Sunday, October 30, 2011

Canyon Gateway RV Park Campground Review

We decided to stay at this campground  while we were in Williams, AZ.  It was our 'hub' to be able to visit the Grand Canyon, and have full hook-ups and WiFi.  We stayed here for 4 days, and had a great time.  They did not charge extra for the kids and gave us the Passport America rate for the whole stay.  It was a really nice location, within minutes to the highway that takes you to the South Rim (which is a good 45 min. drive). Williams is also a nice little town situated on old route 66!  They had some cool shops, but what we were SOOO excited about, was the local Safeway had BLUEBELL ICECREAM!!
Now, if you are not from Texas, you may not understand this obsession.....:)
Bluebell is the BEST icecream, and Todd honestly compares every other kind with a snub.
Well, he saw it at the grocery store and HAD to buy some!  We have not had Bluebell since we were in Missouri, I think, which was several months ago, so this was a celebration in the making!

Remember, it is the little things that mean so much!

Anyway, we enjoyed our stay at the campground, and would stay here again.

Price- $22/n for full hook-ups

Amenities- Nice sized laundry room and really clean, modern bathrooms/showers.  There is not a pool or gameroom at all, however, in the town of Williams, there are a couple of parks with playgrounds and a Recreation Building for the public that is open in the summer months.

Staff-  they were helpful and friendly

Sites- really nice and long, and an easy in/out drive for big rigs


Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Grand Canyon

When I was a child, I had heard about the Grand Canyon, and even saw pictures of it in books.  I even saw it when I watched Chevy Chases',  National Lampoons Vacation.

I knew it would be a wonderful place, unlike any other.

I knew it was one of the most visited places in America.

However, ...........

Today, I am speechless.

 It just keeps going.......and going..........and going..............

 All the many colors, valleys, cliffs, and peaks are mind boggling!

It truly is, one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life.

 The kids earned, yet, another Jr. Ranger badge!  Our Ranger was extremely sweet, and interesting during her 'talk' at Mather Point.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Arizona!! State #19!! The Painted Desert & Petrified Forest National Park

On our way to the Grand Canyon, we made a stop in Sun Valley, AZ., to visit the next National Park in our journey.  :)  The Painted Desert was beautifully filled with pinks, yellows and blues.  It is literally out in the middle of nowhere!

The Petrified Forest was just a little ways from the desert, and we walked through the 'Chrystal Forest' which was a nicely paved hike about a mile long.

There so many trees that had petrified, with pretty crystals of red, blue, and yellow!

 It feels really smooth too!  I LOVE this kind of learning!  Instead of reading about a petrified log, (how boring!)  The kids are seeing, smelling, and touching these logs, right where they fell.  So fun!  :)

They also had fun running down the hills along the path.  :)

It is hard to tell from the picture, but this is actually ONE tree that has petrified and fallen.

The Park had a small visitor's center with a 'fossil dig' and some large dinosaurs!  :)

Way to go!  Another Jr. Ranger badge!


Monday, October 24, 2011

State #18!! New Mexico & Aztec Ruins National Park

After leaving the 4 Corners Monument, we went to the northwestern side of New Mexico.  We will be leaving soon, heading on to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, but will visit some more of New Mexico later.  :)

In the small town of Farmington, NM, there is a National Park: Aztec Ruins.
What is kind of funny about this though;  it was never occupied by the Aztecs!  It was rumored that they lived here about 1000 years ago, and they even named a town close by, Aztec, NM., but it was not the Aztecs, but the Pueblos that lived in these dwellings.  ;)  They were able to figure this out after a little research and many artifacts found in the area.  In fact, the Aztecs never moved farther north than Mexico.

With that explained, we visited the Aztec Ruins, that never occupied the Aztecs, and earned another Jr. Ranger badge!
 Hundreds of Indians could live in these ruins.  (the boys thought it would be fun to have an air-soft gun-fight in the ruins!)   :)

 This is the 'Grand Kiva' where they would hold their worship services.
Below, is the inside of the 'Grand Kiva.'

This ladder is around 900 years old, and could still hold a grown man today!

The Yucca tree was used to make baskets, blankets, bowls, clothing and tools for the Pueblo Indians.

Yeah Golden Gang!


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Four Corners Monument

The kids were pretty interested in visiting this place, knowing that it is the only spot in all of North America, where 4 states; Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah share their borders.  ;)

There is really nothing fancy or overly exciting about it, other than knowing what makes it special.

However, what it lacks in luster, just gave the Golden Gang another good reason to act silly!

Here, Zach and Emily are yelling from Arizona to Colorado!  :)

Then, the kids tried to think of creative ways to be in all 4 states at once!

And, yes, even Todd had to get into the 'silly' act too!  HA!

