The age old question of travel, are we there yet?   We’re at one of the “theres” right now, with lots more to go . . . want to see what we’ve seen?  Oh yes, we could write a book!  MUSICA.

This is life on the road.  Not elegant, but functional. Which is saying something.

Our daily in, looks just like our daily out, only pointing in the opposite direction.

The long and winding road.  If you ever feel crowded where you are, just know there’s plenty space left in this beautiful wide-open country . . .

. . . amongst waves of grass and wild Black-eyed Susans, where clouds drain down the sky and graze the tops of mountain ranges, with views so wide, and an infrastructure so encompassing, all your “proud to be an American” buttons get pressed.  Words like, “purple mountains majesty” and “fruited plain” come to mind. . .

Unfortunately, we are efficient bug killers out here.

And did you know that Lake Michigan is so big it has waves and looks just like the ocean?  I think you could surf Lake Michigan!

It’s a lovely place to catch the sunset and the last of the summer evening breezes.

There are a lot of happy people in this world . . . you see it everywhere you go.

We found this at a blues music festival in Iowa City . . . . we walked through it to get to the bookstore (Prairie Lights) there and this was my favorite thing . . .

A public bucket list!  Make a difference! ~ Be Happy! ~ Jam with Kiss! ~ Change the World! 

Motorcycles are a big part of road life!  Motorcyclists are a very festive bunch of people!  This is Goshen, Indiana and this huge group has joined together to honor the fallen heroes and first responders now and on Sept. 11.

And history, plenty of colorful American history out there.  Here we are in cowboy country, Dodge City, Kansas at Boot Hill.

Joe finds me working on the car in the parking lot and is wondering what I am doing since the car is HIS department.

But I’m in charge of decorating.

. . . for the Fine Romance Van.

Which fits in everywhere we go . . . especially here in Hog Wild country, we wiggle our butt in between all the other piglets, we make this grouping into a party — then we go inside and buy Kansas-Barbecued everything to eat in the car!

This is the visor on my side of the car.  I know you recognize Girl and Jack, but who is that third kitty?  It belongs to one of our Girlfriends who sent this photo to me just before we left ~ I brought it along.  It fit in so perfectly.

On we go, munching beef brisket, ribs, and powak bah-ba-cue, under a sky wide as forever.

Then, in New Mexico, no doubt about it, we found us some weather.

Even while a corner of the sun was still peeking through the clouds, the rain began and the van was blown sideways, rocked by the wind . . .

It got a little wild with the water flying up; passing a truck was like being on the inside of a car wash . . . clouds churned into blackness and we moved toward it.

But we came out of it as we went in, with blue skies and beautiful wildflower-strewn Arizona waiting on the other side . . .

And suddenly, there’s that sign again, we see it every time we drive across country.  “Meteor Crater” just rings every one of Joe’s bells, he wants to go there so much and we’ve never have time before.  But this time, we hit the breaks and off we go, six miles down the flat road to nowhere . . .

And at the end, a museum on the side of a hill, where we buy tickets to see a crater that was formed by a meteor 50,000 years ago.

And it’s a crater alright.  No doubt about it.  I recognized it immediately.  Flat desert, but all around this hole in the ground is a steep hill.  When the meteor hit, it pushed all the dirt up and around it in a perfect circle, like the well you make with flour to drop the egg in when you are making pasta (if you know what I mean).

It has a platform a ways down you reach by a steep stairway where people go to get extra close to take pictures.

People like Joe.  But not people like me who stay up top, not on a dangling platform, and take pictures of the people who do.

Inside the museum you can stand in front of a photo that makes you look like you are down in the crater, but of course, you aren’t!

And then we’re on the road again, for more wildflower roadside of Arizona . . .

So pretty we have to stop and take pictures, along with other fellow travelers and admirers of beauty.

Smells of pine and sage, in the high desert south of Flagstaff.

Closeup and personal with the flora and fauna . . .

And views that go forever . . .

Wild asters and all the rest of it  . . .

And then, we arrive, at destination ground zero.  Cottonwood Arizona, at home with the Blog Daddy,

. . . and about to have one of our very favorite dinners in the world . . .

And that’s it for today Girlfriends.  Yes, all those new things in the last post that we ran out of already?  More are coming!  More Peter Rabbit Emma cups, more Charms, more Bobeche, and you know, more A FINE ROMANCE books too, it’s all on the way!  Tea too, end of this month, and Tea Tins!  Also, for you California Girls I posted new information for our EVENT on the Central Coast in San Luis Obispo, and added another bookstore, famous old Independent Bookstore, Vroman’s in Pasadena.  Be sure to check those events every so often!  OK, I’ll give the Blog Daddy a big hug from you!  XOXO

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644 Responses to ARE WE THERE YET?

  1. Martha Ellen of VA says:

    So happy to see you are at your Daddy’s home now. He certainly looks great! The photos of America the Beautiful are lovely. What a vast country we live in! I’m so excited that I received a shipping notice that my Peter Rabbit mug is coming! I can’t wait. Enjoy your visit with blog Daddy! xoxo ♥

  2. Mary says:

    A fine road trip! Looks like fun. Safe travels.

  3. Rosinda says:

    Hello Susan! It’s so nice to see what you’ve been up to these past few days! Will you be on your way to your home in California soon? You must be looking forward to sleeping in your own bed! Say hello to Joe and the Blog Daddy. Enjoy your visit and those ribs!! Rosinda xo

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Rosinda! Yes, tomorrow we begin driving to my sisters, then to my moms…we’re dropping in on everyone! xoxo

  4. Esther says:

    You look like you’re having such a great time. As Martha S. would say “it’s a good thing”!

  5. Jan says:

    Have been enjoying your pics and posts since you left Michigan. Yes, Lake Michigan is a big lake. Our oldest son lives in Scottville (small town as you go into Ludington, on the west side of the state) and they go to Lake Michigan to the beach – beautiful area for vacationing, swimming, and fishing. Your luggage cart looks a lot like ours when we travel. My husband always reminds me of how many days we are going to be gone, but I always have to take my “crafts ” just in case I have time to do them. Sooo glad to hear we are getting more charms, mugs, etc. as I tried to order last night and most things I wanted weren’t available. Are you getting any more Autumn banners? Happy you are safely at your Dads. Enjoy your time!!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, more of everything is coming…I just can’t quite figure out yet how much of everything to order! Thank you Jan!

      • mari1017 says:

        Order lots of tea tins and tea! With your new and growing fabulous following, you’ll need lots!!! ♥

        • sbranch says:

          I think I went plenty crazy with these and we will have enough for everyone! In order to get a couple of hundred, I had to order a couple of thousand, and I just DID it, because I had to have that tin!!! 🙂 I will be putting Christmas cookies in them for the rest of my life, but I don’t care. I love them!

          • Jan says:

            Yay!! Was already wondering about the tea tins. Am anxiously waiting for their arrival.

          • mari1017 says:

            Yeah!!! Thanks for the good news about the tins, Susan 🙂 So glad Christmas is coming – these will make perfect presents ♥ Sounds like you and Joe are having soooo much fun – I love travelling!
            Sharing your book with friends and family – it’s just so good and so different and so beautifully created – you are winning new fans!
            Happy trails and safe travels!

          • sbranch says:

            The van is like our shell and we are the turtle, so our house comes with us! Makes it very easy! Thank you Mari! I’m excited about the tins too, tomorrow! We’ll be at the studio on Thursday or Friday and can not wait to see everyone there.

  6. Carolyn Sands says:

    I love, love your kitties. We have a Himalayan which is king. I want a tuxedo kitty so bad but I’m afraid he/she won’t adjust to the bully king! Love your posts and your newest book is my bedtime reading! All the best to you and Joe.

    • sbranch says:

      I think I learned a lesson with Jack. If you have an older kitty and you want a new one, knowing what I know now, I would get two kittens. That way they would entertain each other and not try and get your king involved; he could just be an interested bystander and watch the action. Jack tries to engage Girl and she really wants none of his wild kitten play. When you bring them home, you have to keep them in a separate room from the older cat for 1-2 weeks… take a kitten out and rub him on your furniture, so your older cat gets used to the new smell in the house. Pet the kittens, then rub your older kitty. Spread kitten love around the house before you let them out. Hope this helps, one way or the other! Thank you Carolyn! Nice to hear from you.

      • Cindy Tuning says:

        We finally had a breakthrough with Lucy and Rosie yesterday. Lucy is the older Queen Bee and Rosie is about 4 months old. After all this time of breaking up fights(Ted says they’re they’re not!) and separating them, they slept on my bed TOGETHER for 2 1/2 hrs! I could have cried!

  7. Marsha MacLean says:

    Oh, Susan,
    Say hi to blog daddy from all of us! I am loving reading about this cross country trip, as I visited some of those places a few years ago! How fun to see it all! Hog wild! LOL… And Boot Hill!
    I am so excited that you’ll be at Vroman’s. I know you spoke of it, but was waiting to see when…
    Still, Remnants called my name, and as you said, it looks like a great girlfriends outing, so one of my girlfriends and I have made reservations to come see you there! Looks like fun and can’t wait to meet you!
    Enjoy your time with family,

  8. Jackie says:

    Hi Susan! I had lunch today with a friend who came to meet you at “The Learned Owl”, in Hudson, Ohio. She said she kept looking at you and thinking you reminded her of someone. Then, it came to her…you remind her of me! How about that. I didn’t know I was so cute! And, now you know you have a “twin” in Ohio! Continue to enjoy your trip across this great country. It looks like a lot of fun, with the exception of that storm…yikes! Oh, and I am sorry I did not make it to the book store. I was in Hudson that evening, but had to take my Godson to gymnastics lessons. Maybe next time….. xoxo, Jackie
    Plus, you girlfriends were up way past my bedtime!)

  9. Anna Steinle (Kentucky) says:

    So excited you finally reached your destination of daddy’s arms!!! Love the pics and the windshield of bugs! Just wanted to say thank you again for stopping in Wilmington, OH and signing my recipe books for my two daughters and someday future daughter inlaw, and my Fine Romance book! So so awesome to meet you and check a number on my bucket list!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      My pleasure Anna, I just loved it. I can’t wait until the books come in so I can start meeting some of our other girlfriends again!

