Amazing Race Style [part 1]

For the last however long our family has been kicking it Amazing Race style.
We started with 28+ hrs of plane travel with two young boys.
Then we took a driving trip to Florida, stopping in the gorgeous Charleston, South Carolina.
Now, we just finished up with 8 weeks driving across numerous states and sleeping in countless beds.
Sometimes we’ve felt stark raving mad, but most times we’ve loved getting the chance to explore together.
We drove from our home in Pennsylvania to Ohio, stopping in at church first. Contrary to my usual plan-it-ness we just decided to drive as far as we could stand and find a hotel where we could. The first hotel we drove up to had crime scene tape, quite a few police cars, and a man in a hazmat suit so we sped on out of there to find the next flea trap.
The next day we drove to Columbia, Missouri and stayed with friends. The next day we drove to Wichita, Kansas and spent some time with more friends.
Along the way to New Mexico, we stopped in Amarillo Texas and spray painted some cars. Fun.
Then we drove to Tucumcari, New Mexico. Tucumcari is a cute little Route 66 town with quite a few motor lodges to choose from. We chose Blue Swallow Motel because it is mentioned in the movie “Cars” and was very well rated on trip websites. Interesting fact about Tucumcari, it has a mountain range thing that looks a lot like the mountains in Cars. We had a nice breakfast at Kix on 66 the next morning and then drove on to Albuquerque.
In Albuquerque we stopped at the Whole Foods to get some curried quinoa and other salads for our picnic dinner. Then we enjoyed time walking around the Albuquerque old town, the boys played on the old canons and enjoyed some espresso and excellent soup at a cute cafe near the plaza.
From Albuquerque we drove and drove until we made it to the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona. We were all so tired of driving that it was wonderful to get out and set up camp in the super cute Wigwams that inspired the Cozy Cone motel in Cars.
We drove down to a beautiful little rest area and had one of our favorite times chasing bubbles, searching for the boys easter baskets, and enjoying our Whole Foods delicacies.
The next morning we woke up super super bright and early (darn time change) and drove to the Grand Canyon. I forget what we had for breakfast and I forget lunch, but the Grand Canyon took my breath away and is oh so very unforgettable. For a week in May the National Park services wave the entry fee and we hit it just right.
We drove along the South Rim stopping at all of the overlooks, our favorite being the Indian Watchtower. We definitely didn’t spend enough time there…maybe next time a backpacking trip or donkey ride. But we did enjoy reveling in God’s great and awesome creation.
From Grand Canyon we decided to drive to Las Vegas via Hoover Dam. We figured that it would only add an hour to our driving time to stop in Las Vegas, but we’d possibly gain a cheap place to spend the night, a fun place for the kids, and a new state. But next time I’d maybe just skip it.
By the time we finally rolled into “Sin City” we only had enough energy to eat at In N’ Out, see the sky line of the famous casinos, and swim in our hotel’s pool. We were just plain too tired to go see the volcano erupt, the famous dancing fountains, the tigers at the Mirage, etc.
The next morning we intended to eat breakfast at Whole Foods but found that nothing opens at 6 in Vegas, so after some McDonald’s oatmeal we drove the last bottom busting miles to Folsom, California.
After a fun 5 or so days in Folsom, we drove to Idaho Falls, ID. After several days in Idaho Falls we drove to  Missoula area, Montana. After a couple of days in Missoula we drove back to Idaho.
Then back home to Missoula area. Then to Butte, Montana for my sister’s graduation from nursing school. After a couple of days we drove from Butte back to Missoula area stopping at the Fairmont Hot Springs. We absolutely loved seeing the boys swimming with my sisters and parents.
In Missoula we got to do some really fun things: playing at the Children’s Museum, rode the carousel, enjoyed shopping on the Hip Strip, walked around the farmers market, and enjoyed cardamom ice cream at Big Dipper. I fell more in love with Missoula and it moved towards the top of my list of places that I would like to live.
After a couple of weeks we sadly said goodbye to my parents and siblings and flew to Missouri for our class reunion. We got to see some great friends from our high school days and close friends from our college days. Thoroughly tired we flew home to Pennsylvania.
Whew. Makes me tired just typing it all.

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