We left Iowa on Monday after the wedding, but not alone! It was such a fun treat to leave with my brother Eric and his family! Carrie’s folks live in Colorado Springs, so they were willing to time a trip out to see them with out westward travels. Since we all live so far apart, it is rare that we hang out with just one family or only part of our cousins as we usually all gather at the same time so we can all be there, which made this a neat opportunity. We swapped kids and adults throughout the trip, which really helped make the long drive through Nebraska go fairly quick. We stopped at a hotel about halfway so the kids could swim and enjoy that time together as well. We arrived in Colorado Springs on Tuesday afternoon to an amazing thunderstorm! I’m sure the Anderson’s were very entertained to be in the car with Californians who rarely see rain, much less a huge thunderstorm! We then spent all of Wednesday together doing some tourist stuff in the Springs before we had to finally part ways. They stayed there, while we continued our journey. Here are some photos from those days and beyond.
These photos are from Garden of the God (or as Carrie’s family calls it, God’s Garden!): Kissing Camel rocks
A view of Pikes Peak in the distance
We all met up with Carrie’s parents at a fun pizza place called Fargo’s. The kids loved the player piano after lunch!
Then it was off to the Focus on the Family headquarters. They have a pretty big Adventures in Odyssey play area to explore, which is how we spent our time there.
Then we made a last minute decision to check out the Olympic Training Center nearby. We arrived just in time for the last tour of the day, so we joined in! Cousin bobsled team!
And the adult bobsled team!
These were some last minute hugs and cousin photos before we said our goodbyes. So many fun memories made with cousins again this summer…makes us miss being close all the more!
We drove to Alamosa on Wednesday evening and then Thursday morning headed to the Great Sand Dune National Park. We had no idea something even existed until we were booking that night’s hotel and we were seeing comments and ads for visiting this. It really is amazing…an enormous sand dune sandwiched between mountains and a seasonal stream. We had to cross this trickling stream to get to the dunes, but it was refreshing.
The sand gets VERY hot in the heat of the day (140 degrees!) so we weren’t able to climb too far in our sandals, plus it was very hard climbing! We enjoyed our little hike and then the stream felt extra refreshing!
Check out this beautiful scenic overlook along our drive in CO:
We also come across patches of snow as we climbed the mountain pass and the kids were begging us to let them touch it. Well, to touch it meant crossing a pretty big ravine which they quickly discovered to be swampy and muddy! It turned into a rather HUGE muddy mess…memories, right?!
This was one of the nicer hotels/pools that we stayed at on the trip. Whenever possible, we loved to let the kids burn some of their energy in the pool before bed.
Lauren found the phone, microwave and fridge in each hotel room and that was her entertainment!
These next photos are from Four Corners National Monument. While it was fun to get the photos of being in 4 states at a time, that was really all there was to it!
Then it was off to the Grand Canyon. We arrived there on Friday afternoon and spent the reminder of the day walking trails and enjoys the beauty of God’s creation! AMAZING! While most everything is about evolution, there was this one gem on a wall!
The girls became Junior Rangers for the Grand Canyon as well, which earns them a little badge/keepsake.
Not a bad view for a picnic dinner!
We took a tram back to the visitors center after our hike and saw this elk near the roadside along the way!
We stayed long enough to catch the sunset, which was beautiful!
We made another last-minute decision/detour to visit an old mining town called Calico. It was a bit out of our way, but it allowed us to take a portion of the old Route 66. It was a fun stop, though about 100 degrees! There were many wild burros wandering the streets and you could buy a bag of feed for $1. The kids had fun with that. Then we also were able to see a shootout in the center of the town.
Our final stop was at the Hoover Dam. It was bout 104 while we were there and being toward the end of the last day of the trip, we were running out of steam. However, it was a pretty amazing structure and fun to see in person! This photo (above) was taken from the bridge pictured below. Couldn’t resist snapping this photo as we re-entered our home state! We had such a wonderful time on our trip and are so thankful for the opportunity to do all that we did. However, there really is no place like home after traveling for 2 weeks!!
Whew…I think I can finally move on to more recent photos. Thanks for sharing in our journey with us through photos!