Where In The World…Is Santa

Tracking Santa down is easy just check out NORAD. On Christmas Eve they track Santa’s every move. Can’t wait until Christmas Eve? Stop on over and check out the updates from the North Pole and play some fun games.

Merry Christmas!


Where In The World…The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided gorge carved by the Colorado River in the United States state of Arizona. It is largely contained within the Grand Canyon National Park — one of the first national parks in the United States. President Theodore Roosevelt was a major proponent of preservation of the Grand Canyon area, and visited on numerous occasions to hunt and enjoy the scenery.

Longstanding scientific consensus has been that the canyon was created by the Colorado River over a six million year period. The canyon is 277 miles (446 km) long, ranges in width from 4 to 18 miles (6.4 to 29 km) and attains a depth of over a mile (1.83 km)(6000 feet). Nearly two billion years of the Earth’s history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted. The canyon started from the west, then another formed from the east, and the two broke through and met as a single majestic rent in the earth some six million years ago. The merger apparently occurred where the river today, coming from the north, bends to the west, in the area known as the Kaibab Arch.

Prior to European emigration, the area was inhabited by Native Americans who built settlements within the canyon and its many caves. The Pueblo people considered the Grand Canyon (“Ongtupqa” in Hopi language) a holy site and made pilgrimages to it. The first European known to have viewed the Grand Canyon was García López de Cárdenas from Spain, who arrived in 1540. In 1869, Major John Wesley Powell, a one-armed Civil War veteran with a thirst for science and adventure, made the first recorded journey through the canyon on the Colorado River. Powell referred to the sedimentary rock units exposed in the canyon as “leaves in a great story book”.


The Grand Canyon can be found on Wikipedia.


On a personal note: I went to the Grand Canyon when I was 13. We spent 2 weeks that summer traveling by camper. The Grand Canyon was our big destination. Words can’t describe just how beautiful the Grand Canyon really is. It is a must see for everyone. 

Where In The World…Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
between Marietta and Kennesaw, Georgia
Kennesaw Mountain was originally a home to the mound builders in the years 900 to 1700 CE. Their descendants, the Creek people, were pushed out of Georgia by the Cherokee, who were then exiled by the United States and the state of Georgia on the Trail of Tears to the Oklahoma Territory during the Georgia Gold Rush.In 1832, Cobb County, where Kennesaw Mountain is located, was created.

Cannon on Kennesaw Mountain in recreated artillery position.


A view from the top of Kennesaw Mountain

Kennesaw Mountain was the site of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain during the 1864 Atlanta Campaign of the American Civil War, in which the Union forces of General William Tecumseh Sherman launched a bloody frontal attack on the Confederate Army of Tennessee, which was commanded by General Joseph E. Johnston. Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the first commissioner of Major League Baseball, was named after the battle, in which his father nearly lost his left leg.

The Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park was created on June 26, 1935. It was formerly a Civilian Conservation Corps camp. 

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park can be found on Wikipedia.

Where In The World…Palo Duro Canyon

Palo Duro Canyon 
Canyon, Texas

Less than an hours drive south of Amarillo, Texas is the mysterious terra cotta badlands of Palo Duro Canyon.  Coming off the staked plains of the Texas Panhandle, this 60-mile-long and 800-foot-deep canyon is surprise among these treeless plains. Surrounded by miles of open land and endless skies, visitors will be amazed at the towering cliffs, banded by a myriad of colors, and the amazing rock formations carved over millions of years by the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River.  

The second largest canyon in the United States, it is often called “The Grand Canyon of Texas.”  The term “Palo Duro” means “hard wood” in Spanish, and was named by those first explorers for the canyon’s abundant mesquite and juniper trees from which the Indians made their “hardwood” bows.

The first humans to inhabit the canyon dates back approximately 12,000 years, when the Clovis and Folsom people first lived in the canyon, hunting large herds of mammoth and bison. Later, the tribes of the Apache, Comanche, and Kiowa utilized the canyon’s abundant resources of ample game and edible plants, as well as the protection the canyon provided from weather and intruders.

The first European explorers to come upon the canyon were members of the Coronado expedition in 1541. At that time, the Apache people called the canyon home. However, they were later run out by the Comanche and Kiowa tribes, who had the advantage of horses brought over by the Spanish.

