Saturday, June 28, 2014

"A Change Of Faith In Tennessee"

Or actually, in Georgia. I just got back from EFY last night, and I had a great time. I made some really great memories and experienced some really spectacular things.

First, the camp was held at Riverside Military Base in Gainesville, GA. The campus was beautiful, and many were calling it the "Southern Hogwarts". Despite being wary at first, the Riverside staff was very kind, and they were very accommodating. This years EFY theme was to be "anxiously engaged". The teachers and the counselors were fabulous, and there is no way I could thank them enough for putting together this wonderful experience. We are going to rest for a few days, and then on Monday, we head to Dollywood! :D

I have posted a video here of the main courtyard.

The (Hogwarts) Dining Hall

The Outer Courtyard

More photos:
My crazy counselor Sydni, aka "Skydrill"

The food was not the best, but what can you expect at a military academy?
At least the cookies were good! ;P

Injuries of an EFY counselor ;P

This was my "company", or group, for the
week. Despite being distant at first, we all
had grown pretty close by the end of the week. 

Me being "anxiously engaged" in studying my scriptures. :D 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

"Georgia On My Mind"

Well, today was little calmer than yesterday, as all we did was make the drive from Mississippi to Georgia. We left Mississippi about 11:30 am, and arrived in Georgia at about 7:30 pm. Despite the fact that the drive was quite uneventful, the scenery was lovely, and the weather in Georgia is supposed to be cooler than in Mississippi. We rest tomorrow, and then I head off to church camp for 5 days on Monday. So, unless anything really exciting happens, this will be my last post until I get back next Saturday. I wish you all the best until then :)

Today's Song:
"Georgia On My Mind"-Ray Charles

Snacks, Souvenirs, and Stuff! ;P

The front yard in Mississippi

A stick bug we found on the front porch 

Friday, June 20, 2014

"Stars On The Water"

Well, today we spent the day "resting" in Jackson, MS. And by resting, I mean running around town all day, and racing on a pontoon boat through a Monsoon. Now, lets start from the beginning. We are staying with family while we are here in Jackson, and so this morning we were treated to the breakfast of champions... Donuts! ;P After eating our highly nutritional breakfast, we finished getting ready and headed out to do some shopping around town. It was already 12:00 pm by the time we headed out, and we had made plans to join some family friends for dinner around 5:30pm. So once we were done shopping, we headed back home, got ready for dinner, and then took off again towards our friend's house. Now, this is where the boat comes in. You see, our friends live on the shore of a reservoir, and had just gotten this beautiful pontoon boat. Now, considering the fact that we were eating dinner at the yacht club, which was just under the bridge and on the other side of the reservoir, we all decided that it would be fun to take the pontoon. So, we all climbed in and started on our way. At first, we were greeted with gorgeous scenery and views.

Then, as we reached the middle of the reservoir, we began to feel drops of water falling on us, thinking it was just the water splashing up from underneath the boat, we didn't think much of it. Then the drops started falling more frequently, and we began to realize what was happening. A few seconds later, we were caught in a downpour, one friend began shouting at the other to get out of there, so, doing the only thing he could think of, he sped up. So, there was Annie, jacket over her head, screaming and laughing all at the same time, my dad and RJ (the friend who was driving) smiling and laughing quietly to themselves, Karen, the friend who was still shouting to get out of there as she leaned over, trying unsuccesfully to keep herself dry, and me, hair blowing "majestically" in the wind, laughing as we raced through the storm. By the time we got to the club, we were soaked, and to put it in Karen's words, we looked "like a bunch of drowned river rats". Thankfully, we weren't too out of place considering that a few other people had fought the same battle.  So, we ate our dinner while sitting, soaking wet, at a yacht club where the men were wearing nice suits and the women expensive looking dresses, with the mayor sitting at the table next to us, the judge at the table across the room, and the bank owner getting food from the salad bar, but we didn't care. By the time we finished, the storm had stopped, and we all piled back inside the boat (after wiping down the seats in a vain attempt to "keep dry") and headed home. On the way, we were greeted by a beautiful sunset, and all of the happy people riding the "Friendship" party boat (ill include a story about that in the caption).

The "Friendship" party boat
Many years ago, the party boat partially sunk in the the reservoir, and the story
as to why it sunk is too good not to tell. Supposedly, there was a party going on
(funny thing to be doing on a party boat aint it?) and a woman jumped over
board in her birthday (not bathing) suit. All of the boys on board
(being boys) ran to one side of the ship to see, causing it to tip over. 

So, that was our actually exciting day... Who would have thought going to dinner could be so much fun ;P Tomorrow, we head to Gainsville, GA, where we will once again rest for a day before I head of to church camp for 5 days.

