OKC Memorial

June 14, 1018

First stop: Oklahoma City National Memorial.

I found a few more pictures of the OKC National Memorial. My favorite part was listening to a recording of the bombing as heard from across the street at a court hearing. I wish I had a shot of the outdoor memorial but here’s a shot from the memorial’s website:

Image result for OKC memorial outdoor

Learn about the victims here.

Tickets: $15/$12 and free for 5 and under

Cost: $68

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Life on the Road

By the time we got to New Mexico the family had the art of packing the van down to a T. Everything had its own spot and went into the van a certain way. Things we needed on a nightly basis were on top. Food for lunch was in a specific spot. Even our suitcases were packed according to cold and hot weather outfits. Each person had a certain item(s) that was their responsibility. Haley was always in charge of pillows and charging cords, Ryan knew to get a big suitcase and toiletry bag of meds and bathroom supplies. Chris got the journal and our other big suitcase. Carter got his suitcase, and I grabbed whatever was left. Sometimes that was food or drinks or electronics, and sometimes I was checking the family in to a hotel while the others unpacked. 

The kids watched a lot of videos.

We listened to books 1-6 of Harry Potter. 

In 4 weeks, we ate over 10 loaves of bread, 3 squeezable grape jellies, 2 giant jars of peanut butter, and several bags of the variety chips.

The car was cranked for 170 hours.

7,800 miles were driven.

We drove through 17 states.

We saw license plates for every state except Hawaii.

We were gone for 31 days.

Happy reading,

J

Been a Minute

We got back home from our trip on July 15 and Chris and I both went back to work on July 16. We had hardly any Internet service while we were gone so it was hard to keep up with posting. It was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime trip that I hope to take again in 2020.

I have been super busy with a new job that I love but it leaves me little time to add pictures and write. Plus we have had a busy school year (band practice and competitions, cross country practices and meets, church activities, flag football, high school football games, basketball, and we build tables). I have been asked a lot lately about our trip and money and where are we going next.

I am going to try and finish our trip details and answer some questions about the trip plus a few things about money. I have given myself a goal of Dec. 31. I have finally uploaded all of my pictures and am ready to go!

get ready,

j

Las Vegas

LV was hot. It was 115 degrees. We were there one night and everyone was glad to go. Ryan said even the wind was hot. We stayed at Cancun Resort and got there early to swim. I booked this hotel on Expedia because it had a huge pool and water slides and was family friendly.

Pic from Yelp

Plus the room was two bedroom, kitchen, & living room with a pull out and it was cheap! We played for a bit in the pool then got showered and ready for Tournament of Kings at the Excalibur Hotel.

The kids gave their approval on the hotel, Excalibur food (even picky Ryan) and the pool’s waterslides.

Excalibur Hotel where TOK is located

The tournament was an hour long and three courses (tomato soup, Cornish hen, and apple dumpling) that you eat without any utensils. The kids loved the horses, tournament games (jostling, races, etc.) and the loud bangs of cannons and fire tricks. When you buy your tickets you pick a section to sit in that determines which king you root for during the games. We yelled for the Russian king and King Arthur & Prince Christopher and booed for the bad guy. Everyone says they want to go back to a place like it.

Huzzah!

J

Here’s a video of our little cabin.

Well maybe not…

These little cabins were so cute! Chris loved the rustic feel and the village here isn’t as chaotic as the south rim. It was a hotel room just in mini cabin form! We found a pizza place with the best cheese next to the lodge and they had some pretty good coffee the next morning. We did stick to our picnics though.

Oh southerners, it’s been a shock to us that a lot of places have heat but NO AIR!! We didn’t have air in this cabin but we brought a little fan to use and opened the windows. It felt really nice. Stuffy at first but it was cool in the morning.

North Rim > South Rim,

J

We went to the South rim in 2002 so this was our first time to the North rim. We firmly believe the North is way better to visit. Why?

1. Less people! We went on a canyon hike and only ran across a few people. At the major viewpoints you could actually get a picture without other people in the picture.

2. Views! We both thought the views were more spectacular and you could see the Colorado River at several points. We learned the North rim is 1,000 feet higher which contributes to seeing more. The best view was Angel’s Window.

