Whew!! Boy was that one exciting and jam packed holiday road trip!
We left early Christmas Eve for our 9 day expedition with the plan to come back home on New Years Day. Our 15 passenger van was ready to be our Christmas tree on wheels this year with lights strung inside, little stockings hung, garland placed all around so all could see and a wreath strapped down tight to the grill! It helped bring in some holiday cheer because it was fully loaded during the trip with all of our belongings, 3 kids, 2 adults and 1 furry dog who sometimes is mistaken as a teddy bear. Our route had us covering over 2,500 miles of the southwest leading us through 6 different states and stopping for 4 days in Las Vegas, NV to spend time with Seth’s family. Our plan was to experience 5 National Parks/Monuments/Trails, but unfortunately we weren’t able to cross Monument Valley off of our ‘Must See List’ because a bad snow storm blew in making us unable to see the tall sandstone buttes.
We were able to go to: Death Valley National Park, Zion National Park, Lower Antelope Canyon, a taste of Monument Valley, and Four Corners Monument.
Our schedule was tight, but we wanted to take advantage of every minute of daylight we had! Each day we rose early, never really sleeping in, because we wanted to explore something new. It was mine and the kids first time out on the road in that part of the country and we were anxious to see it all! I am thankful our little crew are great hustlers and understand that the quicker they move the more we get to explore AND the more dirt roads Seth gets to drive crazy on (which we all love including Kerby)!
I feel very fortunate that we were able to take such a long vacation together as one, and spend so much time with all of Seth’s family during the holidays (which he doesn’t get to do often). We created so many memories together as a family that none of us will forget. Including having 6 children in the van belting out “12 Days of Christmas” song at least 732 times! In the moment that was not the most enjoyable thing to hear over and over again, but listening to the kids squeal and laugh with their cousins for hours made it all worth it!
Each day I was wiped out, but I was determined to see everything on this trip and not be left behind. I had three very close fainting spells, but luckily I did not go into a full spell which sucks all the energy out of me for several days. I was able to make it through our entire expedition, and was even able to walk through our front door by myself! Waahoo!
I was and am still very proud of myself for surviving this wild ride with my crew and feel lucky I was able to great such wonderful memories with them.
Curious how we did it? Below is the route we took including the hotels we stayed at along the way. I will post more detailed blogs soon about each park.
Day 1: Odessa, TX -> Tuscon, AZ
Day 2: Tuscon, AZ -> Las Vegas, NV
-Stayed with family in Las Vegas
Day 2-5: Las Vegas, NV
Day 4: Day trip to Death Valley National Park
Day 6: Las Vegas, NV -> Zion National Park, UT
– Hotel: Days Inn in Kanab, UT
Day 7: Kanab, UT -> Antelope Canyon (Paige), UT -> Gouldings (Oljato-Monument Valley), UT
– Hotel: Gouldings Lodge in Oljato-Monument Valley, UT
Day 8: Gouldings (Oljato-Monument Valley), UT -> Albuquerque, NM
– Hotel: Hyatt Place Albuquerque Airport
Day 9: Albuquerque, NM -> Odessa, TX