Salt Lake City – Wrapping Up

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The wagon always mean we’re going somewhere fun

 

We ended the week back at the pool. The boys had a lot happen in just a few days, so a fun day at the pool was really needed.

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Someone got really big 

Saturday was a big day – little-dude turn one! We started at the pool where little-dude had fun and is getting more comfortable with the pool.

Then we went to a local thrift and scored big time! In addition to finding some great swim clothes for the boys we found this adorable basketball hoop. The boys wouldn’t stop playing with it in the store, got upset when we put it in the cart, and haven’t stopped playing with it since we got it home.

The following day both boys were sick. Mini-man was covered in bug bites and itching like crazy. Little-dude had a fever. Neither slept.

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Trains!

Luckily, with some help from the almighty Tylenol, they were pretty calm. This allowed Damon to run out and get some errands done. Later, we were even able to pick up a new train set for mini-man – which he dove into as soon as Damon brought it inside.

Despite another rough night, I knew we needed to get out, so we took the kids to the aquarium. Two hours of fish made mini-man very happy.

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Nothing better than fruit by the pool

Knowing we had just a few days left until we travel to Wyoming, Damon and I agreed that we needed to get the oil changes in the RV. So I took the boys to the pool while Damon drive the RV to the mechanic. Mini-man loved spending time in the water. Little-dude was still feeling the effects of teething and was content to just sit in my lap on a lounge chair. He even discovered blueberries and ate all the ones I brought (which was a pretty big container).

The next day hit a high of 97! So we did what any sensible parents would do – we took the kids to the aquarium. We stayed for hours and had a blast. Who knew that the best time to go would be late afternoon – hardly any kids and all the animals were very energetic.

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Definitely one of our favorite campgrounds – beautiful, pool, and close to transit

We had a lot to accomplish on our last day. Although our drive to Wyoming was relatively short, Google doesn’t take elevation into account – so we were worried that it would be a long drive and wanted to get an early start. To prepare for the drive, we started cleaning and packing things up. Fortunately, it’s an RV and didn’t take to long to pack everything up. Next stop – state #23 Wyoming.

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Salt Lake City – Continued

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Nothing quite gets a place clean faster than company coming

After a long day exploring Salt Lake City, I wanted nothing more than to sleep in. However, my in-laws were coming to visit, so I did what any daughter-in-law would do – clean! Thankfully, it’s an RV and I got the place looking pretty good in no time.

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Learning about creating islands at the aquarium

We decided to take them to the aquarium, knowing that the kids would have a great time with them there.

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Stopped him long enough for a picture (he looks so thrilled)

Being one of mini-mans favorite places, he basically went off on his own while I followed him. I think we saw each exhibit three or four times.

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He loves his new sish towel from Grandma Barb

At this point, we’d done a lot and the boys needed a down day. So we spent the next morning at the pool, swimming and playing with water toys.

Damon’s parents came over in the afternoon and we just hung out enjoying the outdoors. This could not have worked out better. The boys had so much fun with bubbles, chalk, water table and water beads, which gave them the perfect opportunity to bond with their grandparents.

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My clean room quickly destroyed by projects. At least little-dude was having fun

On their last day, Damon and Phil spent part of the day fixing things on the RV, while Sue and I played with the boys

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Three Generations

We ended the visit with a cook-out to enjoy the great weather.

Salt Lake City

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I’ve been looking forward to this stop since we started planning this leg of our journey. Why? Because it’s packed full of awesome things for is to do with the boys – two aquariums!, A children’s museum, parks, and a zoo!

As much as I wanted to hit the ground running, we were stopped by summer colds (and we were doing so well on the illness front). Luckily, we seem to get it at different times, so each of us had their bad day apart from everyone else.

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I love with the boys playroom

We did push ourselves a little in order to get food and some things for the playroom. We currently have a TV in the upper corner of the playroom, but it’s hard for the boys to see. So we’ve been on the hint for a smaller TV that we could mount lower. After scowering thrift stores, regular stores, and the internet, we found just what we were looking for on Salt Lake City? In fact, they’d just put out this TV as Damon was standing there!

