Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Drive Home

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.

Got uglier.

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.

Some numbers:

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.


Shannon said...

Ohhhhhhh....so much word on THAT. PREACH.

(Taking my kids to Costa Rica for a month next summer!)

The Jones Family said...

Love it! SO true and what an awesome adventure.

Carrie Darney said...

What an awesome post...you are an inspiration!

I may take Hagen to Target for the BIG grocery shopping as a start...I'll let you know how it goes!

donatelli98 said...

Awesome recap Casey! Even though I gave you a hard time I really just envy your ability to put something like this together and have the patience to go through with it! We took Chatty to DisneyWorld at 2.5 and it was such a great experience for her - completely agree with you!

Heather said...

I have enjoyed all of your posts about this vacay. I rolled through all your posts for Derek last night - to show him how much fun it looked.

I have heard over and over again that family car/driving vacations are one of the best things you can do for your kids and family. And those are the things the kids will remember someday!

FROGGITY! said...

ok, i am still loving the la jolla surf pics below.

HAHAHAHAHAH to your hubby in pic #1, and the pic of the tears is priceless.

what a great journey you all have been on! you will always hold dear to those memories! thanks so much for sharing and allowing us to live vicariously!! loved it!

Live.Love.Eat said...

Wow, great shots. Brings back great memories of going cross country when I was 23 with an ex. Grand Canyon was amazing. And I will never forget that's when my fear of outhouses or porta pottys with holes in the ground began. I I had a nightmare I fell into one of those holes. And did you see a lot of missing children's sheets. So sad!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ok, let's get back to the good stuff!

Dee Stephens said...

LOVE..LOVE..this post! Fabulous pix of the Grand Canyon and what a great mother you are!

The Lenzers said...

First, i vote kitty on the sign. Second, love the bangs. I am so glad you had a wonderful trip. And you are right, adventures are as much for the parents as for the kids. They may not remember when they are older but they learned something, be it about the sea life or the love of family...they will have something from this trip forever. And one of my new favorite quotes, just heard it at church on Sunday....a vision without a plan is just fantasy. You always have the plan....good for you!!

Kelley Loredo said...

Awesome pics - have loved reading about your trip. Am glad you had fun!

aunt caroline said...

So glad you didn't cut your hair. It looks great! Great last post! Kinda wish I made it to the Grand Canyon, too. It's so pretty!

Malinda said...

Great post, great pics and great fun. Maybe I will hire you to plan my next trip! I only have one child so it should be a breeze for you.

Glad you had a great time. Your kids may not always remember it, but you have all the great photos to look through when they are older to remind them of all the fun.

The Rand's said...

your next job--travel agent! perfect! and you can plan all of our trips! :)
glad you guys had so much fun! i love traveling with my kids! and am so thankful to be able to do it!

Clare said...

Your exctly right, the trip was great for them right now even if they don't remember it (or much of it) later in life. They have pictures and stories, that will keep the memories alive for them.
I love the bangs but won't vote against the "mommy" cut, b/c I love mine.
Blake in the first picture cracked me up.
Sounds like you have great travelers, I hope I can say the same someday but for now Fiona hates the carseat going 10 minutes to the store.

Coco said...

Great post Casey! And an awesome recap!! You are sooo brave and a little crazy, which makes for an amazing mother.

Loved your boobies in the GC pics. I think Blake did too, he looks a little stoned in all those.

I did Sea World last week, and that was enough for me for a year!

The Soladay Family said...

What a great post...memories for a lifetime!

Carrie Darney said...

I think my favorite picture is the one of Jack smiling, LC crying, and Carter comforting. So cute! Also LOVE your new decorations! (OK, so not sure what to call all the decorations on the blog...the wallpaper, etc.) AND LOVE the family picture!

I am trying to get in more picutres. It looks like Hagen has a single dad as parents and no Mom...I would like him to know that I raised him too...

5 Boys And Me said...

Have loved all of your daily posts and pictures - what an amazing, amazing trip! And I LOVE your bangs - just might inspire me to have them cut - I've thought about it a ton lately - have not had bangs in probably 12 years....scary!

Scary Mommy said...

That picture of them with the rocks in the distance made my heart jump--- it looks like they could just tumble off! And, you know I loved the tantrum ones. LOL! Great pics. :)