Sunday, April 07, 2013

Spring Break 2013

As Spring Break approached, I really debated about what to do.  One part of me enjoys staying home, using the week off from work as a chance to sleep in, read a few books, putter in the craft room and maybe work on some spring cleaning.  On the other hand, there was this growing case of cabin fever. The boys are getting older, and while I have no immediate plans to change jobs, I realized there are only a finite number of opportunities to travel with the boys before they head off to college and no longer share the same schedule for time off as I do.   In the end, the desire to road trip won out over having a stay-cation.

Where to go, where to go?  I was still in "saver" mode so I knew the adventure had to be within driving distance.

My dad winters in Arizona, Sun City to be exact.  We've already visited there and while it is nice and warm, the boys would likely be bored being asked to spend a week in the retirement center.  I too was more eager to explore some where we hadn't been before.  But, if we headed towards Arizona, perhaps Grandpa would be able to join us for an extended family adventure?    What about the Grand Canyon?  Wasn't it Theodore Roosevelt who remarked that the Grand Canyon is one of those sites every citizen should see?

Unfortunately,  I had made up my mind too late in the season to secure lodging directly in the park.  However,  my sister mentioned Flagstaff as being a good resting place not too far from the park.  
 While searching VRBO, I discovered this beauty was available and in our price range for the times we were looking at visiting.  And, it came equipped with enough sleeping space for all of us, plus Internet.  (while it turned out not to be needed, the original plan involved Dom working during the day, and sightseeing after he'd logged in his hours with his customer.)

The place was gorgeous!  I came home with a serious case of kitchen island envy!

Once my dad arrived on Monday, our first stop was a visit to the meteor crater site, located about 30 minutes east of where we were staying.  It was an incredibly windy day when we visited.  In fact, we later learned they'd had "gale force" winds during our trip.  No wonder the guided outdoor tours were cancelled for the day.  Instead the ranger gave a very interesting talk in the comforts of the theater  where we learned all that you could possibly want to know about a giant hole in the ground (and then some).  Here's a picture that Dom took:  I totally spaced using the panoramic feature of my camera.  

Perfect timing continued to be a theme:  as Thing Two had just completed a unit in 7th grade science where he had learned about this crater.  He was pretty jazzed to get to see the real deal so soon after hearing about it in school.  

Tuesday's adventure would be of the Grand Style....

It was overcast and brisk when we made our first stop here at the Watch Tower near the east entrance of the park.  
A few locals had already staked out their resting spot for the day...

We struggled to find a parking spot in the central village area...remarking if this was the "off season" we wouldn't want to experience the park during "high season"
 So weary from driving and hunting for the elusive parking spot, we opted to eat lunch tail gate style.  Imagine our surprise when we found this little gem just steps from our parking spot.  Oh many people can say they tailgated at the Grand Canyon?  Yeah, didn't think so...

 All in all, it was a grand place to visit.     A handful of pictures really does not do justice to the size and beauty of this canyon.

Next up would be an adventure into Sedona.   Admittedly, by this time, we were all getting a bit road-n-rock weary so we visited most of these places in the Chevy Chase American vacation style...pull in, take a picture and move on.  

 First stop on our way to Sedona was at Slide Rock State Park.  Thing Two was most eager to try his hand at sliding down the rocks.  Needless to say, he was a bit disappointed in the concept as it was presented by me.   I think he was thinking more along the lines of "tubing".  Oh well...He still agreed to have his photo taking with me, so I'm guessing I'm not totally persona-non grata?  (he's only 13, so there is still time for him to become totally disgusted and frustrated with us as parents).

After a quick drive through Sedona (where I took a turn as the monkey in the side car). next stop was the mining town of Jerome.

As you can see, it was a beautiful day, and we all fought over the chance to ride in the side car...

Continuing to expose these poor boys to learning while on break, we stopped off at the state historical center where we learned all about the boom-and bust of this old mining town.   Back in the day, copper was the thing to be had in these hills, and the town prospered.

This little gem was originally the housing built by the mine owners for some of the miners.  Not bad for "employee housing".

 As the supply of copper dried up, the town of Jerome also started to fall into a state of disrepair.  Until the hippies and the artists showed up.  These days the town is filled with a variety of art galleries and trinket shops.
 Along with ruins from the days as a mining town....rumor has it there are also a few ghosts that frequent this town (if you believe in that sort of thing).

On our last full day in Arizona, my friend Terri and I took a walking tour of the Historic Route 66.   No, we didn't really find our kicks, but we did discover a few photo worthy shots...

In the afternoon, we decided we needed one more rock-exploring adventure.  This time, just a few miles down the road, we took in the Walnut Canyon National Monument.  A steep trail takes you down to see the ruins of cave dwellers, from about 900 years ago.  

All in all, this Spring Break was indeed memorable and family focused!   And I realize after walking all those steps, and seeing myself in pictures, what I really need to get myself in better shape!

We headed home, but Dom continues on his grand adventure....please follow him as he heads North to Alaska (yes, you are welcome for that tune wedgie!)  His blog


Colleen Dobson said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip! We are off to Sedona this summer for the first time. It never even occurred to me that it was near the grand canyon! I need to get out of CO more often!

Charlie6 said...

Good writeup!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your story! I enjoyed reading about your adventures. Glad to know you all had a great time together as a family and were able to send Dom off in such a "grand" style.


tz said...

I do believe we might try this next spring break! what a great trip! It sounds like a grand time of exploring and family time!