Chanda’s Old School Roadtrip
What’s Up Wednesday
OH MY GOODNESS! I just sorted through about 400 pictures from my family trip this July. How did that happen? I knew I had a bit of the case of “shutterbug,” but golly! That was obsessive.
With my trip being so seriously old school, I feel like I need to dim the lights and run you through my slide show. Hahaha, would that not be great!?! A glass of vino in hand and me yammering on and on as the shutter clicks through a myriad of random images that I seem ecstatic about, while you stifle uncontrollable yawns.
Ooops, too cynical? Never. This is a just another blog and a little insight into my crazies. So, pour a glass and scroll if you like. I promise to not show you 400 pictures. Promise!
First Stop….The Car
Traveling with three kids in a sedan for any significant length of time can get a bit tricky. Thank goodness we are WAY past the toddler years, when travel meant lugging around multiple car seats, strollers, pack n’ plays, walkers, portable high chairs and other such crazy baggage. It was hard enough to squeeze in clothing & toiletries with the tent, sleeping bags, cooking gear, and the like. Sean and I literally felt like crazy people determining what qualified as a necessity and what got left on the garage floor.
All packed in nice and tight, we were ready for 8-9 hours of driving. Since we were headed on an old school road trip, we kept things seriously old school with no electronics to entertain our backseat lot. Nope, this was going to be a time for connecting and tolerating, gosh darn it!
Second Stop Kingman, AZ
Whoops. Not a gorgeous town, but it was a great halfway point to make camp on our way to Colorado.
The kids were so dang cute as they stepped in and helped around camp. However, my favorite was waking in the morning to see all three of my cutie patooties all snuggled up in the morning sunlight.
(Note that no one is in a sleeping bag? That is what happens when you are camping in 100F weather! Yuck!)
We did a lot of swimming to keep things cool. Fantastic summer memories!
“No pictures please!”
Goodness, being a teen is a rough business! LOL
Stop Three, Route 66
Honestly, I think my kids were way more intrigued by the fame that Disney gave this historic route in the movie Cars.
Regardless, it was super cool to visit the old stops along the way, and take in the biker culture that is alive and well on Route 66. This is not about getting from point A to point B as quick as possible. It is about slowing down and enjoying the ride.
Stop Four, A Ghost Town
Ok, this was when things got weird. Introducing Oatman….A Living Ghost Town. Say what? Yep, embrace the oxymoron!
“Wild” burrows roamed the streets, while this supposed ghost town was filled with many selling their wares. Ummm, fanny pack anyone?
We were even treated to the daily dual.
LOL, I kind of loved how freaked out my kids were by the mine entrance in Oatman. I guess it was due to a mannequin corpse that was just past the door. Gotta love the local color!
Stop Five, Grand Canyon Caves
It does not get much more old school than this!
At lunch we had seen the largest pair of Levi’s hung up on the wall. They must have belonged to the dude who rode this dinosaur saddle.
The size of the caves was pretty crazy…after going down many stories in an elevator, we came out to a cavern large enough to fit several football fields.
Apparently, our government stores many necessary sundries down there in case of emergency. Yummy…crackers that are like 50 years old.
The best was this “hotel” room that you see right below. Apparently people have gotten married down here, and this is wedding night central. Could you imagine? Yikes!!
Stop Six, The Grand Canyon
Finally, we made it to the Grand Canyon. I was kind of shocked when my hubby started to cry. It was his first time seeing this massive natural wonder. Yep, I outed him!
Stop Seven: Colorado
I was like a kid in the candy store when I began to see the terrain along the highway change.
Our campground was the bomb! Since things went from wet to worse, we decided to upgrade the tent situation to a cabin. Best decision the whole trip!
I was kind of in love with our view. The absolute best way to say goodnight to the day and good morning to the sun!
And the kids loved the movie nights alfresco. Bring on the hot chocolate!
Stop Eight: Durango, CO
One of my first stops in town was to swing by The Jakway House. It was built by my great-great granddad, and my great granddad was raised here. I loved getting a chance to show this place to my kids. When I was 13, my parents had helped save it by aiding in having it registered as an historical landmark.
Next up was the train station that my great-great granddad took a train out of everyday for work. The Durango Silverton steam engine. So cool.
Stop Nine: Rafting the Animas
Ummmm, water and my iphone DO NOT mix. But, this was one of my favorite memories! I particularly loved watching my little girl get all warrior-like in the raft. She is fierce y’all!!
In true Brownie fashion, we celebrated with a hike. But not just any hike! A truly epic hike that rewarded us with natural hot springs, and gave us the excitement of crazy thunder on the way back up the mountain. So cool! Haha, the best part was watching my kids’ faces when I told them that these hot springs were “clothing optional.” Oh boy were they freaked!
After some much needed bathing, we followed up with dinner and a show at the historic Strater Hotel.
I still hear Evie’s voice whispering, “Mommy, why are all the waitresses so pretty?” Ummmm, can you say corset?
The melodrama, Guitar Strings, A Cowboy and a Lost Peacock, was such a fun way to celebrate my 7 year old turning 8!
Last But Not Least: Mesa Verde
This was a definite highlight.
As a teenager, this place blew my mind. I was so excited to share it with my kids.
Mesa Verde has over 100 cliff dwellings located throughout the canyon. The ancient Pueblos had carved footholds in the sandstone to climb from the tops of mesas where they farmed, down to their homes that were safe from invasion and extremely protected from the elements. Drinking water that was filtered through the sandstone into little pools at the back of their cliff dwellings, the Puebloans had everything they needed for survival.
It was so cool to see my kids soak this experience up!
Their highlight was climbing a 32 foot ladder up to Balcony House.
Hubby had some fun with the kids, pretending to be stuck as he made his way through the entrance. Can you believe the stature of the ancient Puebloans. No basketball players for sure!
My little 6 foot giant had to do A LOT of ducking.
The kids were totally enthralled with Kivas (like this below…used for ceremonial and community purposes) and chinking stones. They loved learning new history and watching it come alive as they waked the ruins of these ancient people.
Finally, Homeward Bound
Yes, we had our backseat drama and our bitter fights…but moments like these made me so thankful that I forced my kids into a tight space and encouraged them to tolerate and love eachother. Sometimes I wanted to run from the car screaming, but a lot of the time, they surprised me as they created stories together, played together and just plain practiced the art of family.
Hahaha and feeling a little homesick, we did the unthinkable. We did the 14+ hour drive home. We got a little batty more than once on the ride.
But, it was so worth it to get back to our own beds.
And then……there was the laundry!