Viva Las Vegas : Red Rock Canyon

Not what you would be expecting from Las Vegas, huh?

Located about 15 miles outside of Vegas, Red Rock Canyon will overwhelm your senses. It is a glorious creation of fossilized sand dunes mixed with amber and crimson cliffs, thanks to the iron oxide built up throughout many centuries.

Isn't my mom lovely?

And this guy? He's such a stud. ;)

The stark contrast between the deeply colored rocks and the barren valley truly mesmerizes onlookers.

Chase & Jackie

Dad, Chase & me

JD & me

Happy 30th Anniversary, mom and dad!

Cathedral Caverns and Monte Sano with B-Money and Theresa

A few months ago, JD's sister Theresa and her husband, Brandon (or B-money, according to JD), spent a couple of days with us in Huntsville for the first time since our move. I'm sure you've heard of a "power couple" but I'm set in the fact that you haven't met a power couple until you've met these two amazing people.

They work as house parents for the Baptist Children's Village in Mississippi. Yeah. It's a pretty intense job, to say the least. But they're perfect for it because God has stirred their hearts and carried them through. It's been awesome to hear about the ways Christ has worked in them and through them to love on these kids who possibly haven't received much love from their real parents.

We, of course, made some delicious breakfast for our much-anticipated house guests. Cinnamon rolls, sausage, OJ and coffee (JD drinks his coffee black... Theresa and I obviously prefer coffee with our cream).

We took them on a nice hike through Monte Sano...

And then a journey through the amazing Cathedral Caverns...

And lookie there...

We have officially identified a fallout shelter. 

A nice gentleman took our photo outside of the giant mouth of the cave, measuring 126 feet wide and 25 feet high. 

A caving trip just wouldn't be the same without a trip to the souvenir store and some Rock Crystals... so Theresa and I begged the guys to buy us a pack. They are just too sweet. The guys, I mean. ;)

We were so thankful to have Brandon and Theresa stay with us for a few days. Brandon and JD always have the best time together (they were roommates in college), and Theresa and I immediately became best friends when we met for the first time. It is such a blessing to call Theresa, not my sister-in-law, but my sister. The same goes for JD and Brandon. We couldn't be more thankful for our families and the wonderful adventures we get to go on together!!

We want to hear about your town! If your family came to visit you, where would you take them to visit if they don't live close by?

October 28: Bet She'an National Park

Whew! October 28th was an exciting but very long day. So long, in fact, that we will be breaking the day into four different posts.

(1) Bet She'an National Park
(2) Capernaum
(3) Mount of Beatitudes
(4) Sea of Galilee

We now welcome you to...

Bet She'an National Park is the site of over 400 archaeologically-excavated acres from the Byzantine period. The ruins include the ancient city of Bet She'an-Scythopolis and the imposing Tel Bet She'an. Excavations were first carried out in Bet She'an in the 1920s; yet archaeologists have only uncovered about one tenth of the city's area.

If you are planning on going to Bet She'an solo (not in a tour group), we must warn you that the actual ruins are difficult to find even after you walk through the park's entrance. You can either take the free route and walk down hidden paths, through bushes and trees - OR you can ride the tram for a small fee. We recommend the latter, seeing as we wasted quite a bit of time trying to find the place on our own.

This 7,000 seat Roman Theater was built in the 21st century. The Bet She'an theater is known as the best-preserved ancient theater in Israel. All plays occurred in daylight, when the metropolis was the busiest. Though the walls were built in order to block out distractions from the busy city outside of the theater, can you imagine how loud the actors had to speak in this massive theater? 

The lovely columns of Bet She'an.

The Western Bathhouses

  1. The bathhouse toilets - the bathhouse provided public toilets. The toilets pictured here are the remains. Toilet "paper" was a soft leaf attached to a twig. A channel of running water under the seats afforded drainage. 
  2. Outlook into Western Bathhouses
  3. Entrance to Bathhouses - some of the facilities, such as this, faced an open courtyard paved with mosaic floors.
  4. We're pretty sure this was the king's latrine quarters. Don't hold us to that.
  5. Model of the Bathhouse - the bathhouse included a swimming pool, massage rooms, public toilets, and other conveniences.

  1. The outlook over Bet She'an. We had to climb many steps to get to this point. Well worth it! This, of course, was at the end of the hike. 
  2. Sigma - a semicircular concourse of the Byzantine period, referred to as the Sigma in an inscription found at the site, surrounded by rooms opening onto it.
  3. Colored mosaics were displayed on the floors of the rooms. This one depicts Tyche, guardian goddess of the city, wearing a crown of city walls and holding a cornucopia.
We spent about three hours navigating the ruins. We made one last stop at the gift shop and ate schwarmas before we left for next destination: Capernaum. 

Shwarmas, by the way, are wrapped like the Greek gyros but only include lamb (no beef). The lamb is normally sliced from a 3-foot tower of racked meat. I ate a falafel schwarma (no meat). The falafel is basically a hushpuppy, except made out of chickpeas. They put hummus, coleslaw and tomatoes in the schwarma. 

What about you?

Do you think you could act on a stage like that... and be heard?

What fascinates you the most about past eras and excavated ruins? 

Have you ever had a version of a schwarma? What were your thoughts?

Honeymoon FINAL PART

This is the last part of our honeymoon experience extravaganza, although we strive to act as if everyday our honeymoon. :) We hope you enjoyed seeing our trip to Lake Rabun in the North Georgia mountains as well as our two-day trip to Highlands, North Carolina. Soon we will be posting videos of our new home, the Bungalow at Lake Oconee. :)

Today we venture back to the place we met... Auburn, Alabama. :) We have to move out the rest of Whit's furniture from her old apartment.

Honeymoon Final Part from Whitney Todd on Vimeo.