And, here we are....the final post. Then, on to normal life!
We left California around 3am and headed towards the Grand Canyon. Kids were asleep....Blake and I were tired, but excited for the journey home. Here we are somewhere in Arizona after daybreak. Look closely at my darling husband. So tactful.
Saw lots of goofy stuff on Route 66. Kids loved it.
We made it!
Tantrums started due to missing naps. Love this pic.
Saw deer and elk and turkeys while driving through the park.
And, what is this for? Kittens or mountain lions? Makes me a little nervous.
A view from the South Rim.....visited the Yavapai Point and Observation Station as well as Grand View.
There are no words for its beauty.....simply amazing and hard to comprehend, even in person. God's work - no doubt.
Jack tried out his binoculars. (Don't panic.....there were several more levels below this one to walk through. It looks like Jack could have fallen right into the canyon here.)
Carter tried to turn them around for him. He never really got it.
The fam. Jack is still looking through the binoculars.
We took two trips out to see the park and both were awesome. And, stressful. We spent a lot of energy veering children away from the edge. I was a nut the whole time.
Can't believe I was the only one who noticed this sign. When I pointed it out to the boys, they giggled, of course.
One more peak on our way out. Magnificent.
Ate dinner that evening at this cute throw-back diner on Route 66.
Burgers and fries and fun. Notice, girls, my hair here. I was talked out of the "mom cut" by Caroline....and had my stylist cut bangs instead. Love them! Think I'll keep my hair long for now.
Stayed that evening in a KOA cabin. Really a fun option, but should be treated as a destination. We had supplies to make s'mores and such, ,but time didn't allow for it. In hind sight, we should have just booked a hotel.
Aren't these so out of the movie, Vacation? None smelled like pee, though.
Woke around 5am the next morning and headed for the Four Corners. It came recommended by Coco.....and Blake will never forgive her for it. It's basically a weak tourist trap (which we are not afraid of, mind you) in the middle of nowhere.....New Mexico, to be exact.
Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah all supposedly meet at this location. This article suggests that the accusations of it being incorrect are false. Some have said it's as much as 2.5 miles off! Makes it all the more interesting to me....and it drove Blake even more insane. Win, win!
"Now, you stand here."
Yep.....probably not worth the 400 miles we went out of our way to see. But, it's crossed off the list! Told this to Blake.....in my attempt to pat him on the back for his good behavior and let him know we never have to return....his response: "Yeah, until they put it in the actual, accurate location and then you'll drag us out to see that, too."
"Sure, honey. But, that's still more than likely a few years away."
A quick photo op of the kids. Started out nicely.
Turned ugly with Jack trying to hug Lainey.
Why is this so funny to me?
We recovered from the Corners stop and headed to Colorado. Lovely, lovely, Colorado.
Stopped in Telluride for a visit. While living in Denver, we skied all the resorts in Summit County and surrounding areas - all in the Rocky Mountains. Telluride is on the other side of the state, in the San Juan Mountains.
We took a gondola up the mountain to walk for a bit and let the kids run.
From the first lift up.
A precious ski town.....picture perfect.
Had planned to spend that evening in Pueblo, but decided to drive straight through to Kansas City. Kids were asleep by 8pm and so we took advantage. Traded off driving for sleep and it was totally worth it. Felt so good to be home.
Miles driven - 4941 (from our house in Overland Park and back)
Hours in the car - 77 (during long drives of travel...not around town or throughout California)
Days away from home - 18
Some final thoughts:
Looking back, it was a gutsy adventure. 3 kids, 2 in diapers. Long, long drives. Over 2.5 weeks away from home and routine. On a budget.
I think we did really well overall and there isn't much I would change, other than the hotel stay instead of the cabin on our way home. Having Caroline there was such a treat....and a perk....she's like a second mother to the kids. The condo was incredibly accommodating and made our stay very comfortable. San Diego is such a wonderful vacation spot.....so much in the city alone and then fabulous theme parks nearby.
The children were fantastic in the car. I'm very encouraged for future road trips and I genuinely enjoyed the drives. Yes, there were frustrating moments. Yes, we got tired. But, I have not laughed as much as I did - like I did on this trip - in years. As a family, we grew closer and worked together to make it a success. Flying would have been less expensive, believe it or not, but we would have missed out on some key points of the adventure.
I know I'm in the minority when it comes to traveling with kids. I know most people suggest waiting on Disney until "they're at least 5 and can remember it". Don't agree. I went when I was 5 and don't remember much. In fact, I have just a few glimpses in my memory of any trip or significant event up until my teen years. So, I don't think we should wait until we're sure our children will have the details engraved in their heads. They never will. And, bringing them along is as much for us, as parents, as it is for the kids.
Blake and I will always sacrifice daily luxuries (that most families see as normal) for the sake of travel. I am a planner and I research for months before a trip. And, as annoying as my itineraries are (Blake!), they help so much - both in keeping kids happy and in saving money. I love to plan travel - as much as I love to travel where I'm planning.
And, finally.....a quote.....and something I kept reminding myself during this trek cross country.
"Do the thing you think you cannot do." Eleanor Roosevelt.
I love it. It encompasses so much of my thoughts on raising a family. Try....even the hard stuff.....show up and be present and take your kids with you when you're on the go.