I’ve experienced strong wind. I live in Oklahoma.

Strong wind coming across the Painted Desert – that is something totally different! We planned a day to spend a few hours in Petrified Forest National Park. We were all pretty excited about seeing fossils and petrified trees. We were not prepared for the wind. The park rangers told us the wind was especially strong that day. Unfortunately, it was too strong for my youngest kids – it actually knocked them over and all the sand blowing in the air was not well received by little eyes.

We tried to explore some and made the most of our day.

4.16petrifiedforest-01 4.16petrifiedforest-02Do you see the petroglyphs on the rock? If you look at the photo above you can see a plaque describing the petroglyph and then look at the photo below to see it. These were all over the park – so fascinating. 4.16petrifiedforest-03 4.16petrifiedforest-04 And the wind took one girl down…4.16petrifiedforest-05 4.16petrifiedforest-06 The boys wanted a photo of them jumping in the wind. I am not a very cautious mom, but I was a bit concerned they would not be able to land on their feet. They did.4.16petrifiedforest-07 Running against the wind…basically we tried playing with the wind instead of being overcome by it.4.16petrifiedforest-08 A petrified tree…4.16petrifiedforest-10 4.16petrifiedforest-12 After leaving the park, we headed to Holbrook, AZ. I could have spent a few hours just exploring this quaint town. We decided to hit up Jim Gray’s Petrified Wood Co. It had high rating on Trip Advisor, which is our go-to travel source. It was a huge hit with the kids.4.16petrifiedforest-13 4.16petrifiedforest-14 4.16petrifiedforest-15 4.16petrifiedforest-16 4.16petrifiedforest-17 This is right after I told her what “dung” means…4.16petrifiedforest-18If we could go back to the park on a day with less wind I would really like to do the Blue Mesa hike. It isn’t very long, but looked like such a fun hike. I would also like more time to explore Holbrook. So many places to go and so little time. I guess we’ll just come again!

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  • ashley jensen - My dad is from Pampa, TX (1 hour northeast of Amarillo) and man is it windy there on the open plains! We also have a travel trailer too and I can imagine how it was pulling yours with those winds. Granted yours is WAY heavier than ours so it was probably a little better to pull than ours would be!

  • Robin - It’s so fun to see you visit my home state! I haven’t been to the petrified forest since I was your boys’ ages but I still have my one piece of ‘wood’.

    Arizona’s desert landscape can look desolate and beautiful at the same time. The photo with your daughter running into the wind is awesome. It looks like she’s running on the moon. :)

  • Karen - Lived in flagstaff, az dor 20 yrs. always so excited for spring and then the winds start….this wind u described until June….every year. But I ? northern az. U must become one with the wind. ???

  • Karen - I love northern az.

  • Emily - What a great trip! I have an east-coast genealogy trip in our future (I’m thinking middle school-ages for a variety of reasons) — your road trips are inspiring me to do something sooner! Thank you for sharing!

  • Sarah - What a fun trip! I can’t imagine how strong that wind must’ve been – a memory created that won’t soon be forgotten I’m sure!

    I’m wondering if you would considering sharing how you go about planning your family trips. We’ve always done the one destination (explore while there), but I’m loving how you road trip! Any tips or suggestions on trip planning?

  • Diana - We went to the Petrified Forest on the way to the Grand Canyon (which from IG appears to have been your trip too) many years ago (19!). My family all took a picture of the very first piece of petrified wood we saw on our walk…which meant we had about 10 pictures of the same thing. By the time we finished the walk we were done taking pictures. Not a big park by any means but still interesting!

  • Jenny - You always have the best pictures! Always! :)

  • Karen B - What a sweet daddy!

Pit stops. When we travel, we make lots of pit stops. Partially it is due to 5 kids and partially due to a mom that is not used to sitting – ever. I relish a good road trip, I just wished I could make them without having to sit on my rear for so long!

Over the weekend, we hit the road and made a pit stop at Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas.

Cadillac Ranch is right off I-40. It was created in 1974 as an art collaboration between Texas billionaire Stanley Marsh and a group of hippie artists from California (The Ant Farm). The idea was to highlight the evolution of the Cadillac tail fin by burying 10 Cadillacs halfway in the ground. Shortly after its installation, travelers began defacing the Caddies, which was eventually encouraged by Marsh and the Ant Farm.

The Caddies still stand buried, though they were moved 2 miles to the west in 1997 as Amarillo expanded. Travelers have been stopping for 42 years leaving their marks. Last year we visited Autograph Rock along the Santa Fe Trail. On the sandstone bluffs there, early settlers and traders carved their names in the sandstone. Travelers leaving their marks…for hundreds of years just in different ways.

When you exit I-40 just west of Amarillo, you go down a service road and park on the side of that road. Then enter a small unlocked gate and head out to the pasture where they Caddies are buried. Make sure you bring spray paint. If you are me….bring a big bag of all those half-used cans in your garage.

