Its about time to change my blog name again. I am fairly positive that I need to move on and start up a photography blog that is a piece of my brand new (baby, 8lb 9 oz) business.

To get started, I will post a picture from one of this weekend’s sessions for the Breast Cancer Awareness Challenge at I Heart Faces.



Fingers Crossed!!!  And keep checking back for more work from Freedom Photography.


We have been traveling one full week, (and an hour, really) at this point.  Tonight we are staying @ Sleep Inn, where the customer service is non-existent, and there’s a beeping noise two rooms down (that they are refusing to do anything about, since “someone is in that room”).  I imagine that the LAST thing I will be doing here is SLEEPing.  The front desk clerk is absolutely accommodating, but none to happy about it.  Well, not accommodating entirely, since that beeping noise is still going on! (at 9:50 at night)

This morning had us leaving St Joseph, Missouri after a long night of NO tornadoes (despite what was promised on the radio) in a slightly questionable Motel6.  I knew lunch would be big (BBQ in St Louis), so I told the kids we’d just grab a doughnut @ the local gas station (it was next door to a Dunkin’ Donuts).  Bad choice, there were flies and other bugs flying around inside the doughnut container, so I told them to grab something SEALED and we’d get  moving down the road.  In fact, Kylen (quite loudly) proclaimed ” EEEEWWWW GROSS, THERE’S BUGS IN THERE! WHO WOULD EAT THAT?”  Ahh, kids.  We had over 600 miles to log today, and a big stop in the middle, so we needed to get moving.

We got to St Louis about 4 1/2 hours later because there was lots of Kansas City to get through, tons of road work, and retarded drivers (according to my aggressive chauffeur).  St Louis was looking like it would be much of the same, until we saw the Gateway Arch in the distance, and then everyone got a little excited.  We had no expectations since we knew NO ONE who had gone up in it, but were looking forward to getting to walk around downtown.  We parked, left the dogs in the kennels in the truck bed.  It was an overcast morning, so we thought they’d be okay.  Right out of the parking lot was 2nd street, and it was full of restaurants.  We ate at the first one we come across, and it was WONDERFUL and CHEAP (compared to Alaska).

From there we walked the 1/2 mile or so to the Arch (omg, it was HOT by then and the sun was OUT for a bit).  There’s sooooo much more than that I had thought.  There’s a museum under neath the middle of the arch, the Westward Expansion Museum (with a baseball section in the back).  We bought our tickets ($30 total) and went to catch a ride up to the top (I only found out last night that you could ride up to the top).  You have to go downstairs a flight, then wait to ride in this little space pod elevator that seats 5 (tightly).  There are 8 pods or so that rotate up and down every 10 minutes.  There are rides from the North and South sides of the Arch.  Then you pile in, and wait for the 4 minute ride up.  You are welcome to stay as long as you want up there, but one can only handle so much I imagine.  We looked around from both sides of the Arch.  And even found our DIRTY blue truck in the parking lot (at the bottom of the “lot” picture).  This was the highlight of our trip.  It was wonderful, and definitely something I would recommend to others, and we completed it in an hour and a half 🙂 .  We didn’t see much of the museum (worried about the dogs in the heat).

Then we traveled south, through the Bootheel of Missouri, and then into Arkansas for the worst hour of this trip.  Ar-kansas bites.  Eventually we crossed the Mississippi River into Tennessee, through Memphis (past the Graceland Exit) and into Mississippi to stop in Horn Lake.  Tomorrow there are only 350 (or so) miles to go, and we’ll be able to STOP DRIVING..  🙂 Heck, I should be able to take a nap and wake up in my mom’s driveway?  Haha.

I took 166 pictures, so only a few are below, the rest are worth seeing (although some crappy ones are there too).

You’ll see *A billboard I found funny, *Blue/Red Tongues, *Dogs @ the Rest stop outside of St Louis, *bad weather pano, and *My own Arch photos (which I love).  ENJOY!!!

So – to close up.

We went to go to eat (across the parking lot), and shut the curtains so the dogs could feel the FULL benefit of the air conditioner, and it turned the room pitch black.  In the darkness Rickie says, “That must be why they call it SLEEP INN.”

We walk across the parking lot to Cracker Barrel, (where I drank 40 glasses of REAL sweet tea).  I order Apple Butter with the cornbread, and made Rickie try some.  His eyes get realllllllly big, and he says, “WOW, it feels like I just skipped to Thanksgiving or something!”  He loved that apple butter (it is yummmmmy!).  From there we hit up Chuck E Cheese, where we all blew through 100 coins in no time at all.  The kids are playing cards in the bed, and its almost time for me to get the clothes from the dryer.

Hate to dissappoint you all, but tomorrow will be the last installment of our little trip for a few weeks.  Don’t worry, I will have smaller posts of what we are doing in LA, and then will pick back up again when we travel to Georgia, then to PA for a wedding, then to NY for a few weeks, and back home to LA.  I will post on FB when the time comes, and I hope you will continue to read along.

Cheers for now…..BE SURE to check out the rest of the photos!!!!

