"Preserve the Works of Man" - Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde (Green Table, in English) is absolutely beautiful and an amazing sight to see!  The national park was created in 1906 thanks to Theodore Roosevelt, who thought it was important to "preserve the works of man"!  There are over 5,000 archaeological sites and over 600 cliff dwellings of the Pueblo people, also called Anasazi, in the park. 

We went during the off season, so a lot of the trails were closed, but we were still able to see a lot of amazing cliff dwellings! 

Find more information about Mesa Verde HERE!

Loretto Chapel, Santa Fe, New Mexico

I can't say enough about Santa Fe!  This is one city Joseph and I will visit often!  The plaza is full of beautiful shops and great places to eat, and the art scene is incredible there!

While you're in Santa Fe, you have to go see the Loretto Chapel!  This chapel, now a museum, is the most beautiful chapel I've seen! 

"When the Loretto Chapel was completed in 1878, there was no way to access the choir loft twenty-two feet above. Carpenters were called in to address the problem, but they all concluded access to the loft would have to be via ladder as a staircase would interfere with the interior space of the small Chapel.

Legend says that to find a solution to the seating problem, the Sisters of the Chapel made a novena to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. On the ninth and final day of prayer, a man appeared at the Chapel with a donkey and a toolbox looking for work. Months later, the elegant circular staircase was completed, and the carpenter disappeared without pay or thanks. After searching for the man (an ad even ran in the local newspaper) and finding no trace of him, some concluded that he was St. Joseph himself, having come in answer to the sisters' prayers.

The stairway's carpenter, whoever he was, built a magnificent structure. The design was innovative for the time and some of the design considerations still perplex experts today.

The staircase has two 360 degree turns and no visible means of support. Also, it is said that the staircase was built without nails—only wooden pegs. Questions also surround the number of stair risers relative to the height of the choir loft and about the types of wood and other materials used in the stairway's construction.

Over the years many have flocked to the Loretto Chapel to see the Miraculous Staircase. The staircase has been the subject of many articles, TV specials, and movies including "Unsolved Mysteries" and the television movie titled "The Staircase."

Find more about the chapel HERE!

The staircase alone is worth the $3 dollar admission.

After Joseph and I left the chapel, we walked around the plaza and felt like we had to whisper the whole time.  Being inside such a sacred place, and an awesome piece of history was a special experience. 

What A 2,876 Mile Road Trip Looks Like

About a month ago Joseph and I decided we needed to drop everything and hit the road!  We needed a vacation (our first actually in over two years), and we wanted to visit our family in Utah and Wyoming.  We filled a few bowls of water and food for the cats, loaded the car, and hit the road with Raz in tow.  We planned to not make plans, and be as flexible as possible on our trip, and we didn't take the most direct route from Texas to Utah either; we wanted to visit Santa Fe, New Mexico and Mesa Verde, Colorado along the way.

We took a few million pictures of course, so I'll post some of the highlights here!

I love this picture!  Joe sleeping, Raz deciding if he should lay down or keep looking out the window, and me driving with my shades on!  Joe actually drove the majority of the trip; I would give him a rest from time to time, but he was trooper!

Here are a few photos from the road!

Just over that horizon lies Santa Fe, New Mexico!  This sunset was even more incredible in person!

Just over that horizon lies Santa Fe, New Mexico!  This sunset was even more incredible in person!

Leaving New Mexico, making our way to Colorado!

Leaving New Mexico, making our way to Colorado!

New Mexico sure is beautiful!

New Mexico sure is beautiful!

San Juan National Forest, Colorado.  When you're in the mountains of Colorado, you're sure to see elk!

San Juan National Forest, Colorado.  When you're in the mountains of Colorado, you're sure to see elk!

Elk Herd!  San Juan National Forest, Colorado.

Elk Herd!  San Juan National Forest, Colorado.

Moab Utah!

Moab Utah!

Moab Utah.

Moab Utah.

Northern Utah!  The place where I grew up!

Northern Utah!  The place where I grew up!

Causey Reservoir, Northern Utah.  My most favorite place in the world; my ashes will be spread here!

Causey Reservoir, Northern Utah.  My most favorite place in the world; my ashes will be spread here!

We were able to visit my parents and siblings, my grandparents, Joe's parents, our children, and a few close friends who we consider family!  It was so nice to see the people of our tribe!   

Sunday after we arrived to Utah, Joe and I, my sister's family, and my brother's family all surprised my mom and dad with food and family fun!  All of my parents' children and their children together for the first time in a year!    The next day, we traveled to Wyoming to visit our children and Joe's parents!

Sunday after we arrived to Utah, Joe and I, my sister's family, and my brother's family all surprised my mom and dad with food and family fun!  All of my parents' children and their children together for the first time in a year!  

The next day, we traveled to Wyoming to visit our children and Joe's parents!

My sister is always so gracious to open her home to all of our family and friends!  It's easier to have one meeting place for everyone to gather and visit, and my sister's home is just the place for it! 

Cousin fun!  Little Ben keeping up with the bigger kids!  We did remedy this of course....

Cousin fun!  Little Ben keeping up with the bigger kids!  We did remedy this of course....

Small kids turn for the tramp with bigger kids on watch! 

Small kids turn for the tramp with bigger kids on watch! 

I've literally known these fine women for 16 years!  I treasure friendships like these!

I've literally known these fine women for 16 years!  I treasure friendships like these!

Skye twirling with her father in matching jammies, perfect for twirling! 

Skye twirling with her father in matching jammies, perfect for twirling! 

Our trip was wonderful and fast, and long at the same time!  Every state we drove through was absolutely beautiful!  Seeing our families, our friends, our children, staying up late visiting with my sister, and visiting with my grandma was fantastic!  We didn't have a lick of car trouble, and Raz was a champ!

See Santa Fe and The Loretto Chapel HERE, and Mesa Verde HERE!