The first 12 days of our trip went by too quick. Once my husband arrived, we celebrated Fathers Day, and then it was Monday and we were headed home. Again, I had a loose plan in mind but as always I left room for flexibility. We had a full week to get home so that helped. With my husband joining the drive we had to move the kids around and I was worried that I would spend the next 3-5 days hearing the standard "she touched me, he's on my side, etc". THANK GOODNESS that didn't happen. Future idea will be to get a luggage rack for the top of my car to give the kids more room inside.
We left my moms headed to the Grand Canyon! My husband and I hadn't been there since we were little so it was a MUST. As excited as I was to show the kids one of the 7 Wonders of the World... I forget that it is just a GIGANTIC hole in the ground to a child. So after 2 hours of driving around and taking pictures we headed towards Albuquerque, NM.
** Sidenote - when traveling with dogs please make sure you have MORE than enough dog food to last you during the trip. Unfortunately my poor dogs food got eaten by squirrels while camping. My husband went out to get food for her the night before we headed home and unfortunately was unable to find the brand of food she eats. This resulted in a full blowout (EEW) during the drive to Grand Canyon ... ON MY DAUGHTER.
We got to Albuquerque and again had to make sure the hotel was pet friendly. By the time arrived everyone was just hungry and ready for bed. We stayed at a great Comfort Suites ... which had a pull out couch for our son. (YAY!!)
The next morning we headed towards Oklahoma City and were looking forward to seeing the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial Wednesday morning since we had missed it on the way there. Luckily the dog was feeling better (and craving grass under her feet I'm sure). My husband and I chatted and passed the time while the kids slept and snacked and slept. We stayed in another Best Western in OKC and it was fine, the breakfast was good, the kids shared a bed ...
If you have not been to the OKC bombing Memorial, it's a must. The grounds are amazing, I cried at the little chairs but the museum is set up in such a way that you feel like you were there. You feel the emotion of the survivors then they get into the legal proceedings of Timothy McVey which is fascinating... they caught him because of a missing taillight. We spent 2 hours at the memorial, even the kids were engaged.
Then ... headed to Arkansas. We were hoping to visit the diamond crater state park however a storm was coming through and there was no way I was searching for diamonds in the rain/mud so another audible was called. Thank goodness for the Arkansas Visitor Center on I-40. I ran in and went through ROWS AND ROWS of brochures that would give us something to do. We settled on the Cosmic Caverns in Berryville, AR. 4 hours north of where we were ... so I found a place to stay as we drove. OMG! What a gorgeous drive north. The kids laughed. We pointed out animals, we played car games and just had fun. We ended up staying in the sweetest town, Eureka Springs, AR. I would go back and visit this town again ... it was just the best little town.
Cosmic Caverns was actually very cool. I wasn't sure what to think when we pulled up to this small shack/gift shop. We started to wonder if this was going to be a waste of a 1/2 day drive BUT once it started we were quickly surprised. Our guide was VERY knowledgable about the cavern and it's history. At one point she even turned ALL the lights off when we were 350 feet below the surface just so the kids could see how truly dark it was for the miners. This was phenomenal and I would recommend it to anyone. I do wish we could have stayed longer as there was so much to do in this area.
Thursday was the last leg of our trip and we were ALL feeling it. I was looking forward to being in my own bed after 15 days. Once we got home and unpacked I had some time to reflect on the trip as a whole and came up with these top 5:
1. Spending this time with my kids was invaluable. They grow up too fast and I don't want to miss it.
2. Pack my own pillow for hotels & family because I am super picky.
3. 4 days of driving with my husband made me realize how much I love him, how annoying some of his little idiocincracies are and that I don't think we could do a road trip much longer together without me being able to drive.
4. I really love camping!
5. We must do this a few more times before the kids move out. I LOVED this time.