Today we drove over 300 miles ACROSS South Dakota, then over 300 miles south from there, through Iowa, and eventually settling in Missouri for the night.  We are finally in our new time zone, so that’s a plus.  (The kids pronounce it Misery, though, due to the humidity they aren’t used to).  We experienced our first taste of humid air in Iowa, and it was a surprise when we opened the truck door.  I am sure it wasn’t that much, but it was weird after not having it for so long. Then when we stopped in Missouri, the kids were acting all weird, talking about how HOOOOOT it was.  Just wait, I say, just wait.

We crossed over 670 miles today, pushing further than I had originally planned.  The kids are still doing well, and I have a feeling they will watch a few more movies tomorrow than they did today.  So far its only been one a day, if any, during the ride.  They do a lot of sleeping. They are starting to get more rambunctious at night, which is fine, since we are about 2 days from being done…

There’s not much for pictures, just some of what Rick was convinced was the start of the Badlands (so, not), and then this back of this truck we passed….

We are staying @ a Motel6 (in BUCHANAN County, HAHA) this evening (not wonderful, but right off the interstate, which is what I wanted), and they had a pool.  The kids have had their first OUTDOOR pool swim, and it was interesting.  I left my camera in the truck :(, so there are no pictures.  The water was COLD, and FULL of chlorine, and what I think was dog food. (there were birds around, seems like someone tried to feed them?)  I don’t want to think about the other possibilities of what it could have been.  Now they are playing cards, and Rick and I are ready to crash.  We’ll see how that goes.

The dogs are good, still.  They got to run around at a rest stop in Iowa, and Pebbles LOVED the grass and trees!  They sure where hot when they got done running around.  (Geez, I could have taken pictures of that too, but I must be slacking?)

Tomorrow – I have plans to eat some St Louis Ribs downtown, and take a ride up the Gateway Arch.  I’m excited 🙂  Then on to Memphis (or near it) for the evening.  That means we’ll be arriving to Prairieville, La Thursday afternoon (3ish?) sometime.

OH – and we got to eat at Red Lobster tonight.  Yummy Cheddar Biscuits.  AND there’s a Cracker Barrel down the road that I thought about for breakfast, but since I know lunch will be big, I think we’ll skip it for now.  Okay – that’s it – below are the two pitiful excuses I have for pictures today:

So – this morning we left Montana, and I know why they call it “Big Sky” . The picture really doesn’t do justice to the feeling:    OH and Rick forgot to get a receipt this morning when we stopped for gas in Lewistown.  So while he’s at the red light I ran, in only my socks, across 4 lanes to grab it out of the machine before the light turned.  It was a small town, and surprisingly enough my socks WEREN’T dirty when I got back to the truck.  🙂

We entered Wyoming, and it was pretty much the same stuff, but the weather changed:

Not so bad of a trip today – but there was some rain, some BLOODY bugs on our windshield, and some red clay hills in Wyoming.

Funny Gas Store name.  Okay funny to me:

Click on the picture to see it full size, so you can read it all 🙂

We stopped @ the Black Hills Veteran Memorial.  It was sad, and moving, and I wish I could explain all I felt:

Our check engine light came on today 😦

And then went off again 🙂 Yeah!

We got to see Mount Rushmore today.  Barely.  We got up there, I got loads of great photos, and then as we drive away the fog dropped over their faces, like it was bedtime.  It was incredible, but I had already put away the camera, so no shots of that.  😦

Heading in:

Here’s the kiddos:


There are 100 pictures from today – but some of them are DEF worth looking at (sorry I couldn’t post them all).

Check them out here:

Last one:

We let the dogs out outside the park, and they got into some herbicide that they just sprayed, and ended up with blue paws.  Therefore a trip to PetCo was mandatory, and a bath in the hotel was completed.  I think I ended up clearner than they are 🙂

Tomorrow – we are heading straight across SD, and then due south….unsure where we will stop for the night, but I’m sure you will hear from me!  Nite-Nite!

The PLAN was to make it to Great Falls, MT and spend the night.  However, we did not do that.  It was “too early” to stop for the night, so we pushed on, and we are in Lewistown, MT.  THANK THE LORD that it was a big enough town to have a Super 8….barely big enough, but whatever, I’m laying on a bed, and its lovely.

My pictures aren’t worth much today….we spent 45 minutes or so waiting at the border to get back into the United States…and since then we’ve seen about a billion cows, 40 bajillion acres of farmland.  Here are a few points from today (or earlier):

*1* Canada doesn’t sell Almond Joy candy bars, so Rick’s been eating Reese’s as a driving distraction….Today he finally had Almond Joy again….its amazing how much joy one can get from a candy bar.

*2* Saw a plateau in MT, no picture though, b/c the windshield was full of bugs & I didn’t have my long lens out 😦

Okay – that’s that….nothing worth posting, sorry.

Well, I am currently in the Super 8 in South Edmonton (SOUTH-siiiiiide), and I have no internet connection.  The lady at the front desk assures me that I “click on Super 8, no password needed, you connected.”  Hate to tell you – but I am NOT connected, thus unable to update my peeps.  Ah, but I digress.  Tomorrow I plan to find a place with REAL wi-fi, and get this published, but for the moment (8:39pm) I will just let it rest on my computer.