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sish!

The days of errands and illness caught up with us and we needed to get the boys out. After a bit of a rough start, we managed to get the boys to the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium.

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Shark – wow

As soon as we put, mini-man knew where we were and wanted out of the car. We were definitely going way to slow for him.

We spent almost three hours walking around each exhibit several times and saw lots of fish, frogs, sharks, and many other animals. This place was the perfect mix of everything the kids are interested in at the moment.

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wis , juice (mini-man for swim and water)

When we got back, the boys were still energetic, so we tried to take them to the playground. Ha! That lasted less than a second as mini-man headed straight for the pool.

And somehow, after all that we managed to finish a lot of projects in the playroom. The new TV is mounted and hooked up to internet, the shoe rack is fixed, and the play cabinet knobs are secured. No wonder we were all tired by the end of the day.

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I love otters

After seeing the the following week brought temperatures in the 90s+(!), we decided to take advantage of the nice Saturday and visit the Hogle Zoo.

At first mini-man wasn’t into it. Then we saw the giraffes. Suddenly, he became very invested and started going from exhibit to exhibit, very excited. His favorite, by far, was the phephants 🐘

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I don’t think this guy has a lot of experience

Unfortunately, we had some problems getting to the zoo. The van was having some issues with the electrical system – sometimes it worked and sometimes the battery was dead or the car had very little power. After getting it checked out, we learned that we needed a new alternator. At least we could get it fixed fairly fast.

By Monday, we felt adventurous and decided to explore Salt Lake City. We took the trolley, conveniently located next to our campsite, and headed to Temple Square – home to the main temple for the Church of Latter-Day Saints.

This place was beautiful. Everyone was friendly and welcoming. It felt like a very calm place to worship.

Since there wasn’t much for the boys to do at the Temple, we moved on and went to the Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum.

This place was built for Damon – you could build, play pretend, and it had a lot of variety.

The boys had fun too – it was a great place for them to explore and get some energy out.

At this point, I was starving. Having walked around downtown in 100+ heat, I was in no mood to cook, so we went to the Cheesecake Factory.

Unfortunately, we didn’t know the trolley system that well, so we walked 15 minutes in the heat, only to learn that the trolley stopped right at the restaurant 🤦.

Fortunately, this lesson came in handy for the journey home, and the next day, when we went back for dinner.

We accomplished quite a bit in our first week in SLC, and we were just beginning.

Coos Bay, Oregon

Our original master plan was to get to Seattle, Washington by May, assuming that we’d have some warm, spring weather to accompany us along the way. Unfortunately, the weather this year has been quite unusual.

Luckily, we’re not on a tight schedule, so we decided to adjust a bit. Instead of running up to Seattle, we chose to slow down and spend some time near the beach in Oregon. Again, assuming that the weather would be nicer.

This decision resulted in a much shorter drive for us, from the Redwood Forest to Coos Bay, Oregon. We continued on the 101 and it’s still as twisty as ever – it’s not a lot of fun to have constant turns in an RV (similar to waves at sea).

One nice thing about short drives is you arrive at your site pretty early. As it was our only nice day during our stay, we went for a walk. The campground was beautiful and I could see it’d be very popular in the summer.

The rest of our trip involved cold, rainy weather. As an added bonus, our site was very dirty which created a lot of puddles and mud. So even when we got a dry day, our site was still wet.

We took advantage of our extra time and had our car fixed up (again). Luckily, the mechanic was in the downtown area of Coos Bay, which was very walkable and had lots of stores to visit. Our favorite was an adorable thrift shop that had a dedicated kids room. The boys loved playing and exploring – we walked away with quite a few new toys.

Afterwards we stopped by the local library, where the boys enjoyed pulling books off the shelf.

Once we got the car back, we headed to Walmart. Mini-man is currently fascinated with fish and now spends most of our time at Walmart at the fish tanks.

We spent the rest of our time trying to keep the boys entertained in the RV (which isn’t easy). This insipired a new project for us – turning the dining area into a play area for the kids. We realized we’ll never sit around the table until the boys are older. No sense in keeping something that we rarely use.