The canyon was first surveyed by a military team under the guidance of Captain Randolph B. Marcy in 1852.  Though white settlers were beginning to migrate to the area, the canyon remained the lands of the Indians until a military expedition led by Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie was sent in 1874 to remove them to reservations in Oklahoma.  This resulted in the Battle of Palo Duro Canyon, the major skirmish of the Red River War. On September 28, 1874, Mackenzie led his Fourth United States Cavalry on an attack of the of Comanches, Kiowas, and Cheyennes encamped in the canyon. Though the tribes had forewarning of the attack, their camps were scattered over a large area on the canyon floor and they were unable to assemble a united defense.  In the end, the Indians were defeated and forced onto reservations in Indian Territory.

Two years later, in 1876, Charles Goodnight, famous for spearheading the Texas -Wyoming cattle drives, drove a herd of cattle into Palo Duro Canyon and began the first commercial ranch in the Texas Panhandle – the JA Ranch.  Over the next fifty years, the canyon remained the private property of cattlemen, but over the years, began to be an increasingly popular spot for tourists and local residents.

In 1934, the upper section of the canyon was purchased by the State of Texas and turned it into the Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Thanks to efforts by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and conservation groups, an additional 2,036 were added to the park in 2002.

Today the park, which includes more than 16,000 acres, annually receives over half a million visitors. Sixteen miles of scenic drives wind through the canyon and park activities include hiking, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, picnicking camping, and wildlife viewing.

For history buffs, a replica of Charles Goodnight’s dugout cabin can be seen in the park, as well as a number of historical markers. The Visitor’s Center provides a number of exhibits pertaining to the park’s geology and history.

            A summer musical pageant, Texas Legacies, is presented annually in the outdoor amphitheater from mid-June through late August.


Belive it or not:  

Tales of ghosts in Palo Duro Canyon and Tule Canyon abound, remnants of the area’s Wild West days gone by.

Canyon resident John Matthews filed an oral history narration at PPHM, telling of one haunting in Palo Duro Canyon. The story, told to him by a former Texas Ranger, goes something like this:

One cold winter night, in the late 19th century, a man was camping in the canyon with two other men watching cattle. The other two men went to investigate a sound and never returned. So the third man followed to find them both dead, with their throats cut. All three were working on the Charles Goodnight ranch. He buried the two men – one Anglo and one Native American – in the canyon. Later, people in that area, said they would hear the screams of these two men.

Here is another tale:

“The story goes that three outlaws robbed a stage wagon containing government money with Army wages. They buried the money near Lighthouse Rock, but were then captured and executed. They say during thunderstorms you can see them around the rock and hear their moaning and shovels scraping to dig up their gold.”

Then, there’s the mysterious ghost herd. Almost 1,500 horses and mules were slaughtered in the canyon on the order of Gen. Ranald Mackenzie, according to a story written by the late George Turner in a 1971 Globe-News story. Turner chronicled supernatural stories for the Globe-News and other publications in the 1960s and ’70s.

“For many years, the long western slope of the basin was piled deep with bleached bones. Eventually they were carted away by a fertilizer company. Today, none are visible on the surface, but a bit of scratching will uncover teeth and small bones,” Turner wrote.

“The area, between Tulia and Silverton, was long held in superstitious veneration by the Plains tribes. No Kiowa or Comanche would venture near the place for fear of being trampled to death by a herd of ghostly horses,” Turner wrote.


Palo Duro Canyon can be found on Wikipedia.

On a personal note: I have been to Palo Duro Canyon twice in my life as a kid. Both times I have had strange experiences happen to me.  I personally think there are spirits that still hang around the canyon. 

Where In The World…Ruidoso

DowntownRuidosoNM.jpgRuidoso, New Mexico

Ruidoso New Mexico Visitor Information Web Site: 

Ruidoso, New Mexico is nestled in the Rocky Mountains of southern New Mexico.
Towering above the village of Ruidoso is Sierra Blanca and the New Mexico ski resort,
Ski Apache. Ruidoso weather is mild and great for outdoor activities including
camping, hiking and bicycling in the Lincoln National Forest.

The Ruidoso Area claims two of New Mexico’s finest casinos, New Mexico
horse racing at the Ruidoso Downs race track, top rated golf courses, horseback riding,
golf, tennis, art galleries, museums and shopping.

Lodging in Ruidoso includes cabins, resorts, hotels, motels, Bed and breakfast, RV parks,
campgrounds, condos and homes. Ruidoso dining and restaurants offer a full range of
options to fit any budget or taste. If you decide to stay or make our town your second home,
Ruidoso real estate has proven to be a popular investment.

Come vacation in New Mexico. Ther are things to do. Ruidoso: It’s Where To Go!

Ruidoso, New Mexico can be found on Wikipedia.

