Back in July I took a couple of weeks off so I could travel with my kids and parents. It was a nice little trip. Who am I kidding. Anyone who has roadtripped cross country with young kids knows it is long and exhausting. But nonetheless, memories made and lots of fun was had.
My parents drove from Phoenix to Kansas City and spent a few days with my family here in KC. My husband and I celebrated our 9th anniversary as husband and wife and the next day, the kids and I were off to Mount Rushmore. This was our first leg of the very, very long drive.
The random stop at 1880 town in somewhere South Dakota.
I love the random stops in the middle of nowhere.
We then made our way to Mt. Rushmore. Or "Mountain Rushmore" as my son, Joey, likes to call it. To be fair, he is technically correct.
Mount Rushmore was a lot bigger than I expected. The scenery was gorgeous. The roads.....very windy. My stomach was not a fan. Surprisingly enough, my kids were doing fantastic. I was very surprised considering they normally get a bit stir crazy sitting in a car for long periods of time.
We then made our way through Yellowstone National Park where we saw wild Buffalo and Elk (not pictured). The drive from Rushmore to Yellowstone was probably one of my favorite views ever. I've seen a LOT. Traveled through the Italian, Austrian & Switz Alps on multiple occasions, Rocky Mountains, Northern California/Southern Oregon, Appalachian Mountains and Thailand. But none was as beautiful as this drive. Of course everyones opinion is different, but to me, this was my favorite. It was so cold during the dead of summer. We were freezing (unprepared) in our shorts in 30 degree weather.
After Yellowstone, we made our way to Grants Pass, Oregon where some of our family lives. The whole point of this trip was to go visit them. My grandmother (on my dads side) has lung cancer. She has kicked cancers butt twice before, but this time was different. I feel like this was an important trip that I had to take. I love her dearly and felt it was important for my kids to form a relationship with their great grandmother.
We got to spend time with my cousing and his family who I've never met. We enjoyed our time with them immensely.
While in Oregon we got to go camping for the first time. Spent the day at the river and did the speed boat thing down the Rogue River. The kids had a blast.
After our visit in Oregon, we made our way down the West Coast.
First stop - Crescent City, California.
This is a cell phone shot. I have taken a picture here, at this exact same spot, every single time I've visited this beach. This time I got to take a picture with my daughter. This place is my single most favorite place in the world. I don't know why, but I find a lot of clarity here. It just happens for some odd reason.
From Crescent City we made our way down highway 1 to San Francisco. We tried to get there before sunset, but no luck. Didn't realize they closed the beaches off by the bridge. I was lucky enough to get this shot. A police officer came by and allowed me to get this shot. It was freezing, extremely windy and I didn't have a tripod. Not to mention it was pitch black. So, I put my camera on the hood of our car (engine running so there's camera shake) and prayed I got something decent. LOL Not great, but a funny memory for me.
We made our way down to Los Angeles. My kids wanted to go to Hollywood so bad. So we went. We walked down Hollywod Blvd and stopped at random places. My kids loved it so much. I did not care for the large crowd. Makes me appreciate smaller cities so much more. =)
We then headed to Redondo Beach where my dad grew up. We were walking on the Redondo Pier and it looked so familiar. Of course, because the OC was filmed here. Only one of my favorite shows.
As much as I love the west coast, I could never live there. Because traffic. OMG the traffic. Wow.
On our way to Phoenix, we had to detour I-10 due to road construction. Two hours out of the way. But we got to see real desert.
My kids are tired of pictures. LOL
We finally make it to Phoenix. Last destination. My parents home. Where I got to meet up with a special friend I hold dear to my heart.
I have learned so much on this trip. We made so many memories. We saw so many things, so many places. As emotionally and physically exhausting as this trip was, I learned a lot and really enjoyed it.