Luke is SO ready for the 36 hours of driving.
Nothing says road trip like a dress and clip-on earrings.
My brother Dave and his family live in Tallahassee, so we headed up, and, after a short 5 hour drive, we were there.
We did also see this sunset as we headed into Tallahassee, which was so pretty and pictureworthy, that after we took the blurry pic, we realized we had missed our exit. D'oh! We basically just went to bed, got up early, ate the awesome pancakes Dave made for us, and we headed out for Oklahoma before the sun came up.
It was about 6:45 when we left. Can't you tell by all that yawning?
It is 15.5 hours to Ada, OK, which is where our next free night of lodging was. However, the bonus was that we gained an hour as we drove there. Suh-weet! So what does one do to pass the time in the car with little kids? Here is a sample:
Sleeping(my personal favorite)
Play the harmonica, tickle your own feet
Catch up on your Elmo reading
Watch the sunset (without missing your exit)
We stayed the night with Jacob's grandparents (Karl's parents) in Oklahoma. We got in late and left early (once again) but promised to return for a few days on the way home. Next stop: Williams, AZ. Another 15.5 hours! So what did we do this time around to pass the time? How about....
Two words: whoopee cushions
Finally, at about 10:30pm we made it to Williams, AZ, our home for the night. (And we gained yet another hour there- as they don't take no crap from no one and just don't do the whole daylight savings thing.) We had to make it that far so we could get to the Grand Canyon the next morning and still make Utah that same night. So we gladly sacked out at the Fairfield for the night and got some good rest for the next day.
I already posted my adventures at the big GC, so we will now move along to Panguitch. Oh, I do have to mention that I saw a family of meerkats outside the hotel. Okay, they were probably not meerkats, but some kind of little animal like that that travels in packs and stands up on two legs. Prairie dogs, maybe?? But so cute!
So after the GC, we left for Panguitch, which is a 4.5 hour drive. We did finally get to see more of Southern Utah- including the tiny town of Kanab, which I thought was adorable. We got to the motel at about 7:30- we thought it was just off the highway when we drove in, but alas! it was 10 more miles up the road. D'oh! However, this did give us the chance to drive through Red Canyon and two tunnels- Cindy's favorite.
So after arriving, eating dinner and getting acquainted with everyone, the kids did some swimming.
So sorry to cut off your head, Luke
The next day was Bryce Canyon hiking! In all the years we lived in Utah, we never did any of the parks. I think we just didn't know how to do them. We didn't have bikes or climbing gear, or backpacks with 80 million straps and drinking straws so we just assumed we had no business being there, but this was SO COOL! Anyone can do it, even Cindy. Our whole entire group went up to Bryce Canyon to take a hike Thursday morning. Here are some of the highlights:
Cindy and her favorite people, Nathan and Grandpa
A view looking up after hiking down a little ways
Lovin' the Canyon
Just like a postcard
A happy family at the Canyon. Sweet sunglasses, I miss you!!!
After hiking that and having such a fun time, we headed back to the motel to rest up for horseback riding that evening! Seriously! It was the coolest. Jacob's uncle, Jason, has some connections down there and got us a sweet deal on doing the ride. I have only ever ridden a horse once and that was about 16 years ago, so I was a little nervous. We headed into Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument for a ride through the canyon lands. And it did not disappoint! Check it out:
I kept telling my father-in-law to not jump off a cliff with his horse because my horse followed his horse and did anything it did- so if he went down, so would I
Some of the slot canyons were so narrow that we could touch them on either side as we went through. We were just making sure that the horse did not crush our feet as we squeezed in
Dang, we should totally move out west and buy a ranch, we look so natural in this lifestyle
Me and my horse. (shut up, it is NOT a donkey) His name was RX. Short for Prescription (yeah, prescription for AWESOMENESS!)
