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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hoover Dam and Sequoia National Park: Day 7 and 8

Day 7 was our REALLY LONG day of driving. We had at least 13 hours to go to get from Grand Canyon National Park to Sequoia National Park...and when your towing a camper behind you, and you can pretty much go ahead and add at least an extra hour to your time. We left the Grand Canyon before the sun was up and headed toward our one {planned} detour of the day: the Hoover Dam. 
 We left Arizona, drove into Nevada and then when we crossed the dam we were back in Arizona....that majorly confused the boys:)
 This picture was taken from the top of the dam. The bridge straight ahead is the new bypass.
 This place was HUGE and there was a ton of cement! We only had a few minutes so all we had time to do was park, walk across the dam, and take a few pictures. Jason would have loved to tour the dam and power plant, but with ten more hours of driving ahead of us there just wasn't time

 Then it was off to California!
 I'm not going to lie, the worst day of our whole trip was second half of day 7...I was in tears for probably two hours. We ended up driving up the Sierra Nevadas into Sequoia National Park after sunset. For someone who is used to the flat lands of Mississippi, those mountains were terrifying...especially after dark. The road was curvy and mountainous and we had no idea were we were going and how long it was going to take to get there. When we finally got to our campsite, it was too small for the Airstream! Talk about tears! We ended up just parking in the parking lot and sleeping for a few hours until the ranger station opened the next morning. Luckily we were able to find a new site the next morning and things started looking a little better. So we set up camp and headed out to see the Sequoias.
 They were amazing.
The boys were in awe...and so was I. They found this group of three trees and called them the brother trees: Henry, Grant, and Eli:)
 The General Sherman...the largest living thing on Earth.
We climbed to the top of Moro Rock. I think there were more than 400 steps!
But the climb was worth it when we got to the top! The views were amazing!
We finished the day with a hike along the river that ran through our campsite.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Star Spangled Waffle

The 4th of July is in one week! I seriously can't believe that June is almost over and we are moving on to July! I am still working on recovering from our big roadtrip {I'm just now getting around to washing the sheets & blankets from the Airstream!}, so life has kind of just been floating by. We did do a little to celebrate Father's Day, but I completely skipped over my birthday except for Jason making me a peach cobbler. I haven't even thought about getting out all my fun 4th of July decorations. But I did decided to break out the waffle maker and work on some patriotic waffles this week. The colors didn't end up quite like I wanted and the star isn't as prominent as I was hoping, but they still kind of worked. I usually end up cutting the boys' waffles so their plates are always a jumbled mess of colored waffles anyway:)
 Start with the usual suspects: waffle mix and food coloring...you will also need a metal star shaped cookie cutter.
 Mix your batter according to the directions on the box.
 Divide the batter into two bowls. Make one bowl of batter blue and the other red.
 Pour on your first color and let it set up for a few seconds. Then place your cookie cutter in the center of the waffle iron and fill it up with the second color. Make sure all the way to the edge and inside all the points of the star. I made some waffles that were blue with red stars...

...and some that were red with blue stars.

Carefully pick up the cookie cutter. 

 I wish that the colors would have turned out a little better...and that the star was a little more noticeable. Maybe I'll try them again with a white star so that you can see it better! Even though these weren't as successful as I would have liked, the concept of using a cookie cutter to make a shape in your waffles is kind of fun and I think we will be doing it again soon!
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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Grand Canyon National Park: Day 4,5,and 6

I took quite a few pictures at the Grand Canyon. I guess seeing something that beautiful makes you want to take lots of pictures so you can remember it:) Sorry in advance for the picture overload!
We got to the Grand Canyon pretty late on day 4 so we didn't get to see much more than our campsite at Mather Campground. We got busy setting up camp so we could cook dinner and get a good night sleep!
 Eli was all smiles!
 The boys were SUPER excited about making it to our campsite. I have to say that this was one of my favorite places that we stayed on our whole trip. We didn't have power or water, but the site was HUGE and the boys had plenty of room to play without bothering other people. We were also pretty close to a bathroom without being too close which is always nice:)
 The next morning we headed straight to the Rim Trail to see the canyon...and it did not disappoint!

 After a long day of exploring the Rim Trail, we came back to our campsite for dinner: chicken kabobs and corn on the grill!
 The next morning we headed out for a hike below the rim of the canyon on the Bright Angel Trail. We knew that we probably wouldn't get too far...it's a tough hike and Eli is only three!
 It was beautiful seeing the canyon from a different perspective!
 We only made it down about a mile, but the views just kept getting better and better the farther down we went!
 The end of the trail for us...and then it was time to hike back up.
 We made it to the top!
Henry and Grant did really well....Eli not so much! He ended up getting a piggy back ride most of the way up from Jason and from me!
 While we were resting at the top of the trail, we got to see a caravan of mules coming up from the bottom of the canyon.
 We also saw a ton of wildlife while we were at the Grand Canyon. There were deer everywhere and we caught this baby elk eating leaves near the welcome center.
 On our last night, we headed to the rim to watch the sun set.

 I didn't get very many good picture of the canyon in the sunset {I think we were in the wrong place for great sunset pictures}, but I did a couple good shots of the boys with the sun shining on them.

 We LOVED our visit to the Grand Canyon! I think the boys would be ready to load up and head back right now if we asked them. We will be planning another trip when the boys are older so that we can hike even further and maybe even take a rafting trip on the Colorado River!

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Roswell and White Sands, NM: Day 3

We loaded up and left Carlsbad bright and early on day three...we had a full day of travel and fun planned. Our first stop was the {quirky} town of Roswell.
It was early on Sunday morning so most of the town was still sleeping I think:) We only had a little bit of time to spend here, so we took a quick walk around the little downtown area....
...took pictures with aliens and ufos....
...and bought a couple of {alien} souvenirs. 
Then we started our first {scary} trip up and over mountains to get to White Sands National Monument. It was a pretty eventful trip! Someone pulled out in front of us and we almost ended our big roadtrip on day three! Luckily Jason was fast on the brakes and managed to not hit {the jerk} who pulled out in front of us. After a stop to calm our nerves {and eat some local tacos} we were back on the road heading to some White Sands FUN!

This place is AMAZING! Out in the middle of nowhere there is this beautiful area of white, sparkling sand that seems to go on for miles! The boys had such a fun time running, sliding, jumping, and smiling for pictures. Jason and I had a good time too, but I'll spare you those funny {& sort of embarrassing pictures}. We only had about two hours to spend at White Sands National Monument, but if we ever come back this way I will be sure to include more time for us to play!
We we left White Sands, Jason noticed that the camper breaks didn't seem to working just right. We managed to make it down {a HUGE} mountain, and we found the closest Walmart. He assumed that he just needed to add a little bit of brake fluid to the system, but when we stopped in the parking lot he realized it was a lot worse than that. When Jason had hit the brakes so hard to avoid hitting {the jerk} that pulled out in front of us, part of the brake line broken in half....meaning we drove down those massive mountains with no brakes on the camper! We survived though....
 ...and after a trip to Auto Zone and two hours of working on the brakes, we were able to get back on the road to Albuquerque. 
We watched the sunset down into the New Mexico horizon as we drove and drove for what seemed like hours on the interstate. That night was our first ever experience driving the camper at night. It was kind of scary, but I was glad that there were at least other cars around. We ended up not getting to our campground until almost 9 pm, which meant we parked, used the restroom, and then went to bed...hoping that the next day would be a little smoother!

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