There is a small fee to enter the monument, and there are local vendors selling home made jewelry and other items to support the area Navajo tribes.


Friday, October 21, 2011

O.K. RV Park, Campground Review

While in Moab, UT., visiting the Arches National Park, we stayed at this campground.

We were only here for a couple of days, and seemed to be pretty nice.  We really did not use any of their facilities though, so I can't comment on how clean or modern everything was in the campground.

Price-$30/night.  If you stay here in the summer, they don't charge extra for kids, so it would be $20/n with a Passport America membership.

Location-  Perfect for visiting the Arches, only less than 15 minutes away.  :)

There is not a pool or playground, but is a great overnight stop.  :)


Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Arches!!!

 In a place, far, far away, you will find Moab.  Moab, Utah, that is.....

 There is a nice visitor's center with a museum and a short film.

But then, outside in the National Park, you see some pretty cool stuff!  We have been looking forward to visiting this park for a long time.  Many movies, like Star Wars and Indiana Jones were filmed here, so it makes for quite an adventure.  :)

Here is the 'Balanced Rock.'

The 'Double Arch.'

'Windows' is also part of what you will see on the many short hikes you can visit.

Wolfe Ranch is still here with their cabin and corral that was built in 1906!  :)  Our RV is bigger than this home.  :)

There are petroglyphs on the way to 'Delicate Arch.'  Too cool!

Now, let me explain something here.......
We decided to take an 'easy hike' to visit the 'Delicate Arch.'  Not only was this hike NOT easy!  But it was UP HILL the whole way!  It takes the average person 3-4 hours to complete!  Really......
Now, it was cool, until we realized that we got lost, and then we were on the wrong side of the Arch, and had to back-track to actually SEE the Arch from the front, safely, I must add......
 I'll tell you what.  These kids are AWESOME.  We made it in 3 hours with one of these guys being THREE YEARS OLD!  YEAH!  It was a real accomplishment, and a picture well earned!

On our way back to the visitor's center to get badges, Hannah, my bug-loving-girlie-girl, found this praying-mantis.  Nice....... :)

 We were all so exhausted from that big hike, that our legs were like Jell-O!!!

Way to go Golden Gang!


Red Ledge Campground Review

While we were visiting Zion National Park, we decided to stay here.
I am SO glad we did.  :)  Our friends, the Martins, recommended it to us, so a big "Thank you!" goes out to them!  :)

At first, we were going to stay at the South Campground in Zion Park, but we found out REAL quick, only by driving through the campground, that our rig is WAY to big.  Thankfully, we did not damage our RV, but it was too close for comfort trying to drive around, let alone park in a space.  (The ranger should not have let us in)
So, I want to warn anyone with a rig larger than 30ft long, that this just may not be the best option for you.  :)

So we went to the North Rim of Zion, and stayed in Kanarraville, UT., at Red Ledge.

Price- $26 for the first night, and then $13 for the 2nd night, since we have a Passport America membership

Amenities- The restrooms were nice, however, the showers need a DEEP clean, as well as the laundry room.

It is a very small campground that has full hookups, and a picnic table.  The owners are very sweet and helpful, and were always working on the grounds to keep them clean.
Make sure you go grocery shopping before you get here, too!  :)


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

State #17!! UTAH!! Zion National Park

 The colors of autumn have reached Utah, our 17th state to visit.  It is just so gorgeous here.  I am constantly amazed at how beautiful this country is, whether it is the plains, oceans, or mountains, I am amazed.
It really causes me to be thankful.  I am giving thanks to the Lord for this experience everywhere we go, and it doesn't seem like there is an end in sight!  Just when I think, 'well, surely this is it.....' I am struck by something else; sometimes simple, sometimes complex.  But all of it causes me to be more and more thankful each day.  :)
 We went to Zion National Park and took a couple of hikes.  The first one took us up to an overlook that was really simple, but gave quite a view.

 Up, up, up!  The kids LOVE hiking.

Todd HAD to do this, while my hand was shaking, trying to take the picture.  HA!
 Zion is a magnificent place.  The weather is perfect.  The views are so beautiful.  It is so quiet and peaceful too.

These little guys were everywhere.  The kids kept trying to catch one, but that is literally impossible.  They are SO fast.  Way faster than any lizard in Texas!

After our short hike, we had a nice picnic lunch, and then went to a more difficult, 2 mile hike.  :)
During one of our breaks, we were sitting by a natural spring, cooling out feet, and Tanner noticed this little guy!  GOODNESS!  This is actually the first snake we have seen so far on our trip!

By the time we finished this hike, Parker was just, plain ole' pooped.  :)
Tanner and Todd took turns carrying him.  :)

 Yeah Golden Gang!  Another badge!!

We had such a great time at Zion.  There were so many sights and wildlife to explore.