  10. Nellie says:

    Wonderful to see all the things you have done on this trip, Susan! I know you are enjoying this dinner with Blog Daddy!:-)

    Oh, no! Don’t tell me! Are you out of the charms? I just didn’t have a chance to order yet! Hopefully there will be some more soon.

    I send along wishes for continued safe travels.

    xo Nellie

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, more are coming. I’m going to have to start doing pre-orders all the time, so I know how many of things to get!! This guessing is for the birds! I’m not good at it!

  11. Janet in Rochester says:

    GREAT post… I really felt like I was “on the road” with you and Joe. And then, at the end, the BEST-EVER pic of your Dad. Loved it! Hi, Jack! Hi, Jeannie and Daisy!! Enjoy your visit to the hilt, and get some rest too. Real do-nothing time off, as in not messing-with-computers-rest. Every one is entitled to [and needs] vacation time. And travel, even if one is basically just sitting in a vehicle driving [or co-piloting] along, is still tiring. xoxo – it’s Fall – yay!

    • sbranch says:

      Everyone looks and feels great … we’ve been loving our visit. But sadly, Daisy departed this world a few months ago. We didn’t talk about it here, it was just too close to home and fresh, but yesterday we Googled local pet rescues, looking at doggies in the window!

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        Oh, I’m so sorry about Daisy. Truly. Been there – and those first days when you’re no longer being followed everywhere you go are just heart-breaking. But it says A LOT that they’re already looking into saving another life – how wonderful. Big virtual squeeze being directed in a Southwestern direction…

        • sondra fox says:

          Our darling Tuxedo cat contracted feline Aids. Had to put him (Bootsie) down. What a personality he had. He brought such joy to my husband & myself. Bootsie cheered us up when my husband was in the final days of his illness. Then a month after my husband passed, my two cats passed. I suspect they both had the same illness. No innoculations for that disease in cats. Like your dad Susan, I’m looking for another pet. I already have three cats & one dog. Our dog, Jack, loved Bootsie & is looking for both my husband & Bootsie. Jack is very confused. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

          • Janet in Rochester says:

            Bless your heart, Sandy. After all that’s hit you this year, you’re already looking to provide a loving home for another needy animal. You are something else. Big virtual squeeze on its way to Chihuahua Flats for you & Jack. ❤

  12. Treese says:

    Don’t you love fall! The country is so beautiful with big mama nature showing off her splendor. Well, what a glorious start to fall-on Autumnal Equinox we had our first snow flurry. Nothing to write home about, but it was cold and the old timers say “A bad winter is coming”. Sadly, the snap took all my pumpkins, Mush melons and what vegetables were left in the garden. The critters-horses, cows, donkey’s, dogs and cats are getting their woolly coats. The chickens are all puffed up twice their size. The hummingbirds flew south a couple of weeks ago along with the geese. The Mennonites and Amish are out harvesting every day .
    Happy Trails,
    Treese/Colorado Cowgirl

    • sbranch says:

      All the signs are there. Brrrr. We got a taste of the freeze going through Kansas. Sorry it was so early in your neck of the woods, losing everything, usually there’s more time. Beautiful time of year no matter what. Kind of thrilling!

  13. Gail Marie says:

    Love the photo of your van parked between the pig vans! What a hoot.

  14. Sue Francoeur says:

    You’re getting closer!!! I hope to get to see you in SLO, but maybe even Pasadena since I live in Simi Valley. LOVED the book, I’ve read it twice! Can’t wait to see you – so glad you are having fun on your latest adventure.

    xxoo, Sue

  15. Jennie says:

    You and Joe have the BEST smiles!
    So glad to get an update- just finished dinner, sat down at the computer and, “Oh boy- another Susan post!” Gorgeous pictures as always. And I’m totally with you on the crater as in I wouldn’t take my chances with the platform either- no way! I think those views are lovely but I’m a complete chicken when it comes to heights!

    Hope your visit with the Blog Daddy is wonderful!

  16. Christine says:

    I am so excited you will be at Vromans in Pasadena, close to my home! I kept working on a way to travel north now we don’t have to. Hooray!
    I am loving your trip and all the wonderful bookstores!

  17. Penny Harrison says:

    Welcome to the West! Great news about Pasadena!!! Any chance something is going to work out with the Laguna Beach Bookstore? I LOVE Fine Romance, especially your description of the first day driving on the left side of the road – I laughed heartily! – brought back lots of memories of our annual trips to the UK when we were stationed in Germany and then later in the Netherlands! No matter how many trips we made across the channel – driving on the left, and especially those “round abouts” were white knuckled experiences! Bless my husband – he even drove the Queen Victoria statue round-about right up to the front gates of Buckingham Palace just for my mom and dad when they came with us on one of those trips! Have a great visit with your Blog Daddy!

    • sbranch says:

      Bless your husband is right. He is a brave man!! Because we ran out of books, our book-signing time in CA has also been cut short, so I don’t think we’ll get to Laguna Beach either. We’ve been trying to spread the signings we DO get to do, widely throughout the state, to get as close to as many girlfriends as possible. Thanks so much Penny!

  18. Andrea says:

    I think I could call my life complete if I saw the Fine Romance van driving down the road.

    I can’t even count how many times I’ve made those ribs. And I feel really, really guilty when I get pleas to make “my” special ribs. Okay maybe only sort of guilty.

    • sbranch says:

      🙂 After you’ve made something twice, I believe the recipe becomes automatically “yours.” Mine used to be my mom’s and now it’s mine!

      • Hi Susan! Andrea’s comment about how she’d feel if she saw the AFR van driving down the road made me wonder whether you had anyone come up to you or honk their horn along the way who “knew” you–not just in the towns where you held your book signings. I put quotations around “knew” because technically we don’t KNOW you–we just know ABOUT you–but you make us feel as though we DO know you. 🙂 That part of the country IS so wide open–everything is so far apart–it does make you feel like that crater you saw might be on some other planet!

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, I’m not sure people “know” me 🙂 but we’ve had a couple of waves, and at one of the motels, a man who was loading his high school football team onto a bus came over to say hello and take a photo for his wife who “knows” me! It’s been very fun to have the van! Parked at my dad’s house, it definitely attracts attention! And yes, that crater! Wild!

  19. Marion Rose says:

    Good evening Susan, and Joe…….
    Have you seen any tumbleweeds or roadrunners? Looks like you are having a wonderful trip. One of the wonders I remember about traveling west was seeing two very long trains, one going west the other going east and you see both of them complete in the vista. The country is so vast out there compared to New England. Take as many side trips as your time allows, so much to see! Glad to see “Blog Daddy”, give him another hug from one of your girl friends. We are enjoying wonderful fall weather, cool at night, warm 70 deg. during the day. My Autumn decorating is done and I love seeing all the scarecrows and pumpkins showing up everywhere. My little scarecrow on his tricycle is in my yard and I move him around everyday. Makes me smile just looking at him. Happy traveling, Marion

    • sbranch says:

      We saw tumbleweeds, but no road runners yet! We saw a weather balloon high above Gallup at sunset, the sun had gone down, but it was still shining on the weather balloon which glowed white like a giant star in the sky. When I first moved to New England I could barely get over the fact that you could actually be in five states in one day! I was so used to the west, and California, where you could almost get nowhere in one day! Happy fall Marion!

      • mari1017 says:

        I have to chime in with the funny opposite estimation. I’m from the North. The first trip I planned out West was with a friend from Maine who had been living in San Diego for quite a few years. When I sent her my initial itinerary, she called me and yelled “Do you have any idea how BIG these states are out here??? We can’t do all this in two weeks LOL =:-O p.s. We had a great time, but no, we never could have covered it all 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          No, I think the fastest it can be done with sanity is 10 days and that leaves out a whole bunch of things to see! My girlfriend, in her younger days, did it alone, in three MISERABLE days that it took her a month to get over when she got home!

  20. Linda in Texas says:

    Hi Susan! Thanks for the trip across America. Yep, it’s a great, big place. It’s wonderful to see the photos of where you’ve been.

    So ask Joe: What happened to the meteor? (Morning science.) Seems like if it made a hole that big at least part of it would still be around. But then I don’t know much about science. Glad he got to see it this time.

    Have fun at your daddy’s.

  21. Candice OHIO says:

    Hello Susan!!
    Wow! You are having quite a book signing road trip!! Isn’t it amazing how much of the USA is such wide open spaces compared to England!! When my Nana (God Bless Her) used to visit us here in the States from England, she would tell the children and grandchildren back at home how large everything was and no one really believed her….until they visited and then they understood that Nana was right!! From state to state so many different vistas, flat lands, rolling fields of corn and beans, mountains, great lakes, desert and CRATERS!! Enjoyed reading your blog and glad that you are having this time with Blog Daddy!! Enjoy!!

  22. Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

    Thanks for the pictures along the way–I’ve never seen that part of the country before–it is beautiful! We’re kind of grounded this year, won’t be taking our annual Fall trip to Door County, WI, so I am doubly enjoying your trip! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      You are lucky to live in such a gorgeous part of the country. Wishing you the best Pat, I know you’re going through a lot right now. xoxo

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        That photo of Lake Michigan–that is the view we see on both sides of the Door County penninsula: Lake Michigan on one side and Green Bay on the other. Love looking at the water, walking the beachs, hearing the seagulls, going antiquing, having a fish boil dinner & cherry pie for dessert. I’m trying to get creative and plan a couple of “fun days” doing something locally while Norm is off that week so it doesn’t end up all a “work week” at home. History Center/Science Museum with lunch one day, driving down the river road along the Mississippi for a picnic lunch and antiquing, etc. Really trying to not “mourn” our regular Fall road trip too much but with the cooler dry air, apples in the stores, and leaves starting to change, it is hard to not miss it…

    • Lynn McMahon says:

      Hi Pat~ sorry about your trip~ 🙁 I bet you will get there next year! ~ You are a good friend and I’m sure you will get an extra blessing for what you are doing!~

    • Deb from Dixie says:

      Hi Pat,
      Thinking of you……just wanted you to know….and sending hugs.

