We had the time of our lives driving out to the Grand Canyon! We left late Friday night due to a serious accident on the freeway, and drove through the night. Now, most of you who know me know that I am NOT a night owl. 9, 10pm, I'm out for the night. However, I made it until 3 AM before chugging the nasty energy drink. I taught Grant and Nicole how to drive my truck (a stick shift), and we were off. I've never driven through Arizona before, and sadly, I didn't see a thing since it was the middle of the night.

Nasty Necessity

I didn't know there wouldn't be any gas stations along Interstate 40....so about 2 am we had to pull over and thank GOD we had reception on our iPhone's to find the nearest one. Good Ole' Roy was kind enough to turn on the pumps for us (he must do this regularly) in the middle of the night to fuel up; at the tune of $3.59/gallon!! On our way back to the 40, we decided to take a different way and this happened...

We found the Route 66!

Sunrise on the way to the GC.

We finally arrived off the 40 about 4:45 am, and drove the remaining hour to the sight of the sunrise. I was so amazed at the landscape around me; again I've never been out "west". I took photo after photo, and just couldn't stop! We drove straight to the South Rim, at about 6am. The park had just opened and it was deserted. Seeing the Grand Canyon as the sun was rising, on a crystal clear day was something out of a movie. I've never seen anything so incredible; it almost seemed fake. No photo could ever do it justice.

Little chickens wouldn't venture out with me!

One of my favorite photos.

Nicole, Grant and I

Waiting for the sunset. We had the best seat in the house!

I still can't believe we didn't sleep for almost 40 hours! Other than a 20 minute cat nap here or there, we powered through the day. We were hoping to luck out and get a campsite IN the Grand Canyon National Park, but that didn't happen. Luckily the Park Ranger told us that we would camp anywhere outside of the GCNP, for free. Well heck yeah! We found the first dirt road, turned down, and claimed our wild spot. It was in a perfect clearing, just right for a fire pit. Grant was quite the nature man (he claimed watching Bear Grylls helped:), and made us the best rogue fire I've ever seen. After a good night's sleep, we were on the road again back to SoCal. We were all so surprised at the Arizona landscape, seeing as it was pitch black when we drove the night before.

It was a whirlwind trip, I was exhausted and slept A LOT when I got home, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. What better travel buddies than Grant and Nicole?! Oh, and the love bug bit them somewhere on the trail. They're now dating. How cute :)

Beautiful Franklin, TN

It felt so good to go home! I was craving the smell of the freshly sprung green leaves on trees, seeing wildflowers blowing in the wind, feel fresh raindrops on my skin, and feeling the humidity expand my hair. Just kidding on that last one. But seriously, when I walked out of the airport, I literally said out loud: "Holy humidity, Batman!" It was so nasty humid!

Friday I was able to get my hairs did by my favorite hairstylist, Amanda. I've gone to her for years, and it was sooooo good to catch up and see her cute lil' baby bump! Anyone reading this in Nashville, check her out. Amanda Pierce at Serenity Hair Studio in Cool Springs. Tell her Stacey sent ya!

I had lunch with the incredible Kelly Williams, who filled me in on her kids lives (I've known them since they were in middle school!), college, proms, girlfriends....kids grow up too fast these days. Friday night the ladies (Katie, Jenni and I, also known as the Tennessee Trio), went to Tin Roof 2 for a night of dinner and drinks. Man, I've missed my girls. You know you've found your "people" when you can maintain the same depth of relationship thousands of miles away, and pick right back up. THAT'S a friendship.

Drew, Jenni, myself and Katie

The Melton's came by to say hi! Love these two :)
Jon and Bethany Melton

Preston's wedding was awesome! It was in Arrington, TN, which is a little bit in the middle of nowhere. It was held at the cutest little white church surrounded by miles and miles of nothing but green green fields. I was able to catch up with many friends, old and new, that I didn't realize would be there. Saturday night we went straight to the Stardust Drive In, which was one of my favorite things to do while living in TN. It's literally in the middle of nowhere, in Watertown, TN. We watched Robin Hood, and I loved it!

Gotta be a a little goofy here and there :)

One of my dearest and closest friends, Preston.

Congratulations, Preston and Erin!

Sunday my dad and sister drove down from Kentucky, and we had lunch at Puckett's in downtown Franklin. I miss them so much, and was so glad that they came down to see me. It seemed like the weekend flew by, which it always does, and all too soon I had to board my plane back to California.

Dad and I

Or so I thought.

And so begins the worst flight nightmare of my life.

Original flight departure: 6pm.

ACTUAL flight departure: 9pm.

Missed connection, have to stay in Denver.

And I can't get my luggage.

It's 1am.

I'm standing in the umpteenth line, for the umpteenth time, waiting for my hotel assignment.

I stand in line for the shuttle.

I stand in line at the hotel to check in.

I stand and stare at my bed.

It's 3am.

Moral of the story? NEVER fly Frontier Airlines. EVER. Well, I'll need to use my flight coupon, but after that, NEVER again.

Ray LaMontagne's new single is up on his website...check it HERE!

I've followed Ray for a few years and got to see him perform live at the Ryman in the Nashville (one of my FAVORITE venues, by the way). He was fantastic!

Posted in the Anaheim Hills News was an article about Disneylands' "Summer Pass". For $108, you get three separate visits to either Disneyland or California Adventre. That's about $36/day, half the price of a general admission ticket! Residents have 45 days to use all three tickets-each one good for each park per day. Passes can be upgraded to park hoppers for an extra $21.

Check out Disneyland.com for more info!

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