we move on to Arizona to visit The Hoover Dam and Slide Rock (which will probably be dried up) and The Grand Canyon with Danna. Should be a good next couple of days.
A little more on Gordon Ramsay Steak! for you foodies. So you should know of Gordon Ramsay from all things food on the Fox network, including Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares, and our most favorite, Mastechef. Well we have been watching him and his chef expertise for many years and so I definitely look up to him and so we had to go to his restaurant while we were in Vegas. Luckily we had made a reservation because they were completely booked and sold out when we went. The restaurant is located in the Paris Casino. When we got there, they welcomed us and walked us through the "Chunnel" from France to England cuisine. Therefore the restaurant is English themed like Gordon Ramsay. When we sat down they brought us a drink list that was presented on an IPad and later they rolled out a steak cart that displayed all the different cuts of beef that they had to offer. As for our meal decisions I chose the ever famous Gordon Ramsay favorite of Beef Wellington and Nick chose the Kobe Rib Cap with a side of sautéed mushrooms. Both dishes were absolutely amazing, the steaks just melted in our mouths and left us fully satisfied. Gordon Ramsay Steak was a great experience and I doubt we will ever have a better steak.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bittersweet New Beginning

It is finally the day, the day we have been preparing for for the last six months...we are leaving our home in California and heading North before heading East to settle in Indiana. It has been a busy couple of days with much packing, cleaning, and sad goodbyes. I truly cannot believe it is finally here but it is and we have officially said our goodbyes to our jobs, coworkers, home, my car,  neighbors, friends, and family. We are going to miss our home and all those involved in our lives but we are ready to hit the road. Our road trip starts today and if you would like to follow along with us, I will be posting from every stop, so keep checking in to see how things are going. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Shredded Mexican Spiced Chicken (Crock Pot Recipe)

 One of my girlfriends made this chicken for girls' night. She used the finished chicken in tacos and it was delicious. She told me how simple and easy the recipe was and so I had no choice but to make it myself. I served it in taco salad and then later I used some of the leftover meat in some enchiladas. It was great!