  23. Irene Talaasen says:

    Hi sweet Susan,
    How you make the trip come alive with your wonderful narration of the scenery you were experiencing. Love your Van at the BBQ place between the two other decorated vans. I was watching and waiting to see about your new post and tonight there it was. Enjoy being with your Dad!! Relax and unwind! Love and Hugs to you and Joe too! The kitty pictures on your visor are priceless 🙂

  24. Cathy from Golden Co says:

    I so love seeing Blog Daddy! Hello Jack! Wishing you a wonderful visit.

  25. sondra fox says:

    Oh Susan, you were in country we’ve travelled over many times on our cross country trips. The meteor place is a few miles from a cattle ranch where friends worked. They invited us there for a couple of days. Even had real live cowboys & a bunk house. Really dark at night. Man, oh man, could you see the stars. That was three years ago. Our grandson (then a young sixteen) drove from the main highway on a long, long dirt road, way back to the ranch. I yelled at him to “STOP,” which he did. I had seen an entire herd of deer up on a crest, closeby. We sat there & watched the animals for a long while.
    Also, thanks for coming by Pasadena on your book signing. I couldn’t make it to San Luis, but Pasadena is very close to me. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  26. Cathy McC. says:

    Hooray — you’ve made it to your dad’s! Must be so exciting — and you certainly looked like you enjoyed the trip. Your pix were great — our country’s “purple mountains majesty” is just amazing, isn’t it? Enjoy your family time. Tomorrow it’ll be Lucy, Ethel, and Scottish friend Margaret at the lake to reminisce about the Westmoreland Tea and share favorite passages of AFR. (Margaret is bringing Lemon Butter Cookies and is always our bartender for Skip and Go Nakeds. We promise to behave!) Had hoped to watch “An Affair to Remember” but our branch library didn’t have it — will settle for “You’ve Got Mail” or “Must Love Dogs”. Gotta have the chick flick thing going on.
    Love seeing pix of your signings – please continue to post them when your tour resumes. Really enjoy seeing all the girlfriends even though we don’t know names — it’s that bond of kindred spirit, I guess.
    Happy Autumn, btw. Neighboring town of Niles, MI is having their Apple Festival this weekend — bumper crop this year. Glad you got to get to Lake Michigan (we call it “The Big Lake”) and take in the sunset, which is a back drop for many award-winning pix. Enjoy life . . . Ethel
    P.S. Is there a way to go to your past blogs without repeatedly hitting “Older Blogs” and going one at a time? This past weekend I was trying to find the pic of your “book work” as you showed printing and watercoloring in progress on AFR. My daughter is fascinated by your talent!!!

    • sbranch says:

      One of our Girlfriends posted a way to go back, but unfortunately I forgot to save it! And I’m not sure how to do it…maybe she will read this and do it for us again and this time I’ll keep it! Hope you have fun at the Lake! Wish I was there! xo

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        I’ve found 2 ways that work well for going “backwards in time” quickly on the blog. 1 – in your browser, key “” along with the YEAR and MONTH, & the MONTHLY ARCHIVES will come up. Example ‘’ You can add the DAY if you know it too. 2- Do the same thing using a KEYWORD instead of a date. Example – “” will bring up postings that include “Jack” as a keyword. You can also save individual favorite posts by just copying and saving the URL for that particular post. I myself have a collection of “saved” URLs that could be classified as ALARMING in size!! PS – I’m serious. Hope this is helpful…

        • sbranch says:

          🙂 LOL, I know what you mean. Pretty soon your saved file looks like Google and you can’t find anything there either! Thank you so much Janet!

    • Cathy, this post talks about her process a little: http://www. If it’s not the one you were thinking about it will at least get you near the start of when she started working on the book after she got home.

  27. Norma Herrin says:

    Wow, what a road trip, beautiful. I loved seeing the van between the Bar BQ vans! Sure wish you could make it to Texas. Your dad looks so sweet, makes me miss my own dad.
    I am on a girlfriends trip next week, Upstate New York for fall Folliage trip, can’t wait.

  28. Jacquelyn Wirthlin-Bainbridge Island, WA says:

    Loved the photos and so glad Joe got to tour the Metior Crator. Love the Arizona desert. Soon to be returning to the winter digs in Las Vegas. Best to our Blog-Daddy Jack. Good to see his picture. Take care Sue and Joe.

    • sbranch says:

      You too Jackie!

    • Cheyenne Renard says:

      I would love to live in Wa part time , we now live in Las Vegas , our bones need the dry warmth. My family lives in Wa I love the island one day , i have to find a nice place to live part time n have a place here too when it gets too cold in Wa. Have a great day Cheyenne from LV

  29. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi susan!!! happy to see that you arrived in AZ safe and sound…The pictures that you posted of that part of the road trip reminded me of just how much open space we have in the beautiful country….just gorgrous… We took a road trip to Cheyenne and Jackson Hole WY and fell in love with the wide open land and all it’s beauty. We ended up stopping a lot along the way to snoop around and take pictures. We have been in this neck of the woods too having a friend that lives in Prescott. The only big hole in the ground we saw was a large canyon that certainly was grand!!! 🙂 I am awaiting my order of the Girlfriend charm…got a note today that it was shipped….lucky to have ordered lickity-split. Can’t wait to see it up close and personal. Have fun in Cottonwood and keep those wonderful pictures coming….I am ever so jealous of your squat-down-to-take-pictures skill!! My poor ol’ knees just won’t allow it anymore which makes taking those low-lying photos a bit harder..not to mention trying to line up my putts while playing golf…not a good scenario for a PE teacher and golf coach.. 🙂 bet your dad is in seventh heaven…. love, cindy <3

    • sbranch says:

      I thought the Grand Canyon was surreal, like maybe a giant poster instead of what it really is!! Hard to take it all in. Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons! Oh my, how beautiful that trip was! Glad you got your charm, so sorry I didn’t get enough, but more are coming soon. Blessings on your little knees. xoxo

  30. Ginnie Judd says:

    I got lucky! Staying up late to finish a blog post about the tea in Wilmette, IL, with pictures courtesy of girlfriend Dawn, I clicked over to the SB blog to refresh my memory about something and, ta da! A new post from you! Love the travelogue, and I’m glad you are getting some time to meander a bit.

    I had to call 3 bookshops today to find one with books to send to a friend of my mom’s. Good to know there are still some copies out there!

    Still feeling wonderful about getting the chance to see you twice when you were in the Chicago area. Thank you, Susan, for the wonderful difference you make in our lives!

    • sbranch says:

      My pleasure Ginnie, loved seeing your photos and being reminded of that wonderful afternoon! Yes, it’s the connection between us that I love the most. Glad you still were able to find a book … fun to leave them behind, like scattered items from a treasure hunt!

  31. Linda Pintarell says:

    Yes…please give Blog Daddy a big hug from all your girlfriends. I can visualize you there…having been there quite a number of times…since my great Aunt and Uncle lived there for years. My Auntie Pop was sort of a legend in Cottonwood (real name Barkie Williams) being a nurse into her 90’s. She was quite the woman – I loved it when she visited us – she brought joy to everyone around her! Travel Safely Susan and Joe – you are having a great adventure in our beautiful country!

  32. Mary in Phoenix says:

    Welcome to Arizona! The sight of the AZ Centennial sign warmed my heart. And I well know that Meteor Crater exit sign. So happy you took it … and so happy your dad lives here so you can savor the beauty of the Southwest. From the mountains to the desert … its an amazing place. Nothing like our intriguing cactus and imaginative sunsets. Plus, you won’t have to go far to find ghost towns, saloons, old mines and wide open spaces (and will probably see Gila monsters, coyotes and javelina along the way!). Heard the weather is turning cold in Northern AZ this week. We are being warned of a big drop in temps here too … to 80 degrees! That’s actually considered cold to most Phoenicians. Thanks for the awesome update. You’ve got this girl dreaming of road trips … and proud to be an American. XO
    “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” ~William Shakespeare

    • sbranch says:

      My dad has javelina in his “back yard” — which is actually a golf course surrounded by trees and countryside. I haven’t seen one yet, but my ten-year-old twin nephews did when there were here! Sitting out on the deck last night until late, moths diving at the porch light, haven’t felt that dry breezy warmth at night for a long time. One touch of nature . . . ahhhh.

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        Gee, I had to Google JAVELINA. Never heard that word before. I LOVE it here – I ALWAYS learn something new. Susan Branch University!!

        • sbranch says:

          It’s probably good you haven’t had to learn javelina before! It means you don’t have them, and I think I would rather not have them, they can be kitty eaters too!

      • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

        What is javelina?? I guess I should look it up.

  33. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    Looks like you and Joe are having a great time on the road and seeing lots of beautiful sights. Have you heard how Jack and Girl Kitty are doing? I bet you get a little sad when you look at their photos?
    I was so happy to see you will be in Pasadena. That’s not too far from the valley so we will be able to see you there.
    Enjoy your visit with your very handsome Dad!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, our cat babysitter sends me pictures on my phone. They look great, but I can see them missing me in their eyes.

      • sondra fox says:

        You will all enjoy one another once more when you can cuddle Girl & Jack in your arms when you get back home. I know how difficult it is being away from pets. Chin up! (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  34. deezie says:

    Oh Susan, those pictures were just the best. You always make us all feel like we are with you.
    Enjoy your time with your daddy, how fun for you
    happy day Susan

  35. Lynnette Lemon says:

    Oh Susan, I just LOVE your blog. We aren’t doing much traveling and I love to read about you and Joe on the road! We also had some wonderful BBQ in St. Louis a week or so ago. I am also enjoying A Fine Romance and bought a copy for a friend for Christmas.

    Blessings and safe travels to you and Joe!!