4.16amarilloranch-014.16amarilloranch-034.16amarilloranch-044.16amarilloranch-054.16amarilloranch-074.16amarilloranch-084.16amarilloranch-104.16amarilloranch-114.16amarilloranch-134.16amarilloranch-144.16amarilloranch-16My tips for Cadillac Ranch:

  • Bring spray paint. I recommend light and dark colors. You can paint a base coat and then add your design…or outline your work to help it stand out.
  • If it has been raining – I am guessing the whole place is a mud pit. Just keep that in mind.
  • Take a picture of your art – it won’t last long!
  • There is no shade, so bring sunscreen.
  • It can be windy. We made sure to stand in the direction the wind blew the paint away from us instead of back in our face.
  • We also tried to hang out by the cars on the ends. It kept us away from others painting and helped for getting pictures without lots of other people in it.
  • Don’t lean against any of the cars, unless you don’t mind getting wet spray paint on you. My arms is green. I learned that lesson the hard way!
  • Bring a bag for your empty cans…and you can pick up a few left behind by others. There are a couple of dumpsters outside the gate for collecting the used cans.
  • Take a few minutes to research the history of Cadillac Ranch..knowing the history makes it more interesting and fun to think about how much has changed and how much has remained the same in the 42 years.
  • Go ready to have fun. It is not the most pristine location, but like anything in life – choosing to have fun will make all the difference. Choosing to have fun and having the brightest paint colors!



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  • Diana - Such awesome pics

  • Naked Eye Studio - Wow that looks fun! It reminds me a lot of Castle Hill Graffiti park – one of my favorite spots here in Austin. :)

    It looked like you guys were the only ones there – is that the case? If not great angles on the photos 😉

    If so, that’s amazing! It’s one thing I am always trying to accomplish when I go to Castle Hill. Usually it’s so busy I can’t get much painting in – too many people trying to accomplish the same thing I guess haha. I dream of having the place to myself for a few hours!

  • AshleyAnn - There were lots of other people there! I am actually working on a SnapShop lesson on how to take pictures at crowded places without the crowds :)

  • Christi Fisher - This is my “stompin’ ground” when I was growing up. You are correct about the wind! The Texas Panhandle is a beautiful place but you gotta watch out for that wind! Thanks for the post.

  • Mindy - It’s so fun to see pictures of home! I also grew up in Amarillo. It’s not close to I40, but did you happen to make it to Palo Duro Canyon? I love to read of your family’s adventures!

  • Jenny L. - I love the way you always bring the pup!

  • Debbie C - That third photo down, with the cars and big sky… Awesome! I’d hang it on my wall! Thanks for these travel posts.

  • Lisa K - I absolutely love the shot that is mostly sky and the similar one with your son walking away. Those two are PERFECTION!!!! :)

  • MC - What a fantastic place! Looks so unreal! And your pictures are amazing as usual.

  • Lynsee - Ahhh! I live in Canyon (just down the road from AMA). I’ve been reading your blog for years and it’s so cool to see you and your family at Cadillac Ranch. I second that you guys need to go to Palo Duro Canyon – it’s beautiful.

  • ellen patton - My parents used to live in Amarillo and I’ve been to Cadillac Ranch. Never thought to take spray paint!

I could paint every day.

Walls. Canvases. Fabric. Pots. Furniture. My kids.

Every day, if given the chance I would be quite happy with paint on my fingers and a brush in my hands. Several years ago I bought a little wooden chair. The seat looks like it was hand carved, as do the legs and spindles. It is wonky and imperfect – just perfect for me. Unfortunately, I did not seal the wood and let it sit on our front porch where the weather began to take its toll. Or…I could say fortunately I left it outside and as a result it needed to be painted – a sunny yellow for a happy addition to our summer porch.


  • Brush
  • American Decor Chalky Finish Paint – I used the color “Rejuvenate”. You can get it at Micheals, Hobby Lobby, Home Depot and JoAnn. “Rejuvenate” is a new color available online soon and eventually in the stores.
  • Finish – I like the waxes if it is for an indoor project and the varnishes for outside projects

4.16chair-01See that wonky seat and imperfect spindles? Perfect.4.16chair-054.16chair-06I also used the DecoArt Chalky Finish paint on our green guest bed (color is “Fortune”).4.16chair-08Now I need to just start collecting more chairs to give myself a reason to paint more…I’m not so sure Chris would agree with that though!

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  • Byron - As usual, character and love in everything you do! Love the chair and bed frame!

  • Rikki - I just love the texture of the weathered wood on the chair, and the yellow really looks great! I adore little props like this to use around the house – flower stand, foot stool, you name it, it works with all that character!

  • tammy - My favorite color! I love your chair, the flowers, and your beautiful girls!

  • amanda - LOVE !!! It’s perfect !!

  • Marie - Yellow! I adore your blog. There is so much substance to your posts, it makes this a happy place on the internet. Thank you also for sharing your daughter’s story in the post below. She is beautiful and has so much character (Iron Man shirt!).

  • Shayna - all the heart eyes! L O V E all the colors you pick.

  • Last day of school project | Cupcakes and Commentary - […] had read about it here and decided to give it a try. The 8 oz jar was more than enough to paint both bar stools (with two […]