As soon as we donated the table and chairs, the boys were enjoying the new space. We even got an old DVD player and set it up to play Elmo’s World on repeat. It keeps mini-man entertained and gives us a bit of a break – win-win.

I’m looking forward to our next stop – South Beach, Oregon. It’s close to the beach, supposed to have nicer weather, and has some cute local attractions (like an aquarium!). Fingers crossed it fulfills our expectations.

The Redwood Forests

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The smell here was amazing. I love the smell of trees

After a rough day of traveling, we arrived at our beautiful RV park – situated in the middle of a Redwood forest. Unfortunately, the beauty is the best thing that I can say about this place. Part of the point of this place is to enjoy the outdoors. This was hard since it was rainy and cold for most of our stay, which made it difficult to enjoy the beauty of our site.

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Enjoying some outdoor time

Their website, and welcome packet, show that wifi and cable are included with your reservation. However, both items come from one basic account that is shared amongst all the sites. This means that the cable is fuzzy and the internet is slow – think dial-up from the 1990’s slow (in fact, I think dial-up may have been faster). And this was with the place only half-full – imagine this place in the summer when they full. I know that this isn’t why were are here, but we use the internet a lot for researching.

As the temperature dropped, we turned on our heaters which kept popping our breaker. This has never happened at other places, which led us to believe that our site either had a bad breaker or they weren’t giving us as much power as we had paid for.

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Score!

After several days, we traveled an hour to nearby Crescent City and we had the best day – shopping, cell service!, lunch, and other amenities that we love. While we were here, we found another RV park that had everything that our current RV park was missing and was only a couple dollars more a month. Sold.

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Little-dude having fun

That decision became even better when we get back. You just don’t realize how frustrated you are with something until you leave and come back to it.

As we left, we stopped by the office to get a refund on our bill – they forgot to apply our Good Sams discount. However, they say that once they charge us they can’t issue a refund. The best they could do was $15 off our next stay … ya, like were ever coming back here.

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bubbles

To be fair, this place was beautiful and great for a weekend getaway. But for a family like us, that needs to research what’s in a new place – internet is a must. And what annoys me is when a place offers a service and then technically offers it, but it doesn’t work. To me, that is not honorable.

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Headed to cell service!

Good riddance to this place. I am so happy to be heading to Crescent City.

Update: We learned that a package of ours was delivered to the local post office, so we went to pick it up. However, when we got there, the package was picked up by our old RV park. So we went to go get it. But they didn’t have it. Turns out someone from their camp was running errands, grabbed the mail and would be back with it at some point. Very professional.

The Road to the Redwood Forest – A Series of Hurdles

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This leg of our journey started as a comedy of hurdles – just as we cleared one, another one pops up, attempting to trip us up.

We start at 330a when mini-man decided to wake up to make noise, which woke up little-dude. They went back down around 7a. With a long drive ahead of us, Damon went to get some more sleep while I stayed up (hate not being able to go back to sleep). Hurdle #1 cleared!

Around 8 Damon was up, so he finished our prep to leave. Of course when we want to leave, can we can’t – the jacks wouldn’t lower due to low voltage (I guess this program is a girl since it doesn’t say what it means). According to the internet ( thank goodness it decided to work), it means that a breaker, somewhere under the couch had tripped (why are these important things hidden?).

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While Damon hunted for the breaker switch, I sat trapped under a sleeping baby freezing since we’d already unhooked and hadn’t turned on the main heater yet. After a bit of a search, the breaker was found and we could raise the jacks. Hurdle #2 cleared.

As we pulled out of our space, the downward hill caught Damon off guard and he stopped short, causing the van to hit the bumper. No damage (thank goodness). Sailed over that hurdle!

Now, were finally on the road and we lose cell service. Usually, I take this time to update our blog posts and catch up on our social channels. This becomes really hard to do when I have no cell service. So to help, Damon pulled over and hooked up our hard-drive to my tablet so I could at least watch something along our journey. Hurdle #4 no problem.