  36. Tracy Jones says:

    Dear Sue,
    I loved this entry today…thank you for sharing your trip and doing it it such a wonderful, exciting way! xo Tracy

  37. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~ Good Morning~
    Thanks for more photos of your US tour~ Do we not live in the most beautifull country in the world?!~ Nothing like a road trip~ flying is great when you need to get somewhere fast but……
    ~When hubby retires I think we will make a Route 66 road trip and go on to Alaska!!~ in an Airstream I hope~ My Lake Michigan is pretty awesome don’t you think? ~ Say hi to your dad~ you are so lucky to still have yours here with you!~
    ~Safe Travels~

    • sbranch says:

      Your Lake Michigan is awesome Lynn! Loved it . . . we were talking about a trip to Alaska just last night!

      • Lynn McMahon says:

        ~ Hi Again~
        I have seen people surf the lake when it gets really wavy~ my family prefers kayaks~ I prefer to stay on the beach and collect stuff for my jars~ beach glass~ marbles~ old fishing lures~ We have also seen eagles fly over head!~ I’m lucky to live close enough to walk!~

        • sbranch says:

          You sure are!

          • Janet in Rochester says:

            If Michigan is even HALF as beautiful as the stunning ad campaign that’s been running on TV in the last year or so, then it is truly INCREDIBLE! The creative types behind that ad were SPOT-ON. I usually “mute” the TV when commercials come on, but I stop & watch those spots every time. One of the best & most effective ads I’ve ever seen… By the time they’re over, I’m so envious of Michiganders! ⭐⭐⭐

          • sbranch says:

            They need to show that in Martha’s Vineyard!

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        Wow–how about a trip to Alaska diary book in the future?!!!

    • Deb from Dixie says:

      Hi Lynn,
      You make me so home sick for Michigan….and the lake….especially in the Fall. Many generations of my family are from all over Michigan.
      And I would love a good old Lake Perch dinner…..miss those too.
      Good thing I can cheer for the Wolverines….no matter where I am…
      Go Blue!
      Hope you have a Happy Autumn…..

    • Susan says:

      Hi Lynn,
      Loved your post! We are actually doing what you suggested; traveling the country in our 2007 Airstream. Spent the summer in Woodland Park, CO; soon we are heading east to Ohio to visit the Airstream factory in Jackson Center. Then on to Pennsylvania and Williamsburg, VA. Will spend the winter in Fairhope, Alabama. Thank goodness for Susan’s blog. Such a great way to make friends with other like-minded people!

      • Lynn McMahon says:

        Thanks! ~ I actually live in Wisconsin ~ Only a few blocks from the lake~ I had some family that lived in Ludington ~ Michigan that I cannot find anything about~ only my great grandma’s headstone ~ next year I hope to take the ferry over and do some investigating and solve the family mystery…..I’m like a grown up Nancy Drew! ~

      • Lynn McMahon says:

        ~ Lucky You Susan! ~ Someday……!
        ~My family likes fish fries ~ some prefer walleye and others bluegills~for me it’s perch with potato pancakes~ the thin crispy naughty bad ones!~ sometimes you just have to go there!~
        My dad was a big ice fisherman!!~ he insisted the fish he caught in winter tasted better than the ones he caught in the summer and I think he was right~
        Mom would fry up the fish~ using her homemade recipe for the breading and then whip up her homemade potato pancakes~
        ~The house smelled of fried food for days~ wonder how much cholesterol was just in the fumes!?~
        ~Happy Thursday Girlfriends!~

          • Janet in Rochester says:

            Aren’t Michigan and Wisconsin sort of famous for “fish boils” too? I saw something on the Travel channel years ago about fish boils in Door County – and the Petoskey region. Apparently for a long time they’ve been considered “Must Do’s” by most tourists…. :>)

          • Lynn McMahon says:

            They have fish boils in Door County for sure~ I’ve had them several times~ fun to watch! ~ they are good but I’d rather have a fish fry~ which I’m sure is the least healthiest choice but oh so good!~

  38. Angie(Tink!) says:

    ✫.♥*.✫♥*¨✫* Good Morning Sweet Sue…Huge Smile On Me Pumpkin Face! 🙂 All These Photos are Glorious! “Cottonwood Arizona at Home with The Blog Daddy” Perfection Sweetest Sue! I’m doing The Pumpkin Jiggity~Jig! Have Fun! Enjoy! Hooray! 😉 Love Hugzzz & Lots of Pixie~Dust! 🙂 xoxo Poof! ✫.♥*.✫♥*¨✫* ✫.♥*.✫♥*¨✫* ✫.♥*.✫♥*¨✫* (& Hello Daddy Jack!) 🙂

  39. Becky from Lockport, Illinois says:

    Such a big beautiful country! We live near Lake Michigan and we like to vacation on the other side of the lake around South Haven, St. Joe, and Silver Lake. I have yet to convince my sons that as beautiful and inviting as Lake Michigan appears it has dangerous riptides…reading a wonderful book about a woman who walked the perimeter of the lake.

    • sbranch says:

      I always wanted to walk around the island, but never did it … not so sure I’m up for it now, with all the inlets and crags, it’s longer than it looks. But if I did it, I would polish my nails on my chest, that would be something!

  40. Debs OBrien says:

    Smile! That’s me this morning, smiling at your new post! Lovely, lovely pics of America the Beautiful, oh! those BIG skies.

    So lovely to see your Daddy keeping up with his iPad. Wonderful. Big Smile again. He is so cool xoxo

    You know, it took me two weeks to drive cross country, but I reckon now it would take me two weeks to drive across any one given state because I am now ‘in to’ photography. I’d be stop~go~stop~go all the way.

    Paid for my Girlfriends Charm, so hope it arrives soonest!

    Waving from Across The Pond
    Debs in Wales xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      That’s the thing, gotta have those photos. Joe and I both have cameras, so while he’s driving, I have to take pictures of all the silos on his camera! I’m a two-fisted camera-clicker! Girlfriends across the pond, makes me so happy to hear. xoxo

  41. Maureen MacKenzie says:

    Hi Susan and Joe,
    I’m so glad you are having a fabulous time crossing the country….you deserve it! I love the posts keeping us updated. 🙂 xox

  42. Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

    Love everything about this….hugs, Blog Daddy!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

      That’s how I feel, too, Shannon! Sue’s dad is the great Blog Daddy of us all! Hope you’re doing well, Shannon, and that you’re enjoying this great fall weather.

      • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

        Hi Linda! Isn’t this weather fabulous? Makes you want to eat it with a spoon! As Doug Allen said last night on WGAL’s local weather report…we’re experiencing “an outbreak of severe clear skies”!! I hope you are doing well, too. I look forward to meeting you when Susan does a signing in PA…fingers crossed for Lititz! Wouldn’t that be wonderful 🙂

      • Susan says:

        Hi Linda,
        We’ll be in Lancaster, PA, from Oct. 24 – 31st. Would love to meet up with you! Can’t wait to see Central Market now that the remodeling has been completed!!:-). My dad graduated from F & M and my grandparents lived in Lancaster for most of my childhood. My grandmother and I used to walk down to Market with our wicker baskets. Sweet memories…

  43. Francine Werlinger says:

    Oh yes! Please do give blog daddy a big hug! I enjoyed the sights along the way! Growing up in Milwaukee, WI. I have spent lots of time in various stages of my life in and around Lake Michigan, and I always imagined it to be “my” ocean! Continued safe travels to you and Joe. I am still savoring the memories of meeting you in Wilmette!

  44. Cindy Tuning says:

    I love that you two know how to enjoy the journey as well as the destination. We are always in such a hurry so we take the interstates with nothing much to see. I need to take a lesson from you. When we did drive out to Colorado from NY, I was amazed at how much space was out there. One could drive 100 miles and not see a single house.( only a meat processing plant..yuk!!!) I know what you mean about the Great Lakes. We live on the shores of Lake Erie and when I bring people down to the beach that have never seen it all say the same thing..”this isn’t a’s an ocean!!”

    • sbranch says:

      We’ve been getting off the interstates and taking the two-lane highways and have found we cut our truck interaction down by about 80% even if it does make us go a little slower. We get to go through some old towns too, so it’s nice for a change. Yes, it’s an ocean alright, not like any lake I’ve ever seen!

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        FOURTH largest lake on the planet… [no such thing as a former teacher].

        • sbranch says:

          It makes me want to know 1, 2, and 3!

        • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

          Hi Janet,
          When I lived in NH, I would say I am going to the Lake to go running. The folks would say, Don’t you mean the Ocean. I said, Lake…Ocean…What’s the difference. They said, There is a difference. I told them that other than the salt, different fish and seaweed, it looks the same. They didn’t believe me. I said, Have you ever been there? They said, No. I said, Then you wouldn’t know.
          I have found that some folks from the outer coasts and bigger cities think we aren’t too bright in the middle “fly over states”. HA!

  45. Lori says:

    Thanks again for taking us on the road with you! America is a beautiful place … filled with beautiful people. Sometimes we need to be reminded of that. Hi to your dad!

  46. LindaH (northern IN) says:

    Good morning, Susan!
    What a refreshing post–with all of the gorgeous views of our country. It is always fun to see what one can discover on a road trip! I’m glad that Joe was able to see the meteor crater–that kind of thing would pull me off of the road too. I know that some folks have already asked you about writing a travel diary about your road trip on this book trip–and it has been too rushed to do it this time–but maybe in the future?
    Enjoy your family time–you and Joe sure deserve it! I know you’ve enjoyed the trip, but checking in and out of motels does get quite old!
    Your girlfriend, Linda

  47. katherine says:

    Thanks Susan….you make traveling so fun! Thanks for sharing your adventures. I look forward to your posts…they always put a smile on my face and help my day start a bit brighter no matter the weather outside. I live in Pennsylvania but grew up in Nebraska and I am always amazed and relieved when we drive out west and see all the LAND and WIDE OPEN spaces! Take Care!