We only drove 610km today (I don’t feel like converting it, you do the math).  It wasn’t too bad, as I slept most of the ride (again).  We thought we’d make it quicker, so we pushed through lunch, and only had a continental breakfast, so we saved some really $$ today.  We finally ate at the Mall this evening in some weird Tiki Tom’s (Jumbo Jims? ) sorta restaurant. JUNGLE JIM’s .  THAT was it.  It was so-so, but they DID have sweet potato fries, which are my favorite.  Canada (CA-nada) has impressed me today with its rolling farmland, fancy looking horses, sweet potato fries and some wickedly good Green Tea Ginger Ale.  I told Rick this morning that I was drinking something with national pride, and it was NOT imported.  I snorted, he just smiled at me, although I am sure he didn’t find it funny.

Today’s plan was just to go to the mall.  The West Edmonton Mall has TONS to see and do.  It has an amusement park, a water park, bungee diving, putt-putt, an ice skating rink, and hundreds (thousands?) of stores.  We didn’t really shop, but we did walk around and located this pretty cool replica of the St. Maria (read your history folks!), and that was interesting to walk around on.

We went into Galaxyland, where we thought we’d just “look” but Kylen says “I wanna ride the roller coaster,” and you only live once…so on it we go.  Rickie is telling me (as I am buying the tickets) that he doesn’t think he wants to go.  Um, nope, we don’t separate, so you’ll go, and it will be okay.  Ha, ha, ha…he agrees to go. We stand in line for like 20 minutes (really wasn’t too bad), and we watch it go round and round a few times, and then we get on.  Kylen’s excited.  Rick and I are all for it, and Rickie’s iffy.  We go up, and when it starts to twist Kylen’s smile fades, and I start to snort.  Then Rickie starts yelling, “ THIS WAS A BAD CHOICE!  THIS WAS A BAD CHOICE!”  Kylen snaps out of her stupor to start screaming bloody murder.  We hit a slow spot and both kids stop screaming like they are dying. We tell them it is almost over, but nope, that doesn’t help.  The twisting starts again, and Kylen starts screaming, “ I HATE THIS RIDE.” Repeatedly, with vigor. I am banging my chest to catch my breath, Rick’s laughing so hard he’s crying, and the kids are terrified.  It was absolutely the best ride to date!

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So that’s it for our time in CA-nada, tonight’s the last night.  Tomorrow we’ll be entering the US, and we are looking forward to our next adventure (two days til Mt Rushmore!).

Good night!


We’ve gone another grueling 600+ miles today as we covered ground from Watson Lake (boooo!) to Dawson Creek, BC (not too shabby). I realize that I jipped you on last night’s installment of our travels, and I will try to make that up to you tonight.  Currently, my driver (Rick) is passed out in the bed next to me, and hopefully my click-clack typing won’t wake him up much.

The kids and I slept most of the way.  The kids did because of boredom, I did because I’M STILL SICK!  This has got to give.  Its making things rough on everybody.  But….on to the good (and bad) parts of today (and some of yesterday).

(1) We decided to charge everything in Canada, instead of changing out money.  That’s worked so far, only because I met some really awesome people in the Laundry Mat (that was closed!) down the road.  We were in DESPERATE need of washing a load, and they were closed, and I had only American $$$, and I felt like such an ass, but luckily we met someone really nice.  I might even stop calling it CA-nada now.

(2) This morning Rick started calling it CA-nada (sorry Nisha) and usually there’s some explicative before it, because we have encountered a little (lot) bit of rudeness once people realize we are Americans.  Or just in general, non-ethnic specific, rudeness.  I’ve had to pee in the woods like 5 times today because there were a lot of places that wouldn’t allow us to use their restroom.  And in CA-nada, REST AREA doesn’t not mean restroom…..oooooook, no biggie.  Really, most of our trouble was in the Yukon Territory – and since crossing into BC, I’m liking it.

(3) Today we saw Buffalo in, on, and near the road.  We saw several sheep as well, pictures to follow. OH, and a black bear too.

(4) Rickie threw up in the truck, but luckily it was in a bag.  DADDY likes to drive fast, and we had lots of winding roads as we traveled through Summit Pass.  I traded seats which helped him, but I nearly threw up.  Kylen also felt sick, so all three of them were in the front, while I laid down in the back trying to convince myself I was on a roller coaster ride.

(5) The dogs are finally getting the hang of things!!  Woohoo for small miracles.

(6) We broke our “eat at that place once” rule already.  Watson Lake had no other options……I’m trying to maintain this idea for the remainder of our trip though.

(7) I’m still SICK.  I thought it was allergies/sinus issues, but they just aren’t going away.  GRRRR.

(8) The great part, is that tomorrow is a smaller travel day (only 6hrs of driving) and we hit the mall.

(9) Where we are tonight had NO laundry, but did have a pool.  So the kids and I went swimming, and had plenty of fun while Dad slept.  In fact, I hit my head on the slide, and have a nice bump/bruise forming on my FOREHEAD!