Summer vacation, phase one

We left on Sunday May 9 for our big trip to California. We had originally planned to be gone most of the month, but then found out Lucy's show choir recital would be the 23rd, so we rescheduled to get home that afternoon. But then a few days into the trip I got a message that it was cancelled (grrr) due to the director (who I also visit teach) having to have surgery (felt bad about the grrr and immediately repented) so it'll be in June. We're still coming back on the 23rd though.

So we are just over halfway done. This is what the kids looked like the morning we left. All smiles!

Day one, we drove to Topeka, Kansas. We stayed at the cutest little KOA campground. It's someone's farm that they converted part of into a camping spot. There was a big red barn, two duck ponds, a huge playground, and we stayed in a little one room cabin. It was tight, but cozy.

There was a little field next to the cabin, with lots of room to play, which was nice after driving so many hours.

On day two, we drove from Topeka to another campsite just outside Denver, Colorado. The cabin here was much nicer - more like a medium sized mobile home made of pine - with three bedrooms and a kitchen. There was a small playground. It was extremely windy so we didn't get to spend a lot of time outside. The KOA did have a sort of Coldstone-type ice cream mixing parlor inside of their office, and the kids enjoyed that. 

Penny and Truman took the bunk beds.

Lucy on a recycled tire swinging horse at the KOA's playground.

The next morning we drove through Colorado. It had been extremely hot in Topeka on Sunday - near 90 degrees - and also warm in east Denver on Monday. But Tuesday going through Denver and then Vail, it was well below freezing. We stopped at a rest stop in Vail and had to tunnel through walls of snow to find the bathrooms. 

Near the border of Colorado and Utah, we saw a sign for a dinosaur museum. We were getting a little restless so decided to take the exit. This triceratops van was parked out front.

The exhibits were pretty cool and well worth the $24 it cost our entire family of five to get in to the museum. It wasn't very big, but we didn't want to spend a lot of time either, so it was a perfect side-trip.

A couple of hours later, we finally entered Arches National Park, in Moab, Utah.

We had a campsite reserved in the park. They go very fast. We reserved it months ago and it was literally the ONLY site available for the entire week. You can see why. The sites are enormous and beautiful. 

We did a little bit of exploring that evening before sundown, seeing a couple of the arches on the shorter trails. The kids loved it. In the evening after dark, the park rangers hold a little class in the amphitheater, so we walked down there at 9 p.m. It was about rods, cones, vision in animals versus vision in humans. It was pretty interesting. We really covered a lot of 'school' on that day - dinosaurs, geology, phys ed, biology, zoology... 

The next morning we did some hiking on a few other trails and back to one (Sand Dune arch) that the kids liked the most from the day before. Then we fueled up our van and our bodies in Moab, and drove to St. George, Utah. be continued...


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