  48. Wendy Louise says:

    Ohhhhh ! I just love your pictures and going with you on the big adventure. Back in the mid 70’s I traveled across this beautiful country with my big brother. I think we took the same routes you did. You brought it all back to me. My brother was in the Navy then and he was being restationed from Virginia to Venture California. He asked me if I wanted to go for the ride and then fly home back to Brookfield CT. and of Course I said a resounding YES ! YIPPEE ! And of we went but he was very regimented in his life style so we had only one week to get there and so it was in his mind 500 miles a day and that would get us there early so I could see a little of California. It was my spring break from college so I had to be back. Well I saw this country real fast. Our sight seeing was maybe 15 minutes, OK Wendy get in the car we have to get going ! Oh and we got up at 5:00am started driving stopped and had breakfast with the farmers back in the car and off we go not stopping for lunch. That was my department you see I was in charge of the food in the car and I like you packed a cooler with lots of stuff to make lunch and snacks. 🙂 We would stop at 7:00 and eat dinner and then on the road for a couple more hours then stop at a best western sleep up at 4:30 0n the road again at 5am. I loved it but, I dream of doing it again but at a much slower pace and with Paul. Who by the way I knew back then, my brother brought him home from college and the friendship started when I was very young. The Romance part took about 7 years to begin. Oh I got side tracked there, sorry. My favorite meal was in Arizona stream rainbow trout and I haven’t had it since. I loved Flagstaff Arizona and I did get to stand on the edge of The Grand Canyon for about 10 minutes ! 🙂 Give your Great Daddy a hug and kiss for me, I just love him, he’s a lot like my Daddy and I know how you feel about your Dad, just the way I feel about mine! OXOX Have sooo much fun !!!!!!!

  49. Cheryl says:

    Your blogpost was just in time for me to enjoy with my morning cup of coffee. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your journeys with us. I’m so glad you are sharing yourself with all girlfriends across the country! LOVE that van!! LOVE YOU!!

  50. Martha says:

    Hi Susan – It looks like you’re having quite an adventure driving cross-country — looks like fun!! I would love to do that someday. Wonderful that you’re getting a chance to visit with your dad! Safe travels.
    Martha from CT

  51. Laura Ann in Vermont says:

    This brings back sooo many memories of our seven cross-country drives with our five kids. The wide-open skies, the wild storms on the plains (I stupidly got stuck in a motel elevator once during a power outage and tornado warning.), the bikers (They always know the best motels and restaurants.), National Parks, truck stops, scrub plants (Sage bush in Nevada being useful for impromptu rest stops.) and endless beautiful views. I think you and Joe have more luggage than we did with seven of us!

    This makes me want to hit the road again! Enjoy the time with your wonderful dad.

  52. Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

    Thanks for the pictures, Susan. I remember going to Nebraska “years ago” with a good friend to visit her parents. What I remember most was how much SKY there was! When things are so flat, that’s all you see–the big wonderful blue sky! It’s fun going on side trips, too. The crater was very interesting. I’ve heard about it–now I’ve seen it with you guys!

    And I loved how your van just fit in with all the rest in the parking lot!:) It looked cute!

    I’m sure you must be having fun with your dad. Ahh! Enjoy!
    Love you!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s been wonderful every step of the way, each day has something different. My dad is great, thank you so much.

    • Deb from Dixie says:

      Hi Girlfriend and Happy Fall,
      Hope you’re enjoying the Autumn weather, I know you love the changing leaves, and farmers markets. I remember last year when you wrote about getting your pumpkins…..won’t be long now till the frost will be on the pumpkin…LOL. Hope things are good with you, thanks for the note you left me on the last post.
      Bean says to tell Baby Button hello!

  53. willemien says:

    Hi Susan,
    Lake Michigan looks so pretty!! Today I’m celebrating my birthday, and it would be wonderful to have your new book, but they’ve just told me that its not( yet) available in Holland! I’m feeling a bit sad, cause it would have been such a beautiful birthday present!!, I was so looking forward to it! another time perhaps. Now I’m gonna make the cake ready for my sister in law, she’ll be coming over to have some.
    Lots of love from Holland
    Good luck on the road!
    xoxo Willemien

    • sbranch says:

      Lots of love to you too Willemien and Happy Birthday! So sorry about the books, we ran out early, but soon they will be available again.

    • Deb from Dixie says:

      Hi Willemiem,
      Happy Birthday! Hope you have a wonderful day filled with laughter and joy! So nice to read your comments. I have some Dutch ancestory…and have always loved Holland, someday may get to visit.
      So far, the closet I have been is in Holland, Michigan…..where the tulip festival and the windmills make you think … is almost like being there.

  54. Melody says:

    Your road trip looks wonderful. What a treat to get out and see the country! Glad you made it to your Dads. Good for him, using an iPad! Enjoy your visit. Hope Joe is having fun too. Wish I could have seen you along the way, but alas was not able to do it. At least virtually I can ‘see’ you and keep up with your wonderful book tour.

  55. Betty says:

    Love the beautiful scenery of Arizona. Have a happy time with your Dad.
    Safe travels,

  56. Deborah Heater (Indiana) says:

    Hello Susan!!! I think it has been over a month since I have blogged and I have been keeping up with all your book signing stops. I must admit not being able to meet you sort of made me feel “out of the loop” sigh…BUT, I was so happy that all the Girlfriends came to greet you with so much Love and sheer enthusiasm it was fun to see. Now, having had a very emotional Summer with my 93 yr. old Dad who was in the hospital/rehab for over a month was one of the hardest things I have ever gone through with a parent. I have been sad and stressed and actually feeling very helpless. Susan, to be able to see, touch, hug your Dad is such a gift and I know you are enjoying every single minute. The pic of your Dad made me feel very emotional this morning and I’m missing mine so much right now. Enjoy your family and this beautiful land of ours on your way to CA. Thanks for taking us along on your adventures. Blessings

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so sorry Deborah, that must be so difficult. I’m glad to hear from you … love having you along. xoxo

    • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

      Oh, Deborah, I have to admit that I have sort of felt the same way–kinda out of the loop of everyone (seems like everyone!) seeing Susan in person (even though I was happy for everybody!) but not me!!

      I so understand what you went through with your dad. When my dad who had Parkinson’s, had a stroke, he moved from the hospital to a nursing home. It was so hard and I even had a sister to share the load with! For awhile he was very disoriented–didn’t seem to know us–my sister campaigned to get him off one of his meds–they finally agreed–and that made all the difference–he became his old self again! I hope things are going better for you and I hope you get to enjoy this beautiful fall weather!

      • Deborah Heater (Indiana) says:

        Hello Linda, Thank you so much for your kind words and concern. I am such a family person and have always (still am) been a Daddy’s girl and this just kills me watching his decline. I talk to him as much as I can (FL) and I can tell he is so frustrated because he can’t express what he is thinking. I’m praying that Mother will make the decision to come back to IN so we can help her and spend time with both of them. I know this happens in all of our lives it is just very very hard to watch the process as you know. I will try to enjoy my favorite season, Jim took me to the Pumpkin Patch today and we picked out 3 different big gourds (I enjoy them more than a typical pumpkin) my favorite was a green Swan Gourd that is just adorable. We put it in a mound of cut greens and it looks like it is on a nest!!! Nice to chat with you and blessings to you and your family.

        • Lynn McMahon says:

          Sorry Deborah~ you’ll be added to my prayers

        • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

          I know what you are going through and I will keep you in my prayers. I like gourds too. I saw pumpkins with bumps last week. I was wondering if they crossed a pumpkin with a gourd. I am ever the scientist. LOL

        • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

          I know what you are going through and I will keep you in my prayers. I like gourds too. I saw pumpkins with bumps last week. I was wondering if they crossed a pumpkin with a gourd. I am ever the scientist. LOL

    • Deb from Dixie says:

      Hi Deborah,
      So good to hear from you, I missed you. Just want you to know that those of us who have gone through and are going through such heartwrenching times with eldery parents…..understand and send love and prayers to you for healing and serenity. Although each circumstance is different…there are so many similarities, and when we love, and give so much, loss is very difficult.
      Sometimes it is so hard to see beyond the sadness……be gentle with yourself.
      And you are so right…….as you said, cherish every moment, every hug, every laugh, every tear we share with our Moms and Dads. Time is precious.
      Love and hugs,

      • Deborah Heater (Indiana) says:

        Hello (both) Deb’s….thank you both for your thoughts and kind words. I’m a very strong woman and have always been there whenever my family needed me. I have to say this is the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with and each day brings newer problems and worries. I’m trying to let my Mother make the hard decision to bring Dad back to us (IN) without being forceful and I am sensing she is just about ready to give up the good fight. I’m trying to comfort her and also prepare her for what is coming with Dad and his health. I took care of my M-I-L who had Alzheimer’s for 2 years and it was heartbreaking and as a caregiver very difficult. I’m a very joyous person and right now there is more sadness than gladness. I appreciate everyone being so kind and my Faith will guide me through this sad passage of life and that gives me great comfort. Blessings

        • sbranch says:

          Sending love Deborah… do something nice just for you every day. The joie de vivre you bring to any situation is priceless, but with all the sadness, it’s harder to hold onto unless you squeeze in some timeouts for joy and some sort of normalness. xoxo

          • Deborah Heater (Indiana) says:

            Susan, I appreciate your support especially during this special time in your life with all your responsibilities….it means so much to me. I’ve noticed that when a person is going through what I am right now with aging parents the joy once inside seems to get lost among the fear. I’m normally a very positive person; but, feeling helpless leads to hopelessness and that truly changes who you are as a person. I’m going to do my very best to squeeze in some timeouts I promise. Enjoy CA I’m sure it is just lovely this time of year?

          • sbranch says:

            Gorgeous. And do those time outs, see the sky and take deep breaths. It will change everything. Also, are you taking Vitamin D? You really need it especially as the days get shorter and you are inside too much. blowing kisses . . .

