Friday, June 15, 2012

# kids

Road Trip Recap

So I know that many people dread getting in the car for days at a time with kids and think we are crazy to take the toddler and six year old on these long trips. My inlaws joked that they didn't think we would ever make it to Arizona because of the car ride but we did and had an incredible time.

One of the mottos we love to live by is "Life is about the Journey and not the Destination", so as we go on these roads trip, we enjoy the journey that we are on. We saw some incredible things and well have decided that this road trip will be another one we will be taking and adding on lots of great pitstops as well.

We started our journey here in Houston and drove west on I-10 towards San Antonio where we made our fist pitstop at Buc-ee's. If you are from Texas or have driven through, you know Buc-ee's and yes it is a gas station but it has to be the biggest and nicest one we have ever seen. The bathrooms are amazing and well the selections of treats and foods are great. This is no ordinary place for gas station food. You know when you see Buc-ee's that you are close to San Antonio. We spent about 45 minutes at Buc-ee's looking around, buying large amounts of beef jerky and candy, and eating a nice dinner.

Soon we were off again towards what was going to be our final destination for the night, Sonora, Texas. We stopped at a nice motel which had a great free homemade breakfast. As we were talking to the waitress in the little restaurant, she told us to make sure we get gas and potty breaks because there is nothing to little as we travel to El Paso. She was right but we did find a bathroom( a very nice and clean one) in the middle of nowhere after we got off to take some pictures.

A picture of a cross in an old cemetery

We stopped to take some photos in a very scenic area and an old cemetery where graves were from the turn of the century. It also had a small Veteran's memorial. It was interesting to see history first hand. We continued on towards El Paso to see for miles and miles the wind farms of texas. The large windmills turned in the Texas winds for miles and miles a log the highway. 

We finally reached El Paso and I had seen for miles and miles a sign for the El Paso Saddleblanket Co.  which was one of the neatest and uniquest stores we had ever seen. They had all sorts of Texas and Mexican products. We must have looked for about an hour and our only purchase was a little sombrero for the dog (yes we bought a hat for the dog). The people were so friendly there and we really enjoyed the visit. 

We headed back off after a quick stop at McDonald's which we ate a lot of on our trip. We headed through New Mexico which was flat and pretty uneventful. All the time, Miss O kept asking when we would be in Arizona and finally at 5pm we crossed into Arizona headed for our final stop of the night- Benson, Arizona. 

The landscape of Arizona was so different and we drove though what could easily be described as a filed of rock bubbles. When we finally hit Benson, we were tired and hungry. The rest of our traveling party was already in Benson, awaiting us and as soon as we pulled in, Nana and Papa were there to greet us. The kids couldn't get out of the car fast enough. We unpacked and headed into the Desert Rose Inn. We enjoyed a quiet evening in with the grandparents and yes I got a great night's sleep because the kids bunked with Nana and Papa (it was a nice change after i had been puked on the night before).

We all awoke early in Arizona because we were still on Houston time, so I went walking at 5:30 am around the hotel and enjoyed the cooler and no humidity weather of Arizona. We got up and ventured to Kartchner Caves  which was an amazing tour like we have never seen. We went deep into the cave to see so many wondrous things. It was amazing to hear that two explorers ventured in not knowing what they would find. Yes we were all a little scared but it was well worth it and we highly suggest seeing it if you are in the area. 

We than headed back towards Phoenix which was going to be our stop for the evening but first we lunched at some place I have been wanting to try In-n-Out Burger. It was a great burger and likely one of the best fast food burgers I think I have had in along time. We had our burgers and fries "Animal Style" which well is something you have to try.  

We made our final stop in Surprise which is a sub of Phoenix at the in-laws future retirement home. We enjoyed a quiet night with their friends and were all beat by about 9 pm (still on Houston time). The next day we ventured to Culver's which Phoenix has but yet Houston has one like an hour away from us. We also took a swim in Surprise's wonderful community pool. We headed out that night to downtown Phoenix and to the in-laws downtown condo for a D-Back game. It was fun game filled with a bunch of junk food. It was so nice that the stadium had 1.50 hot dogs and sodas. Perfect for the kids but yet no stadium sauce. 

The hubby and I ventured out after the game and wandered bait around the downtown area. We finally came back about 10:30 to crawl into bed and again I was up early and did my walk around the area. After we packed up and had a yummy breakfast, we were off to Sedona. The boys in one car and the girls in another. My mother in law and I headed up to Prescott Valley to pick up m quilted quilt and make a stop at he grocery store. 

We arrived in Sedona and were awed by the beauty all around. It had been 12 years since I had been there and Matt about 10. The kids were amazed by the huge red rocks. We did a quick drive around the area and looked at Bell Rock as well at the other amazing sites. 

Sedona Bell Rock

We took it easy again that night and the next day was one for the books. Matt and I hiked around Bell Rock early in the morning and what a great site. I would LOVE to be able to walk that every day (Newport isn't as interesting).  We than headed to Cottonwood for a an incredible train ride trough the Verde Canyon. The train had outside cars well where you could stand out there to get a better view. The kids loved the train and of course were decked out in their train gear. 

Mr. L with Papa

Miss O with Nana

After the train ride, we went over to the Blazing M Ranch for a chuck wagon dinner and show filled with lots of great music. The ranch had a small town around it and the kids got to ride on a play horse, rope, and take some pictures in those funny cutouts. Miss O though didn't like the end of the show because the Ghost Rider in the Sky song scared her but I loved it. I did convince her to take a picture with the Ghost Rider.

Thursday we just ventured around Sedona looking at the shops and sites. The kids feel asleep on us so we took them back and then tried some of the yummy brews at the micro brewery there. We also spent way to much time in a very unique store and yes we did experience a "vortex" which Sedona is famous for. I personally felt hot because the sun was shining down on me!

We headed out Friday to return to Texas. We decided to go a different way and went up towards Flagstaff and traveled on the switchbacks. Really glad Miss O feel asleep while we were on there because she would have freaked being so high up. We stopped and took some pictures at the top and headed out towards New Mexico. 

Standing on the Corner in Winslow, Arizona

As we drove, my husband saw signs for Winslow, Arizona and insisted we stop there. We found a corner and yes he stood on it.  We saw the historic Route 66 and it dawned on us that this area is what inspired "Cars" so with a recommendation from my father in law we went another 30 minutes to Holbrook, Arizona where we stopped at the famous Wigwam Motel. We so want to stay there next time in the area.  
Am I am Wigwam or Teepee?
I guess I am just two tents to know!

We stopped for the night in Clovis, New Mexico and than headed into Texas for a LONG drive. We went through Lubbock, Brenham, and lots of little towns that I so want to travel back to. This road trip gave us lots of great ideas for future road trips. Plus the kids were great. The last day of driving, we didn't once use the DVD player but instead we talked, played games, and enjoyed the scenery. It is amazing how awesome it can be being together. 

We did have a few bumps like the hubbie leaving the diaper bag at our first motel stop and yes we got it back or trying to desperately find a bathroom in the middle of nowhere-success there! I love being with the family and can't what for the next road trip in July!

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