3. The South rim is definitely more accessible but the North rim gives a prettier drive in through the Kaibab Forest and has a secluded feeling. This may be because only 10% of visitors visit the North rim.

4. The South rim has more lodging options but the feel of the and North rim’s village was very homelike, less chaotic and more rustic. There were little chipmunks and squirrels running around and we enjoying sitting in our rocking chairs watching them. Here’s the little cabin we stayed in. I had to book it a year ago!

More about our trip:

When we went to the South rim all I wanted to do was ride a mule to the bottom. We found out the rides are booked a year in advance. The North rim is open only during summer months so the trail ride option didn’t open until January. As soon as it came open I booked us a ride along the rim and through the Kaibab forest with Canyon Rides. We couldn’t ride into the canyon because of Carter’s age. Luckily they had this option for younger kids. It was Carter and Haley’s first time riding and the trail guys were wonderful. One guy rode beside Haley until she felt comfortable. About half way through the ride she had him let go and ride herself. The mules were very surefooted and well-trained. They gave Carter a slow horse and every time I looked around at him he was kicking his side trying to make him go faster. Ryan’s horse was in front of me and farted continuously. He and I kept laughing the whole hour.

Obligatory picnic picture

Trail along an inner canyon

North rim rules,

J

Monument Valley

Chris and his dad have a love of John Wayne movies. They have passed this love of westerns on to Carter. We were very close to Monument Valley where many westerns were filmed. It is managed by the Navajo Indian reservation. It was $20 to enter the site. There was a nice visitor’s center then you followed a very bumpy road to see the named monuments. The road was a 16 mile loop. We went only partway because the road was so bumpy but we saw the majority of the valley.

Behind you can see the road way below. It took you down and back to the right around a Mesa. Then you came back up this road to the top and out again. It just amazes us that people lived out here in the desert. There aren’t any trees and everywhere is brown. The kids saw their first tumbleweed rolling across the road and Carter looked for jack-o-lopes.

These are just off my phone. I have some better ones on my camera.

Here’s to the Duke,

J

We surprised Haley by taking a detour to Four Corners Monument. She had been asking, ” Where is the place where you can stand in four states at one time?”

Four Corners!! The monument is located in Navajo Nation. It really is in the middle of nowhere right smack in the desert. It was hot and dusty and a big difference from Mesa Verde! There was a line to take your picture on the marker but it wasn’t too long. We quickly snapped our picture standing on four states at one time. Native American artisans were set up (in a market place type setting) all around to sell their artwork. We spent a lot of money there! Carter ended up with an arrow and arrowhead necklace. I bought two copper rings and Haley got a bracelet, and hair clip.

We also tried fry bread and Navajo tacos at Grandmas Fry Shack.

It was a nice detour and got us out of the car a bit. Next stop…Monument Valley!

Standing in Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and & Colorado at one time,

J

The road was so curvy on the way up so I drove. I get carsick easily and Chris tends to take curves sharply.

Hope you enjoy Haley’s video!

J + H

There’s one way in to Mesa Verde: uphill to 7,000-8,500 feet in elevation.

We stayed for two nights in the lodge on top of the Mesa. It was small but pretty with a great view. Ryan had to sleep in sleeping bag but he knew that would happen sometimes. (First two pictures from TripAdvisor.)

It was cool up on the Mesa and the end of the Hurricane came over Colorado so we ended up in long sleeves, long pants, & rain jackets. We picked a hike down into the canyon. As we neared the trailhead Ryan decided he wanted us to do the Petroglyph Trail. We had no knowledge of how long this trail was or where it went but off we headed.

We ended up hiking about 3 miles along the bottom of the canyon and canyon wall. If you go down you must come up. The trail toward the end was very steep. The view at the top was amazing.

We booked a one hour tour of the Balcony House, a cliff dwelling made by the Pueblo people. We had to descend the cliff using man made steps. The Indians had climbed using hand and foot holes they made into the rocks. The only way out was a 12 foot long tunnel eighteen inches wide. We climbed a 60 foot open face rock with two large wooden ladders to exit the site. I’m deathly afraid of heights so I never looked down and that’s why I’m not I any of the edge pictures. My family freaks me out dangling over the edge.

It’s amazing how these people built into the cliffs to be near water. If there ever was a zombie apocalypse this is where I’ll go!

I would live here,

J

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