          • Deborah Heater (Indiana) says:

            So happy to hear that you made it to CA and are visiting with your Mother…..ENJOY…..Rabbit….Rabbit…where did September go?? I truly did not enjoy the previous month(s) and will try to get out more and take in the beauty that Fall has to offer. Yes, I take 1600 units of Vit. D daily and have done so for many, many years. I have a gorgeous Lantana plant just outside our front door and a praying mantis has made it her home. I went out and spoke gently to her and she ducked her little “alien” head, as I kept speaking she looked up and those beady green eyes with the tiny little black dots just stared back at me. It’s the little wonders that brings me happiness these days. I must just say this about our elected officers in Washington….”can’t we ALL just get along and do the work we elected them to do without all this bickering and grandstanding”?? I truly do not care about political interests/parties and maybe if we did away with Democrats/Republicans and just had one party maybe “Government of the PEOPLE” to “support” any President in charge regardless of their party affiliations….this shutdown (that will only hurt the middle class if that class still exist) could have been avoided….Shame on allowing special interest winning over what is truly best for all of us. Can you imagine how much “good” could be accomplished for the people if the 2 current parties didn’t spend all their time/energy that they currently do trying NOT to support the President if he isn’t their parties choice!!! Growup People and share your toys for a change!!! We should ALL contact our elected officials and tell them that they are FIRED let them see how it feels not to have a job this morning. Sorry, didn’t mean to get on my soapbox this morning. UGH

          • sbranch says:

            I, for one, know almost exactly to the moment where September went! 🙂 I think you should be President Deborah, or at least you could be Congress!

    • Debs OBrien says:

      So sorry, Deborah, to read your troubles. Sending you a Big Hug, ‘cos I know what you are going through. It is so hard

      • Carol Maurer, formally Eureka, Ca.... now Kennewick, WA says:

        Deborah, I have a friend that is going through the same as you with her mom. It’s heartbreaking to see. Gather all those memories for later times to draw upon. You are in all our hearts and prayers.

        Carol M

  57. Beth Keser says:

    What a way to start my day! Such beautiful pictures. Just so you know, you are my inspiration for 2 things on my bucket list. I would love to do a cross country train trip, and also a cross country road trip. I love following your trips on the blog. I have to wait until next June for our book signing in Ct, so until then, I will enjoy all the other book signings :). Just so you know, if I ever saw your van, I would be the crazy lady following you. Meeting you is on my bucket list too 🙂

  58. Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:

    Good morning, Sue ~
    What a pretty posting….I was thinking “purple mountain majesty” at the same time they appeared on the page! What a blessing this trip has been, not only for you and Joe but for so many others …. to see your photos and share the joy you’re experiencing on your way. Thanks for sharing so much.
    It’s a dazzling fall morning here in NY and as luck would have it, I have the day off so I plan on doing some fall decorating…beginning outside, where I can soak up some of that sunshine! The tips of the trees in my yard are just beginning to change color so the brilliant sun makes them look electrified, almost.
    Wishing you and Joe as much love as your hearts can hold while you reconnect with your family!
    PS: Your Dad looks amazing! Hi, Jack!

  59. Judy Dow says:

    Hooray! Arizona! We lived there for 8 years when our daughter was little. The mountains really do turn purple for just a few minutes just before sunset. We would always yell, “purple mountains majesty,”and we’d all run out to watch. Isn’t this country amazing? Now we are back home in Indiana (for 18 years now). Miss the mountains but there is nothing like the changing of seasons. The nights are crisp. Skies are bright blue and yellow leaves are falling right now in my backyard. Life is so amazing! Enjoy the journey. Safe travels to you and Joe. Love Lucy

    • sbranch says:

      Sounds so beautiful Judy! I mean, Lucy xoxo

      • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

        haha! I was thinking–why doesn’t Susan just change the name from Judy to Lucy?? She hadn’t sent it yet!?! Then I remembered about “Lucy and Ethel”–yes, I would be one of those Girlfriends sitting around your kitchen table who you would have to turn and explain things to:)

  60. Elizabeth says:

    Oh my goodness! You are so close to Salt Lake City! How about a little detour to see all of your faithful readers up here? I’ll bet The King’s English Bookstore could host an event and the name fits so well. Your van would look smashing parked outside. Sigh…

    • sbranch says:

      It was actually all planned, and then we ran out of books!! I know, that van would look so good in Salt Lake City!

  61. Debbie says:

    Thank you for all the lovely photos of your cross country trip. We do have a beautiful country! The picture of your Dad made me smile and I hope you have a wonderful visit with him. On the 29th it will be five years since my Dad passed away and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him & I still talk to him! It seems like we were both blessed with wonderful Dads! Wishing you safe travels and wonderful visits with the rest of your family!

  62. Cynthia McDonald says:

    I always love your posts – they brighten the day! I especially enjoyed your latest as we recently returned from our first visit to N.M. and AZ. What a beautiful, diverse country we live in! We also stopped at Meteor Crater and visited the Grand Canyon and your pictures were great! It really does smell like sage and pine there. Have a wonderful time with your family and friends in California. Thank you for sharing your everyday adventures with us.

  63. Mo'a says:

    Ok!!! update: I have now read 109 back pages on your blog approximately 218 posts…it makes the waiting for “A Fine Romance” a little sweeter.
    36 years ago I lived on the 16th floor of a highrise right on Lake Michigan in Chicago…Sheridan Road for those who are familiar with Chicago 🙂 We saw one of the Tall Ships from out kitchen window. One time we saw our section of the lake frozen…Even though our only view was the lake…there was always something new to admire. I used to get up early to watch the sunrise over the lake.
    I loved your photos of the Chamisa…they are so beautiful. We love the South West…Santa Fe, Chimayo and Taos especially. Next time we go to the SW we are going to include Arizona.
    Thank you for the tour.

    P.S. I went to college in London…Anglophile to the core.

    • sbranch says:

      At Santuario de Chimayo, I got my 2000 millennium “charm” for my bracelet, on our way to Durango to see in the New Year in a cabin in the snow with my family. Your highrise view must have been wonderful!

  64. Toni Hill says:

    You are so unique! I LOVE traveling with you! Now that my husband has died, I will never travel those roads again! Thanks for the memories and all you do (both of you) to provide such delight in my life!

  65. Darlene says:

    Hello Susan, thank you for sharing all the beauty of your journey with us. It’s all so lovely!! Have a wonderful time with your dad and family!! xoxo

  66. Ann says:

    Anyone who hasn’t made those ribs yet–make them tonight!! They are delicious and a regular on our family menus. You are traveling in such a beautiful part of the country, loved all the pics along the way. Enjoy your visit with your Dad.

  67. Stephanie says:

    The pics are fantastic – makes me feel very patriotic. What a beautiful country we have! Stunning.

    I think your dad rocks. My dad is 84 and is resistant to technology. Your dad can post on the blog, hang with his i-pad etc. – I think that is awesome. Curiousity and being engaged in life – I think those things keep us all young! Enjoy your visit together. I always enjoy your Dad’s posts – I’m sure he’s thrilled to have you all to himself!

    • sbranch says:

      I agree with you! My dad is so connected, looking things up on Google and everything. I do think it’s rare for that generation, rarer than it is for mine. I’m thrilled to have him to myself too, he’s just a rock for me.

  68. Sharon Calvert says:

    LOVE IT! America the Beautiful … Oh Say Can You See … etc, etc. Thanks for keeping us in the loop and enjoying some ‘down time’ before it all starts up again! Smiling at the pics of the kitties and Joe dangling over the edge and Blog Daddy 🙂

    Still wishfully hoping for a signing at Page & Palette in Fairhope, AL,
    Sharon in Alabama

  69. Barb in MI says:

    Hi Susan! Your pictures of your cross-country trip are wonderful! It brought back memories of our trips out west and our visit to meteor crater, too! I remember there were signs warning about snakes as you walked around the rim – that was enough for me to hang close to the museum! So glad you enjoyed Lake Michigan. We love going to the western side of our state all along its shore. If you ever get a chance to explore areas north of Grand Rapids – up to Traverse City, Charlevoix, Petoskey, Harbor Springs and on up to Mackinac Bridge, it would be a great trip. I’m happy to see your dad looking so well and you enjoying time with him. It’s always fun to see his comments on your blog. Have a safe trip making the rounds to see your family and friends!

    • sbranch says:

      We have been talking about the trip you mentioned, up to Mackinac … we would LOVE that, and then back down the other side. Thanks Barb!

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        We talk about making that circle trip, too. The pictures we have seen of the areas are beautiful! 🙂

  70. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    Love that giant bucket list! You look fabulous in that photo “down in the crater” in your purple sweater, fit and trim! I just returned from my first trip to Phoenix, AZ. It was thrilling to see the Grand Canyon from the air for the first time! Even more thrilling to hold my 4 week old grandson for the first time!!! My kids and grandkids were never truly mine till I sang to them, so he has now been anointed.;) Flagstaff looks wonderful, and so does your charming Dad. Thank you for always adding smiles to my day.

  71. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    P.S. Forgot to say that when I returned from 5 days in AZ and was unpacking, I turned around and my kitty had planted herself in my suitcase, as if to say “You are not leaving here without me again!”

  72. Tami from CA says:

    Hi Susan! 🙂
    Wow! Where to begin? I think I’ll start by telling you that you look terrific!! I always thought that you were cute, I just don’t think I realized how tiny you are!!! So many of the pictures I’ve seen of you have you sitting behind a table for book signings, etc. so when I saw your svelte little self next to the crater & bumper sticking your van, I thought to myself, “Wow! She’s been working out or something!! How can a lady who writes cookbooks with so much yummy stuff in them look like that?!!”. Sign me up! I’m in! 😉
    Also, when I started reading this post & you said “we could write a book” I immediately thought “oh! Yes!!! That would be awesome!!” Your water colors of the things you’ve viewed on your tour across country, maybe recipes for an item from each state (ie- Kansa City BBQ) something or other!!I get excited just thinking about it!!! My first thought for a title was “Land That I Love”, but then I saw another reader said “America the Beautiful” and like it so much more…. Just suggestions, I know you’re so busy right now. If you don’t ask tho, the answer’s always “no” right? Anyway, moving on… I loved the picture of your toothbrushes all cuddled together. It totally made me smile. 🙂 And your Daddy is A-Dorable!!! He looks so cute sitting with a leg flung over the arm of his chair while playing on his iPad!!! Hope you have a wonderful visit! Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to catch one of your signings here in CA. Safe travels!

