Sunday, January 12, 2014

Dillon, CO our last full day of vacation

As I said in the last post, it was dark and late when we arrived.  However, we woke up to a beautiful sight:

Our hotel was across the street from a gorgeous lake.

The town had a really cool park (since the water was waaaay too cold to swim in!) that kept the girls busy so Chad could do some homework in the room in peace and quiet.

We spent most of the day in Dillon. We picked up some roasted chicken and potatoes and had a picnic on the beach.  I think we could have spent a week here! In the mid-afternoon we left for home. 

A few things about our drive home: 
1)  Miss Baby had another emergency bathroom stop and this time was not blessed with a port-o-potty from Heaven. 
2)  We tried out another Denny's in Nebraska for dinner and had an unfortunate experience that ended up with a free dinner for us.  Kudo's to the young manager who valued customer service and took responsibilty for his inept staff.  That experience put us home 2 hours later than we had hoped but we made it home in the middle of the night (3 or 4ish maybe?  I seemed to have blocked that from my memory, ha ha.) 
3)  This was a FANTASTIC road trip and as we were nearing home we were already planning our next one for summer of 2014. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Arches (not of the golden fast food variety that we usually see)

After bidding the Grand Canyon farewell.  (with many backward glances) We drove on to Arches National Park. 

Since it was summer, the season of road construction, the road we drove through Utah was mostly two lane with no shoulders. 

In a particularly unpopulated stretch Miss Baby announced she needed to use the bathroom.  NOW.  Or more like 5 miles ago.  As moms we can gauge how desperate the situation is and I assure you this mom's radar was reading "beyond desperate, must stop immediately or clean up procedures will need to be activated."

Telling Chad we had to pull over "right now."  He asked me to look around and give him a suggestion as to where that could happen.  Hmmm, I see his point.  No shoulder on either side with construction markers keeping us in our one lane.  So he drove on and at the first intersecting gravel road he turned onto it and pulled over. 

A light shone down from Heaven and angels sang...

Yes, seriously.  A port-a-potty all fresh and clean (really, it was).  We proclaimed Miss Baby to lead a charmed life (at least in that moment).   Back on the road without any lessons in the art of "squatting."  Phew.

The Arches were very cool and well worth the stop.  Things to note:  We got there in the heat of the day (104 degrees) and after one short hike to see an arch from a distance and the kids were pretty much done. 
"Look girls, waaay in the distance, see the arch? Yep that's what you just hiked up here in the blazing sun to see"

A close up of the arch we were looking at, called the Delicate Arch and is the most famous of all the arches in the park.  Another side note:  my camera could not capture the true "redness" of the rocks surrounding us, bummer!  It was so pretty against the blue sky.
Taking a little breather.  A little red-faced!

A very nice man took our family picture, despite just getting done with the same hike we did and he was equally red-faced and sweaty!  Thanks man!
These two took one more hike with their mom while Chad waited back in the AC of the van with the two other girls who were overheated from the first hike. (side note: he would have LOVED to have taken the hike but allowed me to go instead, what a guy!)

On top of the world! :)
 After spending a couple hours here (and only seeing about a quarter of the park) we had to keep moving if we were going to make it to our hotel reservation for the night in Dillon, CO.

Onward and upward! But what a beautiful drive into the Rockies.  We were wishing we had daylight the whole way but by the time we got to Vail, CO it was dark.  A little further east was our destination and we crashed once we got to our hotel. 

Next up:  a day in the Rockies and our last day of vacation.  sigh....

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Life is GRAND at the Grand Canyon

The trip home from Phoenix included some more sight seeing.  Shocking, I know.

With a brand new AC unit in our van we left after lunch and headed to the Grand Canyon. 


Upon first sight it literally took my breath away.  Truly awesome and no picture or words can ever capture it.  It is an image that has etched itself in my mind (and I hope my kids' too!) that I pray I never forget. 

We took A LOT of pictures and not a single one comes close to portraying this amazing sight.  SO I will share a couple of my faves of the family and kids and call it a day ;)

Yes, we put a "leash" on Miss Baby (don't judge).  No guard rails in most areas made us a little nervous that our rambunctious 3 year old might slip over the edge.  She thought the monkey "backpack" was pretty cool and wore it willingly and gave us a little peace of mind.
Riding the shuttle between stops on the trail around the rim.  Amazing how many different languages we heard people speaking around us.

Walking back to our room, everyone was pretty tired, miss baby even fell asleep on the last stretch of the shuttle ride so Chad got the lucky job of carrying her back. 
Our room in one of the lodges.  Pretty basic but it was clean and it was nice to stay right in the park. 
 We went to back into the nearest town for dinner and saw an elk on the way out of the park.  Then it was early to bed.  A long day of travel was the plan for the next day and we wanted to get an early start.  The room didn't have AC and we figured it would cool down quickly once the sun went down.  We were wrong.  It was hot and stuffy with our family of 6 packed into a little space.  Not much sleep, but it motivated us to get going right away in the morning. 

We stopped along the rim on the way out again before heading back through the Navajo Reservation to Utah. 

I LOVE this shot of the eldest taking a selfie, ha ha.
Parting shots of the Canyon.  What a beautiful morning!
Praise God whose magnificent creation causes us to stop in wonder and awe at His almighty power.