We rode for about an hour and a half and we all had a good time. It really was a ton of fun. After that we headed home for some R&R. But we needed food, so we headed into downtown Panguitch to "Henrie's Drive-in" (keep in mind that "Henrie" is my mother-in-law's maiden name- so cool)- the shining star in that little town. They are known for their hamburgers, orange freezes and shakes. It is a tiny little place, but very tasty. Jacob of course had the enchilada. (???) Kids had dino nuggets, their favorite. But the funnest part had to be the cowboy that was in there having dinner. He was a teenage boy, but he had on his wranglers, cowboy hat (complete with pheasant feather) long sleeve shirt, boots and even his pin-on number from the rodeo earlier that day! Seriously, people, THIS is America! I love it. He told me about his rodeo adventures (he was actually from Phoenix) and he even invited us to the Panguitch rodeo the following night. So tempting!!
But the next morning was the Panguitch Pioneer Day parade! I have heard about this many times, so here was my chance to actually attend and see for myself! I would have to say that it was a tasty slice of small-town life. Here are some highlights:
This was moments before Cindy screamed, "This is the BEST PARADE EVER!!" I also got to eat an actual Otter Pop- Poncho Punch, even! It was soooo good....
Great Grandpa Henrie was in the parade, Panguitch High class of '49!
Daddy and Luke hunting for candy
What am I supposed to do, NOT take a picture of two dogs driving a truck?
At one point Cindy went missing during the parade. We finally found her hiding in a bush near where we were standing. She was very upset and would not come out until "Dark Vader" passed through. Yup, he was in the parade and Cindy is deathly afraid of him. She would not come out until he was "all the way around the corner down the street." Oh, brother! Luke was only a little worried...
This has got to be the coolest part- the firetrucks at the end of the parade spray their water up into the air and everyone from far and wide comes to play in the downpour.
Every parade should have this!
After the parade, everyone headed to Henrie's for lunch, but since our family had a big breakfast, Cindy and I decided to head out to the streets of Panguitch and check things out. Here is what we found:
Local shop selling actual stuffed animals, among many other odd things
Cindy took this one, me and RX
I guess I just have a thing for native american guys
Next up: FISHING! I didn't know what to think of this because I am not a fisherman. My greatest fear when fishing is catching something. I sure as heck don't know what do with anything I might hook, but we headed out anyway to see more of Southern Utah and cast a line. Some of our adventures:
Down by the stream
Jacob's fish, Jaws
Good thing Uncle Dan was there to unhook all these fish
And now, prepare your mind to be blown by the fish that I caught with the Scooby-Doo fishing rod:
Boo-yah! We really should have ate him for dinner, but there would have been too many leftovers. Seriously, this was a fluke because I just cast the line in a dumb spot and thought "Surely nothing will bite over here" and then this little guy decided to be the hero. Ugh.
After fishing we hiked up a special canyon and looked for geodes- those sparkly crystal rocks.
That night we had a family talent show and trivia contest. That was cute- we got to see the cousins sing, play guitar, tie a knot, etc. and we learned some interesting things about our family members- jeopardy style. Best part was the clue "Which couple here speaks the same language?" (Uncle Dan meant to say "foreign language") and after a long pause Robert says, "All of us???" Ha ha, the answer was Robert and Brooke- they both speak spanish. Then we had a campfire with s'mores, roasted Starburst (I had one for the first time, cherry, and very delicious- warm and gooey) and DeAnne brought glowsticks and those were a hit in the extreme desert darkness.
Next day was checkout day, so after packing up we decided that on our way up to Salt Lake we would go find a waterfall I heard about. It was well worth the short drive. Here is our trek:
More gorgeous scenery
The water was very brisk. I hadn't planned on getting in really, but rounding the curve I lost my step and went in with my shoes on. After that, I thought, Oh well, you only live once!
Jacob joined in the fun too.
I was stoked to get so close to it :)
Luke could have stayed there all day doing nothing but throwing rocks in the river. He loved it.
One last chance to enjoy the outdoors before getting in the car for 4 more hours up to Park City :)
So that was only the first week! This post was WAY too long, but I am working on week 2 even as you read this. You don't want to miss that one because that has wedding photos and since that was the whole point of the trip, I think they are most important. Meet me back here, same blog time, same blog channel.