    • sbranch says:

      That would be great Tami! I love your idea of America the Beautiful. Maybe someday we’ll slow way down so we can get more recipes and more long views and closeups of everything. Would be wonderful xo

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        How about a “progressive cookbook?” Like a progressive party, only instead of different courses being served at different homes, the Girlfriends would supply the recipes… and you’d choose the ones you wanted and then do the illustrations? Just an idea…

  73. Marianne in Mo. says:

    Your comment about purple mountains majesty was the same I used as we were leaving Estes Park , Colo. a few days before they ended up with the horrendous flooding. We drove thru Kansas, home to Mo., a 14 hr. trip nonstop.
    Years ago, we took our girls to the Meteor Crater too! Curiosity about the sign pulled us in! I remember saying we would get there only to find some small dimple that someone was passing off as a meteor crater….boy, I was wrong! We also went to White Sands, an awesome place, then the Grand Canyon. Now we visit Colo. regularly, since our oldest daughter and her family moved to Colo. Springs. Air Force has given us opportunities to see this great country of ours, with every move my daughter and family make! Have fun travelling!

    • sbranch says:

      That’s what I was thinking too, a dimple! Another thing was the Badlands, we saw that one year. I didn’t want to go because as I told Joe, “The reason they named it the Badlands is because it’s bad.” Another time of total wrongness on my part, it was SO gorgeous and interesting.

  74. Karen P - Wisconsin says:

    So lovely to see your journey across America! You take such great pics! It’s been such fun meeting you and Joe and all the other girlfriends and hearing about others’ meetings, too! Love seeing your “Blog Daddy”…please do give him a hug from all his “girlfriends!” Happy Trails to you! xoxo

  75. Mo'a says:

    Healing sand and a Milagros Cross was my souvenir from Santuario de Chimayo and a wonderful photograph.
    Next time you are in Chimayo, try the Chilies Rollenos at the Rancho De Chimayo Restaurante…they are the best I have had.
    Yes, the view from our highrise was wonderful 🙂

  76. Monica D. says:

    I finished reading “A Fine Romance” last night, and was so sad to reach the last page! What a wonderful trip – and now I want to go back through the book again to pay special attention to the watercolor borders you painted around each page to make every one special. Now I want to paint pretty borders around the pages of letters when I write 🙂 Thanks for taking us on such a wonderful trip – you made us see, taste, smell, touch, and feel everything right along with you!

  77. Deb from Dixie says:

    Road Trip……those are two of my favorite words! What a wonderful adventure you and Joe are having….and traveling light too….LOL. That’s me…a “notorious overpacker”…but hey, you never know when you might need something……right?
    Loves the photos of the big endless beauty of our country….every part so different and yet each holding its own unique wonderment.
    Big hello and hug to Jack the Blog Daddy…..cherish your time together…..get in some extra hugs!
    And I learned something new today. Never heard of a Javelina… I Googled it, and yikes…..cetainly would not want to run into one of those in my yard!!…..unless Blog Daddy traps them, and uses them for the BBQ ribs……LOL !
    ( Well, they looked like a mean pig in the Google photo).

    Happy Trails as the journey continues.

  78. San says:

    Ohhh what a grand adventure you’re having. Thanks for sharing all of those lovely pictures.

  79. Sarah Maldonado says:

    Oh, Susan! Loved this blog! When I was barely out of high school I took my first solo trip to Colorado, driving through Kansas and spent the night in Dodge City in a little stucco motel. I toured the little western town, Boot Hill, etc. I was a little scared at night all by myself but what a great adventure in my little VW bug. Didn’t we all have one at some time??
    I wanted to see you in Wichita but was dog sitting for my neighbor and couldn’t make the 4 hour trip but I thought of you! Glad you are resting at your dad’s. Safe travels and hugs all around.

  80. Laura C. says:

    On our cross country trip in Nov. 2012, my husband and I stopped at Meteor Crater. It’s amazing!!! What about the man size cut out at the bottom? You have to use the telescope to even see it. It’s hard to believe how big the crater is.
    I’ll see you in Bakersfield CA when you get here!

    • sbranch says:

      It is hard to believe! They have stopped letting people climb down into it … to help keep it pristine and beautiful. It was green — There’s been lots of rain in the desert lately, so it was very pretty. See you in Bakersfield Laura!

  81. We’re away from home for almost three months, and I didn’t bring any photos of my Golden retrievers with me. Looking at them just makes me cry because I miss them so much. If I’m desperate I can always look at my photos on Facebook.

    Your Dad looks so good, and I bet he is just so proud of you and happy to see you!

    Happy travels… (I’m reading your “Fine Romance” again and again and again, I love it).

  82. Jack says:

    Hi girlfriends, one and all and a big squeezey hug to each and every one of you! Yessss, I’m loving this three day visit with Sue and Joe. We went out to “Nic’s” the first night here and then last night we had Spareribs and Juice (I remember the kids used to try and dip their sparerib bones back into the delicious “juice” to suck it off when they were little!). We got it good — tonight Jeanie is making us a big pan of her Fantastic Enchiladas…. that’s a big YUM too! So with the magic of the Angels, please consider yourselves all sitting down to eat with us, out on our deck, and we will toast all of you with this outstanding Zinfandel Wine that Joe brought along – at 6:30 P.M. Our time — Have a happy weekend everyone! And a big hug back to anyone who can use it. jack BD

    • sbranch says:

      Cutest Blog Daddy in the whole wide world. xoxo

      • Diana says:

        Sounds like a plan!! I’m in!!! :-)…. and thannks or the hug.. I haven’t had a good Dad bear-hug in a long time… miss that!!! I think we will have a WONDERUL evening!!!

      • Darlene says:

        Hugs to your dad!!! xoxo

      • mari1017 says:

        Blog Daddy is the best 🙂 Beautiful part of the country where he lives. Only visited that area, but its beauty, good friends, good food and good wine – how can you miss??? Glad you had a great visit!

    • Aw, thanks. I can always use a hug! And an extra hug back to you for your loss of sweet Daisy.

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        Jack & Jeanie, big hug back atcha! The enchiladas were awesome, as was the Zinfandel. Let’s get another drink and sit out on the deck and enjoy another balmy Arizona evening! xoxo ❤

    • sondra fox says:

      Dear BD, I know Daisy must have been much loved. Your family loves animals like ours does. No need telling you to have a good time together, the four of you, sitting on your deck enjoying the good life together. I know you will. Thanks for your hugs! (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • Lynn McMahon says:

      Thanks for the ” Dad” hug!~ mine has been gone for almost 6 years now so im way over due!~ I will be toasting you here in Wisconsin tonight with my Autumn sangria I just made~ even though the high today is 80~ it’s Autumn like somewhere!~

      • sbranch says:

        That’s what I’ve heard too Lynn! For Arizona, it’s fall, a mere 75 degrees today!

        • Carol Maurer, formally Eureka, Ca.... now Kennewick, WA says:

          Thanks for a ‘bear’ hug, Jack. I really appreciated it. Enjoyed dinner and a drink out on the deck as well. Family is so great!!!

  83. Jane F. says:

    Hi Susan! Boy did that bring back memories!! Did it several times from CA back to FL to visit my mom & dad! Then from here (nw Arkansas/OK border) out to NM & AZ a couple of times!! It gets in your blood doesn’t it! This great big beautiful country and wide open spaces!!! Pretty exciting!! So good to hear from you. I’ve been thinking about you and wondering just about where you might be!! By the way, Gene got two great reports — Ortho guy yesterday; and primary doc guy today!! They both think he’s a pretty tough cookie and making good progress!! And they are right!! He sure is!! A ways to go, but we are getting there!! And the Girlfriends are helping!!! I know you will have a wonderful visit in Arizona!! Thank you so much for taking us along everywhere!!! 🙂

  84. Carolyn jane Glover Chatham says:

    Guess what! Guess What! I was visiting the Beatrix Potter website (UK version) and in the newsletter was an article about a book talk on books related to beatrix potter but not books by Beatrix. There in the list of possible authors to be discussed was none other than our own SUSAN BRANCH!!! Isn’t it wonderful!!

    • sbranch says:

      OH Boy. I know they are reviewing A FINE ROMANCE in their next Journal and Newsletter, which is supposed to be out any day now. I joined the Society and this (snail mail) Newsletter will be my first one! I asked, and they are sending it to my house in California this time so I will get to see it when I get there. Joy oh joy! (If anyone wants the link to join the Society, click HERE, scroll to the bottom of the page and you will see it highlighted in blue.)

  85. Jane Townsend says:

    I know that you love our beautiful country (England!) but the photos of your road trip are just wonderful. A country of such breath taking contrasts. What an amazing journey.

    • sbranch says:

      So happy you’re enjoying it Jane. One time we were traveling across country, we were in Wyoming and I was in the laundry room of our hotel. In there with me was a couple of English people and we got to talking. They were part of a group touring the country, they loved the cowboy history of America and were an English country-western band!! I thought that was so cute and different!

  86. Peggy Marinovich says:

    Hi Sue,

    I hope your “Fine Romance” tour extends to the Pacific Northwest! Like you, I’m a California transplant to Seattle over 26 years ago! I’ve been a fan of yours since the “Country Living” days and would love to see you up here, but if time doesn’t allow you and Joe to travel to Seattle, then be assured I already have my copy of a “Fine Romance”. Love reading about your tour.

  87. mari1017 says:

    Thanks, Susan, for taking us along out West!!! So beautiful ♥ Flagstaff is the one and only city so far where I could live that is not on the coast 🙂 Great town. Loved the pix of Lake Michigan. the first time I flew out to Ohio to sail with my cousins on Lake Erie, my cousin reminded me “This is a GREAT lake, not Winnepesaukee…” ha-ha! And, boy, they sure are! Your Blog Daddy looks healthy and happy to see you. The post arrived in time for my afternoon tea, so I’m thoroughly enjoying. Looking forward to the tea tins and tea!!! Thanks again for the great post – Happy Trails!!!