More Photos:

Photo of me... (told y'all it was "majestic" ;P )

For those of you who were wondering (aka, none of you), all (or the majority) of the titles I use for my posts are either song titles or lyrics that in my mind, connect with the stories of the day. So, todays title, "Stars On The Water" comes from the George Strait song "Stars On The Water". As we were skipping along the water, wind and rain in my face, I thought of the the last two verses of this song:

"Beaumont to Biloxi sea breeze at your door
Gypsy rains dang hurricanes
White silver sandy shores
Blue light lounge is shinin'
Why out on the pier
Makes it look just like stars on the water
Just like stars on the water
Just like stars on the water
When it rains

When it's midnight down in Mobile
Shining moon beams on the bay
They come from miles around
To dance the jukebox down
To hear the good time sounds they play
And all across the harbor night life shinin' on
Makes you feel just like stars on the water
Just like stars on the water
Just like stars on the water
When it rains"

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Mighty Mississippi...

Well, today we made our way to Jackson, MS. Leaving amarillo at aproximately 8:00 am, arriving in Jackson around 9:00 pm, and only stopping to get gas when absolutely necessary, the 13 hour drive marked one of the longest drives of the trip. Despite the fact that sitting in a car for 13 hours is the most exciting thing in the world, the trip was rather uneventful. I was able to enjoy occasionally driving through some of the smaller, and much older towns that we happened to pass through along our way. The scenery was quite interesting also, and I especially enjoyed the environment as we were driving through Louisiana. We also happened to pass Monroe, LA, which, for those of you who don't know, is the home to the Robertson family, aka, the Duck Dynasty Clan. We even got to drive over the Mississippi River as we were crossing the Louisiana/ Mississippi state line.

So, despite the fact that it was a relatively "uneventful" day, we still enjoyed it. And, there was a beautiful sunset waiting for us by the time we got to Jackson! :) Tomorrow, we rest here in Jackson before heading of to Gainesville, Georgia on saturday.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"Amarillo by Morning"...

Or actually "Amarillo by Evening" considering the fact that we got to Amarillo, TX, around 6:30 pm today. We spent the majority of the day in Albuquerque, NM, where we rode the Sandia Peak tramway.

The tramway stretches from the valley floor to the crestline of the Sandia mountains, making it the 3rd longest single-span tramway in the world. Each tram can hold approximately 50 people, and the journey up takes about 15 minutes. The views on the way up are amazing...

...but the views once you reach the top are absolutely spectacular.

While we were at the top, we ate lunch at "High Finance", the restaurant that has sat at the crest of the Sandia mountains for more than 40 years.

After lunch, we took a few more photos and took the tram back down the mountain. Once we reached the bottom, we started on the 4 hour drive to Amarillo, TX. Once we arrived in Amarillo, we checked into our hotel and headed in for the night. Tomorrow, we have another long drive ahead of us as we head for Jackson, MS, so ill keep y'all updated in case anything exciting happens :)

Today's Song:
"Amarillo by Morning"-George Strait

More Photos:
The upper tram Platform

Annie and Dad suffering from the effects of altitude sickness 

Me at the top of the Sandia mountains

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"On The Road Again"

Howdy Folks! 
Today was our first day on the road. We traveled from Las Vegas, NV all the way to Albuquerque, NM. We left Las Vegas at about 8:00 am, and arrived in Albuquerque at about 5:45 pm. Now, as many of you know, I'm not a fan of deserts, but even I have to admit that watching the land and environment change across 3 different states was quite amazing. 
The landscape in Nevada started out barren. 

Long strips of flat desolate land broken up by a string of jagged mountains in the distance. This lasted for miles up until we began to approach Flagstaff, AZ. The terrain grew greener, and trees began to replace the sage brush scattered across the plateau. 

And then, miraculously, we were suddenly engulfed in a beautiful pine forest. 

After that, the terrain once again grew desolate. The flat and unchanging landscape, only interrupted by the occasional factory or small town. This continued, and 20 chicken McNuggets and a bag of gummy-worms later, we arrived in Albuquerque. After checking in to our hotel, and getting some advice from the locals, we headed on over to the "High Noon" in historic downtown. 

The restaurant, a refurbished home built in 1785, served what many said was "traditional" New Mexico style Mexican food. After a delicious meal, we headed downtown to do some shopping, and while many of the stores were closed for the evening, we found a few shops that were still open where we purchased a few knick-nacks.  

After doing our shopping, we all loaded back in the car, and headed back to the hotel. We finished of our day with a beautiful sunset before turning in to our rooms for the night.

Well, that was our first day. We are planning on exploring Albuquerque a little more tomorrow before heading to Amarillo, TX, and then its on to Jackson, MS. Ill keep ya'll posted as we continue on our adventures.

Today's Song:
"On The Road Again"-Willie Nelson

More Photos:
Waiting for my food inside the restraunt 

The exterior of the High Noon 

Inside High Noon 

Driving through Flagstaff, AZ