On a personal note:We went to Ruidoso almost 3 years ago in February. I was the only one in the family who had ever been skiing before and I had only been once prior to this trip. We skied at Ski Apache and we all had a blast. I was shocked that everyone took so well to skiing. The town is really small and very friendly. I would love to go back and stay at the casino they have there, without the kids of course! 

Where In The World…San Antonio

SA tower view from between.jpgSan Antonio, Texas  


The Alamo 

Riverwalk20.jpgSan Antonio River Walk

San Antonio, TX can be found on Wikipedia.

On a personal note: We absolutely love San Antonio! We try to take a family vacation to San Antonio at least every 2 years. There is so much to do there. We go to Six Flags over Texas, where I have to ride The Rattler. The River Walk is just beautiful and at least once every 10 years you have to take the boat ride. The Alamo is always on the list. This city is so full of history it is amazing. I never get bored with this city, I find a new place every time we go there.

Where In The World…Mystic Seaport

Overview of the seaport

Mystic Seaport
Mystic, Connecticut

View of our Village from the water

A re-created  19th-Century Village, complete with Museum educators who teach you about each building’s role in a coastal community.

Charles W Morgan.jpg

The Waterfront, featuring tall ships and other historic vessels that you can climb aboard and explore.

Mystic Seaport can be found on Wikipedia.

On a personal note: I went to the Mystic Seaport when I was about 12 years old. I have a love of anything near or around the water so this was right up my alley. There is so much to do here that you could easily spend a week walking through it!

Where In The World…Canterbury Shaker Village

Canterbury Shaker Village
Canterbury, New Hampshire

Canterbury Shaker Village can be found on Wikipedia.

On a personal note:I lived in New Hampshire for 3 years in my early twenties. I used to pass this village all the time on the way up to my grandmother’s house. Unfortunately I never stopped by this place. My mom and her friend went here once and my mother loved it. She said it was a very calming place.

Where In The World…Emerald Bay State Park

Emerald Bay State Park, Lake Tahoe, California

Vikingsholm.jpgVikingsholm Castle

Emerald Bay can be found on Wikipedia.

On a personal note: I went to Lake Tahoe in 1999. I was seven months pregnant with my youngest daughter. I fell in love with this beautiful place. The trail from the parking lot down to the house is very steep and is 1 mile long. The walk back up to the parking lot felt like it was 10 miles!

Where In The World…Carlsbad Caverns National Park

The forces of water decorated the cave in an almost endless array of spectacular limestone formations like this column and array of stalactites.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

The history of Carlsbad Caverns can be found on Wikipedia.

On a personal note: I went to Carlsbad Caverns when I was about 9 years old. I remember it being a long hike down to the bottom of the cavern and it got very cold! At sunset we sat at the entrance to the cave and watched hundreds of bats fly out of the cavern and over our heads. I even had the pleasure of having one of the bats hit my head! Yes I screamed!

Where In The World…Gillette’s Castle

Gillette's Castle by you.

Gillette Castle State Park in East Haddam, Connecticut

The history of Gillette’s Castle can be found on Wikipedia.

On a personal note: I have been to Gillette’s castle. The Castle is located next to the Devil’s Hopyard. 

Devil's Hopyard by you.

The Devil’s Hopyard

Where In The World…The Balinese Room

Update January 19, 2009: This past weekend we finally decided to drive down to Galveston. This was our 1st trip back to the Island since Hurricane Ike. It was a very humbling trip for us.

Balinese Room Pre Hurricane Ike

The Balinese Room Pre-Hurricane Ike

Balinese Room Remains

What Remains of the Balinese Room 1-17-09

Update September 16, 2008: I would have never imagined that this beautiful place would be gone not even a month after I posted this. Unbelievable!

This pile of rubble is actually the Balinese Room on the Galveston Seawall



The Balinese Room in Galveston, Texas

“Deep in the South of Texas
not so long ago,
there on a crowded island
in the Gulf of Mexico

it didn’t take too much money,
man, but it sure was nice.
You could dance all night if you felt all right,
drinking whiskey and throwing dice.

And everybody knows
it was hard to leave.
And everybody knows
it was down at the Balinese.”

“Balinese” – ZZ Top – Fandango – 1975


The history of The Balinese Room can be found on Wikipedia.

On a personal note: I have been to the Balinese Room a number of times. We started hanging out there on the weekends when they were doing renovations on it. There are Ghost Stories to go along with the building and I for one believe them, as do my kids. On one of our visits we went into the women’s restroom and when I turned around to flush the toilet the toilet paper was thrown at my back. Another time we were in the old casino part when the jukebox started playing “old music” when we checked out the jukebox for the name of the song we found that it was unplugged. I just hope the ghosts are having as much fun now as they did when the place was in it’s prime!