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Back on the road, we encountered our next hurdle – the 101 highway. This is a scenic highway that drives along the Pacific Ocean. While beautiful – it’s definitely not fun to drive with an RV. It also added an hour to our drive time. Amd, ok top of that, we had a lovely layer of fog to contend with. Hurdle #5 survived.

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After four hours, we pulled into Eureka for lunch and shopping. This was the first time in a week that we’d been close to any big shopping areas and really needed to restock. After grabbing some lunch, we headed to our favorite place – Walmart. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to tell a Super Walmart from a regular Walmart anymore and this one was the latter. This means that their grocery section is very small. I was not happy that we couldn’t get that much.

To solve this, we found a local grocery store and managed to get some more stuff. This is one of the harder aspects of being on the road – you can’t always get the items you are looking for (especially in smaller towns).

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At this point, we were all really tired. Little-dude was already asleep and mini-man was in desperate need of a nap. With about 45 minutes left to go, the boys and I all took a nap. Unfortunately, as soon as Damon pulled into the RV park, both boys woke up – and they were cranky.

I wish I could say that this was the end of our troubles, but as you will see in the next post, it was just the beginning.

Seeing Sequoia

California is known for many things, but one of the things I’ve always wanted to see, but never have, is their magnificent sequoia and redwood trees. This stop, I get to strike one of those off my list.

Our drive got off to a late start thanks to little-dude waking up at 3 a.m., then mini-man waking up at 5 a.m. Damon let me sleep while he played with the boys, which meant he got no sleep. Once I got up at 7 a.m., Damon went back to bed to get a couple hours of shut-eye. Fortunately, our previous day’s cleaning spree meant that we didn’t need to do too much to leave.

A few hours later, we were ready to go. Before we got too far, we stopped by the bank to get Damon’s debit card, which had been taken the day before for safe keeping. For some reason, though, the bank cut up his debit card. They said it was for our safety, since we’d lost it … even though they were our bank and they had it. Who’s gonna take it? One of your people? Oh well. At least I have my card, so we continued on.

We arrived out our campground by mid-afternoon, after a very bumpy ride (Hey California, how about making your roads a little less bumpy!?!). Due to the rain, we settled in for the night.

I wish! Between both boys I got no sleep. I managed to get a small nap, but you all know it doesn’t makeup for no sleep.

By the afternoon, we loaded up the kids into the car and headed for the Sequoia National Park. Even though it’s just a few miles from our campground, it’s 7000ft up!, which meant over an hour drive.

Luckily, the kids fell asleep and I could enjoy the beautiful scenery. Unfortunately, it didn’t last. Little-dude is going through a ‘I hate my car seat’ phase, which means he cries non-stop. Nothing seems to help him – I hope he gets used to it soon.

We’d almost made it to our destination, the Trail of 100 Giants, when we hit a road closure – snow had blocked our way. At least we learned this now and could try again.

After an hour drive back down the mountain, we headed for dinner. When we arrived, we stumbled upon a local Goodwill! Thinking we wouldn’t find anything, we went in for a quick look.

We. Were. Wrong! We found so much stuff here. Awesome 1980’s Sesame Street books, magnetic toys, a Connect Four, a mystery toy box, and a great GPS!

After the previous day’s long drive to a closed road, we learned our lesson and decided to ask before we drove anywhere. Turns out, the area we wanted to see was snowed in and not accessible by cars.

We did learn that there’s a Grove of trees about two hours away but the thought of spending one of our only nice days in the car didn’t sound appealing to me. Instead, we went to lunch.

There’s at least three

While we were out, we discovered a few thrift stores nearby, so we walked to them. While the Goodwill stop was a bust, we scored at b the .99 cent store – dozens of Lego Dimensions characters, candy, and some cascarones (which mini-man wanted to open in the store).

On the way home, we heard something hit/tumble across the roof of our car. We didn’t think much of it and kept going. 10 minutes later, Damon realized his phone was missing!

So we went turned around and went back to the place where we heard the sound. While Damon searched the side of the highway, I took a chance and called his phone. I heard it! I searched the car frantically but couldn’t find it. Once Damon got back to the car I told him I heard it and had him help in the search. He found it stuck in the roof rack on top of the car. Turns out, he left it on the roof of the car and it tumbled across when we sped up. Luckily, it got stuck and there was no damage.

