Road Trip 2013: Day 15, September 13, 2013

(click here for today's pictures)
Petrified Forest National Park

I was surprised but our sleeping arrangements pretty much stayed the same.  Before we went to bed, Robby did move Campbell into bed with him.  Her and Reagan had been sharing the roll away but it kind of sank to the middle so they both would roll right to the middle.  Campbell would have slept fine but Reagan would not have.  

After I had finished typing the blog last night and when Robby finished with the pictures, he
had to go out searching for a few more bars so he could post everything.  We could do a bit on our phones in the cabin but not in our room.  He was gone for quite a long time (uploading the pictures does take awhile) but after so long, I had pretty much convinced myself that he had fallen off of the edge.  Thankfully, he eventually returned unharmed!

Everyone slept well and we woke up well after sunrise.  After getting ready, we took a few pictures and then took a load of stuff to the car.  At the car, we had to rearrange a few things so the kids had themselves a little pine cone war-there were no injuries thankfully.  Next was a walk through the visitor’s center for the kids stamps and then you guessed it-postcards.  

Then we found breakfast from the saloon and ate on the back porch of the lodge.  We were overlooking the Grand Canyon-it was pretty cool.  We had a bacon and potato burrito along with 2 cinnamon rolls.  It was a pretty good breakfast and once in the car we topped it off with some cereal and cookies.  

Robby took a few kids to the gift shop to look for my Christmas ornament.  Graham tries his hardest to find a good ornament for us-if you don’t know, we have only Christmas ornaments from places that we have been.  We have to rotate them out because we now have too many for one tree (probably even too many for 2 trees)  Not every place gets an ornament but some do.  Sometimes we can find real Christmas ornaments but often can not and have golf balls, climbing hooks, a syrup bottle and lots of odd things hanging on our tree.  This trip, we have mostly found wooden postcards that will become ornaments.   

We then did our back picture-we had had a back picture slump the past few trips.  Really, there wasn’t places to take them but we do miss them.  So thanks to a new tripod, we are on back picture number 4 so far.  Who knows there still may be another one.

Next up was taking another load of stuff to the car and then we watched a bit of a ranger talk about horses in the Grand Canyon.  It was even more interesting because she was sitting on a horse.  Then we took a few pictures by Brighty the famous burrow here which we are going to read a book about when we get home.  If you rub his nose you will have good luck-my kids rubbed all over that burrow so we should have great luck.

Then we were in the car.  We didn’t rush around this morning so it was 11 when we pulled out.  We had a 6 hour drive in front of us so we settled in with a snack and a movie and hoped for quiet and no bathroom emergencies.  

We drove and drove-it was like we were driving in the middle of the Grand Canyon.  Huge cligs all around us and flatlands as far as you could see.  Maybe some day we will hike to the bottom of it-or maybe not.  Robby reminded me that we have been to the bottom by helicopter so that might just suffice my inner hiker.

Next up was a potty stop, gas and we even passed out snacks and our time total was 10 minutes.  That my friends is a record!  We are getting the hang of this traveling.  We did another chunk of miles with snacks, drinks and even a few more episodes of Duck Dynasty.  Robby and I worked on plans for a shorter road trip for 2014.  

We made it to Wapatki National Monument.  It was starting to thunder so we hurried through the visitor center and then on outside to the ruins.  It was a short walk there but the kids were more interested in the caterpillar and lizard that we saw along the path.  After pottying, we climbed into the van and I worked on lunch.  Making for 7 people in a moving vehicle is quite the juggling act but I survived.  Lunch today was peanut butter on tortillas with chips for most folks.  I couldn’t get the grapes out of the freezing ice chest so we cut our last peach from earlier at the fruit trail in California. Robby ate the last of the tortilla chips with almost frozen bean dip along with his sandwich.  

By the time I had picked up lunch and ate my own, we were stopping again at Sunset Crater National Volcanic Monument.  It was starting to rain and the kids rain ahead to the bathroom.  They had those handicapped door openers which Campbell (mainly) and the boys were having a blast with.  We couldn’t get to them in time so the park ranger did.  He was very nice but told them to stop-Robby and I weren’t as nice a few minutes later in the bathrooms as we reminded them not ever to touch those again!  Ha!  We looked through the visitor center and then jumped back in the car.  This time we passed out kindles and hoped that the rest of our 2 and half hour drive would be calm.  For a calm ride, we needed Whitman and Keaton to take a nap!

She never had her nap but Whitman never really stirred.  We made it to almost the Petrified Forest before having to stop for gas.  Robby said he only had 60 miles left before he ran out and he actually debated stopping at this gas station-at least the gas wasn’t 4.99 there.  

A few more miles away, actually many more miles away we drove through the Painted Desert.  It was after the visitor’s center had closed so there was no stamp for the Dennie kids.  But we drove a bit through the park.  We climbed out to run (and I do mean run) around for a bit at an overlook.  It was a good stop-almost at sunset and the kids enjoyed the view just as much as we had.  

This was one of those nights that we arrived at the hotel after dark.  Robby toyed with driving further tonight so we would have less tomorrow to drive but we kept it the same.  Still 6 hours to go tomorrow with a few stops but we should leave earlier than 11 like today.  

Campbell has added to her repertoire of “what road are we on?”  Now she also asks “what state are we in?” and “what time is it?”  We get home on Monday so the debate has been if she will be sent to school on Tuesday.  Robby thinks she might be too tired and I think if we send her they will send her home-for not being able to be quiet.  She is going to need some time at home to de-trip herself.  I have mentioned that Whitman is going to have a rough few nights when we gets home.  Poor thing has a bit of a cold right now with a runny nose and watery eyes but is still a perfect little traveler.  Keaton is going to wake up to a completely different world when we get home-she knows that she can get what she wants by screaming and throwing a bit of a fit while on this trip.  That will soon stop (or at least I hope it will)

It was around 8:45, when we made it to our hotel in Gallup, New Mexico.  We found the hotel and then had to find supper.  Taco Bell was right down the road so we drove through and everyone ate after we had moved into our hotel room.  While I arranged, Robby moved the van and then the kids put on their bathing suits for a few minutes of swimming before bed.  The pool closed at 10, so they had about 45 minutes which was plenty.

We came back to the room and the kids had showers then a bit of kindle time before bed.  Anderson was pretty disappointed that we weren’t going to get to have cake leftovers as was the plan.  In despair he said “how could this day get any worse-er.”  That didn’t go over really well and he quickly changed his tune and a few minutes later told me that this was a “good day because I got to spend all day with you.”  That was more like it!  

Soon all of the kids were laying in bed and almost asleep.  This was the first night that Whitman didn’t want to lay down or have his bottle.  He was only happy with me standing him in front of the mirror or laying on Anderson’s belly.  He would just giggle at Anderson.  Eventually, I was able to calm him down to drink his milk and then go to sleep.  

We did have good luck on hotel tonight-first floor, near side door and even near the laundry.  The only bad luck is that the washing machines are full!  We are going to try a bit longer but after a day’s worth of Whitman’s bibs you have to do laundry-it might just be a late night….tomorrow is another big drive day so we can’t have a smelly car!

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