Tonight we arrived in Barstow! We're finally to California, much to Emma's delight.
The boys needed to blow off some steam once we got to the hotel, so they pretended to be monkeys in a cage. They are very good at that...almost too good...
The night before last, we arrived in late evening to Ruby's Inn for dinner. On the way we drove through Red Rock Canyon - which we stopped at the next day on our way out to get some stamps.
Emma enjoyed driving through what she called "donut holes".
This morning we left Ruby's Inn to drive through Bryce Canyon; we stopped by about five points to take in the amazing view.
Of course what is stop at a national park without the purchase of a souvenier or walk through the museum with Grandam Rozer!
Next was Zion National Park - absolutely stunning. We didn't know much about the park, but once in it we were immediatly blown away by the amazing stonework.
Once through Zion (which was very hot and dry, and included a wonderful and extensive visitor's center and recreation area which we all remarked we would like to return to someday) we started searching for a DQ. It was about 110 in the sun, a tad less hot in he shade - but we felt better having downed lots of ice cream.
Once we drove through, we made the long, long, long trek through Utah, Nevada, Arizona and California. Amazing landscapes and lots of wind.
Now we're bedded down. Yes, it's late again. Last night it was too late and I was too tired. After driving through Arches National Park and Canyonlands, and then on through most of Utah, we were wiped out. But the sights were amazing.
The kids have been doing great, Eli travels well as long as he gets human interaction during our pit stops. We've learned not to give ELI crackers because they make a huge mess; nothing worse than a messy van on a long, long trip. I don't like messy vans.
We sing songs to pass the time away; Emma and I do a variation on the Happy Birthday song. She sings the song, and then at the part where you insert a name, I'm supposed to say some nonsense word like "river" or "dog" or "pen". Then Emma will exclaim, "a river doesn't have a birthday party!", then she'll giggle and finish the song. And then we'll do it all over again. And again. And again.
Levi sits in the middle, so he gets to play with Emma and Isaac; with Emma he follows her lead; which means she comes up with the game, and he must do what she says. Isaac is on the opposite side of the van, so he is outside of the "Emma Zone"; he and Levi will tug on each others blankets, swipe stuff from each other, and in general tease each other - it is delightful to watch, most of the time.
The other day I turned around and Emma had Levi's toes in her mouth. I asked what she was doing, "I'm eating Levi's toes." "Emma, don't eat your brother's toes." "Can I eat his fingers?" "NO! Stop eating your brother." "Well, can I eat myself then?" "Yes Emma, if you want, you can eat your arm." At that point Tara got in the van and looked back to see Emma "eating" her arm, and Levi "eating" his arm. Tara gave me an odd look; I tried to explain the situation to her...
Tomorrow is a long drive to Fresno, Sequoia National Park and King's Canyon. Then Monterrey!!!!
Here's some pics of Arches and Canyonlands
A tradition at each National Park is to get our NPPassport stamped. Tara and I started it in the summer of 1998 when we went to Mammoth Caves for vacation. Since then we've gotten alot of stamps. Now our children can start collecting stamps too! Levi and Tara love stamping!
Here's Aunt Shirley, Emma and Levi standing in front of the famous Windows Arch. I insisted that the kids be given a chance to climb up to it, so off they went with Papa Ger leading the way. I had Eli duty, so he and I tried taking the trail in a double stroller...we did about forty stairsteps and then turned around... I didn't want to break the stroller, even though Eli liked it.
After Arches we travelled to Canyonlands National Park. While there we stopped to picnic. There was this large bush just next to our table. It sat there, quite innocently. We paid no attention to it, and it did not bother us the whole time we ate. Then, after we ate and cleaned everybody up, we heard this wailing. Levi and Isaac had gone exploring into the bush - which had very very prickly stickers. They had them on their sandals, on their feet, their knees, their shorts, shirts and arms. Poor guys. We kept yelping as we pulled the stickers out of their clothes, they were prickly. Once we deprickled the kids, we took a picture next to the perpretrator and admonished it to never do that again.
This is stark, rugged, dry, captivating Canyonlands.