We slept a little late again today and tried to just enjoy our morning – not rushing around to go-go-go. We had breakfast at our hotel in Amarillo, then set out to see our first “thing” for the day… Cadillac Ranch.
With a family of 8, a budget is necessary so we like to see out the free/cheap attractions and avoid the super “touristy” stuff (like that awful restaurant we ended up at last night… should’ve known better). Don’t get me wrong – we don’t mind spending when something is worthy, but we almost always regret the tourist-traps! Anywho – Cadillac Ranch fit the bill – it’s FREE and pretty cool.
We forgot to stop and buy any spray paint, but there were dozens (if not hundreds) of cans laying around on the ground and every one of my kids found at least one can with some paint in it. So they painted and played and though it was a fun and neat thing to see/do. My husband left our family mark… @h2o (get it, at-water) on one of the cars and R (heart) R on another. Love him!! Oh and when we left, the kids asked how it got there, so we did a little reading on my phone and once again, did some “homeschooling” on our trip!
One other thing… last night as we were carrying all the stuff into the hotel, the door caught my toe and ripped my toenail back. It was horribly and bloody and OUCH!! This morning we couldn’t find the first aid kit (it’s somewhere in our truck) but hubby found the electrical tape and “made do” on my toe. Ha!
After that, we got back on the interstate and headed west. Along the way we stopped at a few rest areas, but most of the day was just spent driving… a lot. Just past Santa Rosa, New Mexico, we finally took a lunch break.
Our plans for this trip are to eat breakfast at our hotels (free continental from the hotel or things I have packed… PopTarts, apples, yogurt in the cooler, granola, etc.), then to picnic for lunch each day, then eat out at night – something nicer and more filling. It keeps us eating semi-healthy and also saves some money while not being completely deprived.
So back to our day. Lunch was late – we planned to stop at the first Rest Area in New Mexico, but it was closed, so we moved on to the next one (another 50-ish miles… the kids groaned) for our picnic. We had sandwiches, Pringles, cheese sticks, apples and milk for lunch… stretched our legs, fed some birds our scraps, and hit the road again.
PS. My son Noah is a bird lover (aka “birder”) so he brought his binoculars, camera and bird books on our trip. Every time we stop, he looks for birds, identifies them, documents them in his journal, etc. I think he spotted and identified 3 different birds at that rest area alone!
We originally planned to go all the way to Flagstaff, but in the early afternoon I realized we were moving too slow again (jeez 6 kids have to pee a LOT), so we re-thought our schedule and opted to stop sooner.
Since we weren’t going as far, and the kids were complaining that they were tired of sitting, I started looking for something – anything – along our path that would get us out of the truck for awhile. My son Caleb found Petroglyph National Monument and it looked interesting, so we hopped off the interstate in Albuquerque, NM for a little adventure.
A couple of the kids had been begging to go “hiking” so we called this our first hiking excursion. It was a small site, but a fun (short) hike. They had a blast – we saw lots of petroglyphs, learned some interesting things, got pictures of some really pretty flowers and they even chased a wild rabbit for awhile.
I didn’t check our clocks but we easily spent more than an hour there.
On the way to the monument, one of the kids spotted a Krispy Kreme shop. It’s one of our most favorite things EVER and we don’t have any KK close to home, so we promised we’d grab donuts on our way out.
Not much to say except yum, yum, YUM!!!
Back on the road after that with our final destination in sight…. Holbrook, AZ. The landscape really started to change later in the day – I took way more pictures than I could possibly post here, but it was a truly beautiful day and drive. In the course of a few hours, we drove through a sand/dust storm, rain, shine, and then a stunning sunset.
Here are two of my favorite pics… rain over the distant mountains (while it was blue skies above us)…
Finally – we landed in Holbrook, AZ. We were all so, so tired and dusty/sweaty from our little hike that we opted for McDonalds in our hotel room tonight so we could get showers and lay down. The kids were thrilled with our dinner choice … Richy and I not so much, but at least we were able to get to bed not too late!
We have lots of things planned to see tomorrow so I’m off to dreamland. We hope tomorrow will be more sight-seeing and less long-distance driving. Our bottoms could all use a break!! 😉