I am leaving.  Actually, by the time you are reading this, I will be on my way to the airport with my mother.  We are going on a road trip together – just the two of us.

My bags are packed.  I’ve filled the pantry and refrigerator with groceries for my husband who will be taking over the cooking duties while I am gone.  I have my ‘to do’ list on the refrigerator as well, reminding my husband and kids to water the vegetable garden and roses.  So, I am ready to go.  

You know what?  I have never been on a trip with just my mom.  We have traveled together to quite a few places.  When I was six, we went to San Francisco with my grandmother, cousins and aunts.  At the age of 12, my mother, aunt and cousin boarded an Amtrak train in Los Angeles and traveled across the country to New York City and ventured through the eastern states. 

2003 Oxford, England in front of C.S. Lewis' house  (I'm second from the right in the back)

2003 Oxford, England in front of C.S. Lewis’ house  (I’m second from the right in the back).

In 2001, we visited Ireland and Great Britain with my dad, my husband and kids.  We went back to Great Britain in 2003 with our extended family of 39, including six-week old twins.  

My mother, me, Gracie, my husband and my sister-in-law in Alaska.

My mother, me, Gracie, my husband and my sister-in-law in Alaska.

The extended family had so much fun in Great Britain together that we all went on a cruise of Alaska in 2004.  

October 2010 in Washington DC.

October 2010 in Washington DC.

This last year, my mom and my entire family went on a road trip up along the east coast.  It was so much fun.

So, where are we going?  Well, the two of us have visited the Northwest, the Northeast, the South and we live in the Southwest.  But, we have never spent much time in the Midwest.

Technically, we have both been there before, but a one-day layover in Chicago and an Amtrak train through the Midwest states, just does not really let you experience the area.

So, we decided to really experience the Midwest.  Now, while we wish that we could visit all the states in the Midwest, we only have so much time.  So we have decided on the following route…


View Larger Map

We are both looking forward to our trip.  We like to travel and explore.  We are avoiding most big cities, except for airports for our flights in and out.  Our hotels are booked, but other then that, we have no agenda, but to experience the Midwest.

Hopefully, we will be able to avoid tornadoes, torrential rain and high winds that they have been experiencing lately 🙂

I do plan to blog as we are traveling, so if you like, you can follow along.  I cannot say that I will have any specific gardening content during that time, but I will probably take pictures of attractive gardens and plants that I will share.

Oh well, I have to start packing, which will be surprisingly easy since I don’t have to pack up my kids as well 😉

‘Talk’ to you all next time from the road…..

Greetings From the West Coast…

**An Advisory – Please do not enlarge photos until finished reading the entire post.**

Last weekend, my husband and I did the unthinkable….we left our kids with their grandparents and went to Las Vegas.  We had originally planned a trip to Sedona, which is located in Northern Arizona, but the roads were closed due to three consecutive storms that had dumped 3 – 4 ft. of snow.  So, we decided to go somewhere where there would not be any snow.

Las Vegas

On the way, we journeyed through the Joshua Tree Scenic Drive which I posted about here.  It was windy and rainy and the mountains along the way were dusted with snow.  I was excited to take a lot of photos of the desert along the way as well as the gardens around the hotels in Las Vegas.

As we arrived in Las Vegas, it was to a spectacular sight…the mountains surrounding the city were covered with a thick layer of snow.

Las Vegas

The place I was most excited about visiting was the 90,000 sq. ft. Conservatory at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, which has beautiful displays that are changed continually.  The theme for this time of year was the Chinese New Year. 

Las Vegas

The Conservatory was covered in countless species and varieties of orchids along with bromeliads, bamboo, moss and so much more.  There were easily over 200 different orchids there.

I was in absolute heaven and took about 100 pictures.  I couldn’t wait to download them so that I could share them with you all.

Las Vegas

After I returned home, I eagerly downloaded my pictures.  I couldn’t wait to post my fabulous orchid photos.  As I clicked on each photo, I wanted to cry….over 95% of my pictures were blurry and out of focus.  

*I bet some of you thought I was disappointed that I did not win a lot of money –  but it is hard to win a lot of money when you only spent $25 on slot machines ;^) 

Las Vegas

You see, just before our trip, I had just picked up my camera from the camera repairman, where I had just had the memory card slot repaired.  Now, it was just too much of a coincidence that our camera was not working as it should so we went back to him.  It turns out that the repairman had inadvertently messed up how the image in the viewfinder looks as opposed to how the image appears to the lens.  He fixed it quickly and was extremely apologetic.

Las Vegas

Only a few photos turned out okay and you are seeing all of them, except for a couple that I am saving for a Chinese New Year’s post.


I hope you can see from this extremely small sampling how beautiful the Conservatory was.  

**Okay, you can now enlarge the photos to view them if you like, now that you have been warned that despite my best Photoshop efforts that some are still a bit out of focus.