Saturday, June 25, 2016

New Mexico Day 2

It's nice to have all these family photos on this trip!
This morning we had pancakes in the RV and got everything cleaned up. We wanted to get an early start and see what little we could see in our brief time in Mesa Verde. We drove out the first loop to see a few ruins before our tour at Balcony House. He made a couple of stops at overlooks and walked around a small area with Coyote House and a few other ruins. The boys really liked this stop because you were allowed to enter Coyote House, one of the few you can enter at the whole park.
Seth liked finding all the fire pits.
Mark really liked how much you could explore in Coyote House.
The boys loved peeking up at me in this ruin.
This is a reservoir that is HUGE! Dax and Seth wanted to walk all the way around it.
Square Tower is always a favorite. 
Riding in the back of the truck was a huge privilege.
We spotted a bunch of ruins at this stop. The boys were super excited.
We made it out to Balcony House just before the tour started and Mom, Dad, Mark, and Dax made the trip. Seth stayed with Laurie and Glen and checked out the museum at Spruce House. Balcony House was pretty exciting for the boys because there is a small tunnel and two huge ladders, as well as a balcony. They weren’t a bit scared, and we all felt bad between chuckles for the two people on our tour with serious fear of heights. Our guide was really good today and we learned a lot. It was fun to do this tour, and we can’t wait to come back in a few years and do it with Seth.
Dax and Mark were excited to visit Balcony House.
Balcony house has some amazing ruins to see.
They loved crawling through the tunnel.
The ladders are a lot of fun to climb.
After the tour we looked at Spruce House, which is a favorite, but it is currently closed due to falling rock. Then we drove out the second loop. They recently closed the shuttle on the second loop, so I’m not sure why people even go out there. We did Step House and left Laurie and Glen in the truck. Then we made the long drive back to the entrance where the boys became Junior Rangers.
Seth loved finding these huge seeds.
He also loved climbing the ladders. 
He would climb, then run back to the ladder, and do it all over again.
We had to hurry to drive to Durango for our chuckwagon tonight, so we couldn’t stop when Mom thought she saw a fox, or maybe a coyote. It’s difficult to see anything in the motorhome, and it would be impossible to turn around if you actually spotted anything. We were surprised at how beautiful Durango is, though. It reminded us of Jackson or Park City, a nice little resort town nestled high in the mountains. We got checked into the campground and made it to Bar D Chuckwagon when it opened at 5:30. The grounds are fun. They have a lot of shops, a playground, and a train that we took a ride on. We even spotted an Abert’s squirrel in the ponderosa pines, which was a first for all of us.
The campground we stayed in had a playground.
Seth liked to drive the wagon.
We took a train ride while waiting for the Bar D chuckwagon to start.
We also panned for gold.
Then we played at the playground. Seth loved this train!
Dax liked digging in the sand.
Here is the Abert's Squirrel we saw way at the top of the tree. 

The food was pretty good, almost as good as at the Bar J, and the music was pretty good, almost as good as at the Bar J. Still the kids loved this show so much that we bought a CD. We love eating the chuckwagon beans and baked potatoes and listening to the old western harmonies. We didn’t get back to the RV until after 10 pm, but tomorrow is a bit of a travel day, so the kids should be able to sleep a bit along the way.
We had a lot of fun at show!
Mom and Seth took a selfie while we waited for dinner.

Friday, June 24, 2016

New Mexico Day 1

Road Trippin!
There is not much to report on today as it was largely a day of driving. We loaded up the RV last night and went to bed early. Then we arrived at the Alders at a little before 8 am. We wanted to roll out by 8 o'clock if possible. As usually happens, we spent time shuffling cars and hooking up the truck, and it was about 8:40 when we hit the road. Still, we made good time and had lunch at the Moab Diner by 12:15. It is a bit of an adventure to park a 40 foot motorhome pretty much anywhere, and it's worse when it is towing a full-sized truck, but we made due.
The boys loved the mobility on this trip. They could walk around or play games.
But they still made sure they sat up front with Glen.
We didn't really wear the seatbelts much, but we made sure the boys were sitting down  while the vehicle was in motion (most of the time).
We towed the truck, which really helped us get around, but that's 58 feet of vehicle!
The motorhome is really comfortable inside. We hope we can go on another trip in style someday!
Seth has been looking forward to a trip in Laurie's motorhome since before she bought it!
Dax was supposed to ride up front and keep Glen from falling asleep. Fail!