  88. Loving the road trip shots. Road trips are one of my favourite things. There is no better way to see the world.

  89. Carol in KS says:

    Thank you for all the photos and road trip write-ups. 🙂 So glad you got some Hog Wild — I love it! Missed you in both KC and Wichita, but loved your interview on Kansas City TV!! Almost made up for not getting to meet you in person. 🙂 Enjoy your visit with your dad and every mile you and Joe travel! Godspeed!!

  90. Joann says:

    Hello Susan,

    Today I write from Moosheim, Austria. Just another GORGEOUS village in a gorgeous country that is green, green, green. I know at home in Colorado we still have a horrible mess to figure out, but right now, we’re in the ‘unreal’ world of ‘holiday.’ Only a few more days left, but we are just loving it and I will have some tremendous recommendations for girlfriends wanting to travel in this region. Tomorrow, we’re off to Switzerland. We’re in a turbo car and we’ve gone 120 mph. And yes, that’s MPH. I know, crazy, but someone driving is having a little fun!!!

    We spent a day in Salzburg… know who said we should go there. She was right. AMAZING. Stores like Hummel, Steif, Gmundner…..things I love, like SB things. They are just a part of my world.

    So, we couldn’t pack our fruit salad or our favorite pillows, but for two weeks, we’ll manage……

    Enjoy being with your Dad—- give him a BIG GERMAN HUG from us!!




    • sbranch says:

      I’ll do it. And it was Rachel who is so in love with Salzburg… her favorite place in the world. I need to go there someday! Have fun! Huge trip Joann and I had no idea you were going!

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        Salzburg is so beautiful – everyone who has the chance should NOT miss it!! When I was there [1973], it still looked exactly like it was portrayed in “The Sound of Music.” I’m willing to bet a lot of it still does. Europeans seem to be better at preserving their past treasures than we upstart Americans… :>)

        • sbranch says:

          I think when we moved across the sea, a lot of us forgot what we left behind.

          • Janet in Rochester says:

            For sure. But I also remind myself that until fairly recently, we really didn’t exactly have much that WAS all that old. We were a new country, after all, and intent on marching toward the future. Now though, we’re realizing more and more that our history – Revolutionary and Civil War-era homes and battlefields for example – will be lost FOREVER, if we don’t do something. We need as robust a National Trust as the UK has!

          • sbranch says:

            Wouldn’t that be wonderful!

  91. Carol Heach says:

    Lovely post!! I so wanted to see you in Goshen, but sadly couldn’t make it. 🙁 love hearing & seeing your journey!!

  92. Sharon Penney-Morrison says:

    Glad you made it safe to your Dad’s. He is a very handsome man.
    I have been on the roads you traveled on this post, and it brought back a lot of memories of a wild, crazy time, with a flamenco guitar player that I went to HS with some 50 years ago!!!!!!!! long story, but a good one. He is NOT in my life now. A short romance (maybe a fling??).

    • sbranch says:

      He is SO handsome. Like an elf. Like a leprechaun! Or like Johnny Carson. At one time, he looked like Frank Sinatra, and at another time of his life, he looked like Roy Rogers. ♥

      • sondra fox says:

        Oh my BD, can you take all of this praise? Have to kid you. I know you’re a kidder. Remember, “Don’t let success go to your head, nor failure go to you heart.” (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  93. jan says:

    For a second I thought your water tower was in Ashley, Indiana, but he wears a bowtie.

  94. Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

    I didn’t realize you were going through AZ or I’d have told you earlier about a motel just west of Flagstaff in Seligman called Canyon View. Seligman is just a couple of miles off Hwy 40 and takes about a three-mile loop. The town is stuck in time – Route 66 time – a perfect photo opp. And the Canyon View is a theme motel with rooms dedicated to Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne, Motorcycles, Route 66 etc.

    I was running back and forth to CA earlier this year and I slept with Elvis twice, John Wayne once and bunked in with Marilyn in the sister motel in Winslow when the highway was closed due to high winds and blowing sand.

    Michael and Johann run the Canyon View and it’s old (in keeping with the town’s theme), but sparkling clean, in perfect repair, and great TV’s. No frills, low price, and you can park in front of your room in a town with zero crime.

    Gas stations at each end of the loop, Westside Lalo’s restaurant for home cooking and giant pieces of Black Forest Cake. Or hamburgers across the street at The Roadkill Restaurant.

    • sbranch says:

      I saved your comment Patsy, for the way home, just in case we get nearby. I think Canyon View would be Joe’s cup of tea! Gets him on Rt 66 which he just loves. Thank you! (Roadkill Restaurant, say it ain’t so!!!)

      • Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

        Tell “The Boys” that Patsy said you could use her free room, as I won’t be coming through anytime soon. Use the money you save toward the next trip and book, which we’re all eagerly awaiting.

        My Tiki is 16 now and I won’t be traveling so long as I need a kitty-sitter. I promised her I’d stay home with her because she gets separation anxiety even though she loves my brother (her sitter when I’m gone). After all, in kitty years, she’s a little old lady.

        BTW, four of us had a Book Club Meeting and Lunch yesterday. It was the “A Fine Romance” meeting – our first and last meeting until your next book is written and published. You got eight thumbs up.

        • sbranch says:

          That is one short little book club! 🙂 Thank you Patsy! Big hello to the book club members! Hugs to Tiki. xo

          • Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

            I must have been half asleep when I sent my first message. It’s Canyon Lodge (not Canyon View) and it’s Reinhardt and Michael (not Johann). Geez!


            Anyway, you can look at photos here of the motel, the rooms, and the town. Fun photos.

            I’ll call “The Boys” tomorrow to confirm that I’ve given you and Joe my free room. Call them in advance if you go that way 928-422-3255, so you can request the Elvis Presley Room, which is on the ground floor and at the back.

          • sbranch says:

            Thank you Patsy, I’ll give the info to Map Man and see if this route gets us to all the places we’re going . . . it would be fun! You’re a sweetheart!

          • Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

            I spoke with Michael and Reinhardt this morning and they’re eagerly awaiting your visit. They said to be sure to call ahead as soon as you know your arrival date, so they can be sure to have a room for you.

            You’ll love this kooky little town. I hope the barber is open, with his unofficial tourist office. He’s the one who saved Seligman and there’s even a TV show about it.

            Michael’s family lives in Pismo Beach, so I told him to inform them of your website so maybe they can make a book signing event.

          • sbranch says:

            Thank you Patsy!!

  95. Cyndi in NC says:

    What a great look at parts of our wonderful country. Love the pics of the kitties and the guest kitty, what a cutie. You all were closer to my husband and daughter than I am. They are in southern Arizona working on a project for the government. Even in California you’d be closer. I always love going to Flagstaff, AZ. You can see it for miles and miles. Have fun on the road. *L* I know you’ll be ready to unpack even though great things are happening right now for you all. *S* Travel safe!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes all good. Good here, and then, home…good there. Hard to choose. But what makes this work, is that we know we will see the island again!

  96. Sylvia in Seattle says:

    I have to say the photo of your van with English Countryside depicted — parked between the Piggy vans at the BBQ place is, for this blog follower, a study in contrast! Thinking back to those quaint cozy Pubs and Inns, hedgerows, lambs, narrow roads, English gardens and castles . . . the bumper sticker is the kicker — Boot Hill with revolver :-). That crater is a sight to see, but definitely NOT cozy. I mean can you imagine Beatrix sitting with her paint box and brushes on that platform hanging out over the giant hole? I’m currently enjoying the Linda Lear biography of BP. So chock full of information. Much more to her than previously even imagined.
    I traveled some of those same roads with my then 92 year old Mom in 2002. We experienced the NM thunder and lightning — rain and rocks flowing so thick over the road we had to pull over and stop till it passed. Got to Truth or Consequences, stopped in a motel with its own restaurant where we were happily seated in a booth anticipating a nice hot meal and poof, the power went out and we had to try to find something (cold) to eat on the salad bar by very dim candle light and some flashlights held by the management :-). Fun memories! Your Dad has GREAT hands and arms. Hope that’s not sharing too much. A very nice picture of Jack relaxing. He’s a lucky guy getting to see his Susan on the blog whenever he wants. I’d give plenty to see my Dad’s hands again . . .
    It’s so much fun to travel along with you and Joe. I’m glad he got to experience the Crater! Gives one a lot to think about. I LOVE all your pictures. You two must have packing down to an art by now. Looks impressive stacked on the motel cart.
    Vaya con Dios.

  97. mary says:

    Hi Susan,
    Thanks for giving us updates on your cross country trip, we do live in a beautiful country!
    Couldnt help but notice the great looking pair of shoes you had on. What/where did you get them? They look handmade.
    Also, will you ever come to Virginia?

    • sbranch says:

      I got them from Zappos and I LOVE them so much I ordered another pair to be waiting for me at home because I am definitely going to wear these out which would make me very sad. HERE THEY ARE . . . Virginia, we hope to go south after Christmas, will see if trip wins, or writing a new book wins!

  98. Heidi says:

    It’s so much fun going on your road trip with you! I think we all fit a little bit better in your van than we did in your car in England. 🙂 The two toothbrushes snuggling together made me giggle…your toothbrushes are enjoying a fine romance of their own, I see! And your proper English sheep wedged in there between those wildly cavorting Kansas hogs made me laugh. Stay safe Susan and Joe, and have a wonderful visit with Blog Daddy! ♥

  99. Susan (Grayslake, IL) says:

    Susan … Hi to your dad (Joe and you, of course). Glad you made it safely to AZ. Enjoy your rest. 🙂

  100. Hi Susan!
    It’s a warm fuzzy feeling to know you are in my state of Arizona, even though you are way up north of me! Yes, the night and early morning is now chilly again, thankfully! Been waiting for it all summer! Glad the blue skies and sunshine are warming you, and showing you the lovely wildflowers, that I never tire of! Safe travels, my friend! Hope to catch you in a bookstore, on your way back across. I hope it’s not the first week of November, as I get to go to Ireland, tagging along on my hubby’s work trip! Hugs!

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