Once we got home, it was still nice out, so we pulled our outdoor stuff and enjoyed the evening. Mini-man was thrilled to break his eggs (finally!).

The next day, we expected rain, so Damon played with the kids outside for a bit while I cleaned the playroom. Don’t know what happened to the rain, but glad the kids got to play.

Later, Damon and I did a major purge of the kids toys. We realized that a bucket and a hose kept their attention longer than most of their toys. So anything that was a one-hit-wonder (only kept their attention for a few minutes) got donated or stored for future use. Man, does the playroom look so much better.

Per usual, on our last day we get ready to leave. Unfortunately, when we pulled into this sure a few days ago, our living room side got stuck half-out for some reason. The motor engaged but the slide would barely move. Now that we need to leave, we had to figure out how to get the side back in.

Then I remembered that our auto-level jacks couldn’t finish due to slope of the site. Turns out, the slide twisted due to the unevenness of the site. Once we raised the jacks, the RV straighten and the slide started working! Score one for the wifey 😆

So now we say goodbye to Sequoia. I wish we could’ve seen more of the trees but weather has not been our friend lately. Hopefully we’ll have better luck in Yosemite.

Hooray for Hollywood – Visiting the Happiest Place on Earth

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Me at Disneyland in the late 80’s

Growing up in San Diego with a Disney loving father meant that my family visited Disneyland a lot. In fact, my parents got engaged at Disneyland! So it’s become pretty important to share these experiences with my kids. I have to admit, I was so excited the first time I took mini-man I forgot that I didn’t have a teenager, I had a baby – their abilities at a theme park are vastly different.

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Us at Disneyland in 2016, when we were still a family of three

I have taken these lessons and applied them to all of our outtings – take your time, have your must-do’s, be flexible, and relax! Since then, our adventures have been much more successful.

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My boys at the main entrance

Thanks to some wonderful family members, we were able to get some free tickets to Disneyland. After parking, the day was so nice we decided to walk from the parking garage to the park – something mini-man absolutely loved!

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Trains! (by the end mini-man was saying ‘toot toot’

After we got in the park, we attempted our first attraction – the Disneyland Railroad. Little-dude hadn’t been on any rides before and mini-man isn’t the biggest fan of riding anything. We thought that since mini-man liked trains, it was open-air, and slow, that he’d okay. At first, he wasn’t thrilled and tried to get off. But after riding for a bit, and playing with my purse, he calmed down. I was worried about the dinosaur section of the ride, but once it started mini-man just closed his eyes and waited for it to be over. I’d call that a success.

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Mini-man loved the stairs but hated the crowds

Next we took a stroll down Main Street U.S.A (one of my favorite things), and headed to the Mark Twain River Boat. We had a similar thought with this ride – it’s slow, outside, and you can see a lot of things. Mini-man loved climbing the stairs but didn’t like hanging out with other guests. Eventually, he and I found an empty bench to sit on while the journey finished. He was very excited to go back down the stairs.

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Coming soon to a galaxy near you!

Feeling bold with our two minor successes, we took mini-man and little-dude on Pirates of the Caribbean. Little-dude didn’t seem to notice, but mini-man did not like it. He started crying once we sat down on the boat. After that ride, we decided to relax and walk around for bit, making sure to visit some of the new Star Wars areas.

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Tea , anyone?

Once we made it to Fantasyland, we took one last chance and rode the tea cups. Little-dude loved the wheel in the middle of the cup while mini-man was not happy. But, by the end of the ride he went from ‘I hate this’ to ‘it’s not terrible’. Hey, I’ll take it.

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Mmmmm!

At this point we were all tired, so we started for the exit of the park. However, I cannot leave this place without a churro and a dole whip. Luckily, we found both fairly quickly and with very short lines. Mini-man wasn’t interested in my snacks, but little-dude could not get enough. I think he’s following in his mama’s food-lovin’ foot steps.