After swinging by the Monticello Temple, we headed to Mesa Verde, our first stop. We made it before 4 o'clock and got tickets for the Cliff Palace tour, which everyone wanted to do. We also got tickets tomorrow for Balcony House for Mom, Dad, Mark, and Dax. Seth will stay with Laurie and Glen in the RV. We were sad that we wouldn't be able to fit in Long House, and Spruce House is closed, but we have a long way to go and a lot to do.
Moab Diner is our favorite restaurant in Grand County.
Mark dramatically lost a tooth along the way.
We parked the motorhome at the campground in the best spot we could find quickly and drove out to Chapin Mesa for the tour. Cliff Palace is really nice, and the hike isn't too bad. Seth did great with the ladders, and the climb out didn't seem so steep (except to Laurie). The tour in front of us had a lady that had an emergency, but it wasn't any of us, so we counted our blessings. We'll see how we do tomorrow at Balcony House.
The boys were tired of the camera by day one. They particularly hate looking into the sun.
The overlook at Cliff Palace.
Dax loved this trip!
Glen took a lot of pictures, too. This is us on the Cliff Palace tour.
Cliff Palace is a pretty nice ruin.
The park wasn't too busy, so we actually got some nice pictures.
The boys certainly know what a kiva is after this trip.
Seth had no problem with the ladders.
We got back to camp late and made a quick taco dinner. The kids didn't get to bed until 10 pm, which is getting more typical on these vacations, but at least they can sleep pretty easily tomorrow.
The boys played pretty well together, which was lucky since they'd be spending 10 days in a 9 x 40 foot space!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Bryce Day 5

Our one last adventure was to a raging waterfall.
Our last day at Bryce Canyon we were tired, sore, and ready to be home. We still had half a day, though, and we were determined to use it. We packed up early and headed for Red Canyon. This is a part of the National Forest, and it as appropriately named, as you will see in the pictures below. We weren't really sure what to expect, but there is a Visitor's Center and some hikes. We ended up doing a few short hikes. The first one was pretty steep, and the boys were a bit chippy with each other, but we enjoyed reading the signs along the Pink Ledges Trail. Our favorite part was smelling a certain tree, which smelled just like butterscotch. The second hike led to 15 small arches, or windows, and the boys enjoyed counting each one. This hike was steep, too, but we did much better.
Scenic Highway 12 is pretty sweet. There are two manmade arches in the Red Cliffs area.
Dax couldn't believe how heavy the elk horn was in the Visitor's Center.
The hikes were really nice, and we enjoyed benches along the way.
Mom, you're supposed to smell the Ponderosa Pine, not taste it!
I hope these vacations are teaching our boys about family and togetherness!
In southern Utah, you find shade wherever you can.
Best picture of a chipmunk from the whole trip. I think it might actually be a Golden Mantled Squirrel.
I wish Mark were here to tell me!
If the boys see a crevice, they say, "Take a picture, Mom!" as they climb into it.
There were many windows on the Red Cliffs hike.
"That squirrel's got to be around here somewhere!"
The second stop was far up the road for lunch in Marysvale. Who knew this tiny town in Utah's smallest county has a pretty great restaurant called Hoovers. It was a little pricey, but we had awesome nachos, and ended with peach cobbler dessert, so I guess we deserved it!
Hoover's is in the exact middle of nowhere (also called Piute County).
Dad wanted to do one final hike in Marysvale Canyon called Bullion Falls. This hike turned out to be steep, nasty, and dangerous, but it led to an amazing waterfall that was tumbling about 75 feet. We couldn't get very close without making the hike even more dangerous, but we enjoyed a nice overlook and splashed each other in a stream. It was a great way to end a great vacation. Now we just need to to let our bumps, bruises, and scratches heal before our trip next week!
Dax looks like he needs a little rest.
Dad splashed everyone equally. He's like that.
Seth was surprised the water was so cold!
After Mark splashed Mom, she nearly dunked his head in the stream!
It was a nice shallow stream just right for jumping and splashing...
...and yelling at.

The waterfall was pretty from across the ravine.

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