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All-in-all, it was a very successful, and fun, trip to Disneyland. I can’t wait to return many more times in the future.

Grand Canyon Adventures

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After being nearby for over a week, we finally made it to the Grand Canyon.

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Lots of stuff to play with

We stopped at the visitors center on the way in to see the Grand Canyon Imax movie. We tried to see it together but mini-man didn’t want to. Instead, we split up – one watched the movie while the other played with mini-man in the gift shop. We later learned that this wasn’t the official visitors center and that there was a free movie available inside the canyon.

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Our first stop was Mather point, one of the easiest, most accessible areas of the canyon. Since the boys just had naps, we were all able to visit this area. The scene was spectacular.

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We then got to do something special – drive Hermits Rest. Most of the time, this area is only accessible by bus. But during this time, we were able to drive to some of the prettiest spots on the canyon. At this point, it was late, so Damon hopped out at each stop to take some pictures while I stayed with the kids in the car.

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Some local residents

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Part II – Finally Exploring The Grand Canyon

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Kickin’ it on Route 66

Health – Check. Weather – Check. Things to explore – Double Check! After being in Williams for a week, we finally went to the Grand Canyon.

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Absolutely gorgeous (and hardly any people!)

“The Grand Canyon is too massive to be captured in a single photograph”, is an understatement. The canyon has several stops and multiple places to get a spectacular view that its not possible to see the whole thing in one stop.

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Williams, the small town where our RV park was located, was absolutely adorable.

The next day was beautiful weather, which gave us a chance to explore the small town of Williams – the last town on Route 66. The town is filled with cute shops, restaurants, and lots of Route 66 nastalgia – which I adored. It took some doing to get mini-man to walk with us but once we made it into the small town, he had a blast running around (so much so that he cried when we went back to the RV).

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Bearizona offered a lot of animals, including bears!

Sunday brought another day of beautiful weather, so we decided to check out a popular, local attraction – Bearizona. This drive-thru/walk-around zoo is home to hundreds of animals that you can get up-close and personal to.

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Choo choo!

Little-dude slept through most of the trip and mini-man didn’t want to get out of his stroller – until we got to the gift shop. Suddenly, he wanted to explore and wander on his own. Then we got to the center of the store, which had a model train. I swear, he sat there forever watching the train go round-and-round. Unfortunately, it was lunch time and we wanted to leave to get food. Mini-man was not on board and screamed all the way back to the car. I felt bad for him, so we went back to the store and let him watch for a little while longer. This time when we left, he was much calmer and fell asleep in the car on the way home.

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Since we skipped our trip to see snow in Denver, I’m glad we got to see some snow here

The next day brought more snow. But this time, it was constant snow, covering the whole campground in 3″ of snow! Before now, the only snow I’d seen on this trip was a light dusting. It was amazing to see the snow build up. It looked beautiful.

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Yup, I’m a Florida girl – lasted just a few minutes in the cold before I high-tailed it back inside

The downside to the cold has been out water and sewer hoses. Apparently we got the hoses that work only in warm weather. Once the snow came, we had two sewer hoses, a water hose, and our water filter break. Which meant that we had no running water for over a week. To compensate, we filled up a bucket of water for our daily needs.

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Finally got my tooth removed

The big day arrived and I finally got my tooth removed. Everything went well and I now have a big hole in the back of my mouth. Eating has certainly been fun.

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Snuggles help when your sick

Thanks to the cold weather, our mini-man caught a cold, which, naturally, I caught as well. So we spent the rest of the week bundled up, inside trying to get better.

By the weekend, we all felt better and had some nice weather, so we went to Flagstaff for some shopping. This meant that mini-man actually went outside and walked in the snow! I was thrilled, him – not so much. Oh well, at least he tried it.

Mama’s breakfast is nummy

As my next dentist appointment neared, we made plans to move onto California. Unfortunately, my mouth hadn’t healed as well as he liked and wanted to wait another week to remove the stitches. Luckily, my former dentist is in Glendale, where we will be next week, and my current dentist agreed to have him take them out.

On the road again (finally!)

Success!! We can finally get back on the road. California, here we come!