Road Trip: Grand Canyon National Park, Etc.

The family took a one week road trip last week to Grand Canyon National Park. We drove south to New Mexico then headed west to Williams, AZ where we stayed for a couple of nights. We drove an hour out to the Grand Canyons then took the buses along the canyons for the breathtaking scenes.

On the morning of our third day, we headed to Page, Utah where we had hoped to tour Antelope Canyon but they were all booked so we decided to drive across Glen Canyon Dam and check out Lake Powell. We met a friendly French family who were on vacation. We stayed one night in Page then headed out the next morning. Our goal was to go straight to Grand Junction, CO but decided to take a detour to the four corners (where New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado meet). The idea came from our youngest. She was napping when we took the detour. We wanted to surprise her but she heard us talking and woke up to help us with directions because husband’s Google Maps was acting up.

At the Four Corners, one of the Navajo’s selling memorabilia explained that the sellers in the New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah corners were all Navajoes while the sellers in the Colorado corner were Utes. I wanted more history from him but I felt guilty because I didn’t buy anything from him. I did thank him for the bit of information.

Grand Junction was our resting place before the drive home. Husband and I wanted to surprise our oldest by going to an alpaca farm. She had no idea and loved it. We also wanted to pick peaches but it was still too early in the year for the public picking. We ended up buying their stock peaches. We did pick cherries though. Husband picked them because all the cherries were at the very top and he needed a ladder to get up there.

Ouray, Colorado

Last week, the family took a road trip to Ouray, Colorado. It was a six hour drive through winding roads and beautiful mountain views so it didn’t feel very long at all.  The photo below shows us at just shy of three hours from our destination.

Here are some views on our way there.

We stayed at an RV and cabin campsite where we rented a tiny home cabin. It was homey and well cared for.

We stayed in the middle cabin. They called these deluxe cabins because there’s enough room to sleep seven people. There were four of us total so we wouldn’t fit in the smaller cabins, which were a few yards down from ours.

Inside our cabin. The kids slept in the loft. Down past the kitchen is the main bedroom.

This is the living room. We watched a couple of movies on our stay. It wasn’t really mountain living, as you can see.

The backside walks out toward the river which was pretty swollen from the snowfall last month. The black cover thingy with the rock on top is a gas grill. We didn’t get a chance to use it but hope to next time. I enjoyed waking up early and sitting on a chair listening to the rush of the river and birds chirping. It was relaxing and peaceful.

When we first arrived, we ate dinner at a restaurant and then went for a walk along the river. Our oldest was too tired so she stayed in the cabin. The rain sprinkled a bit but didn’t last. That’s my husband and youngest in her rain poncho.

We only went for two nights and three days so we didn’t get to do too much. We spent our day mainly at the hot springs pool. The same evening, there was a music festival in the park next to the pool so we hung out there for a couple of hours. Before the pool and the festival, we had breakfast at the Cafe next to the cabins and RVs. We learned that the owner of the cafe, when he was a kid in the 80’s, got to sit with John Wayne for breakfast every morning while they were filming the original True Grit (yes! it was filmed in Ouray). His mother opened the cafe and ran it until she wasn’t able to and he took over. I had ordered a huervos rancheros and had just started eating when he came by and told us this story. He said the huervos rancheros was John Wayne’s favorite. He was a lucky kid. I’m glad he shared this piece of his life with us.

Vacation Photos

I took a ton of photos with my iPhone and I’m still struggling as to how to organize the photos to put into a vacation book.  I did some looking for an app that could put my photos into frames to save me from creating my own framed photos and found Insta Booth.  My trial is almost over but I really like the possibilities with this app so I’m considering buying it for $5.99 when my trial is over.  It’s only available for iPhones but I’m sure android phones have similar apps.  I also like using VSCO Cam to edit my photos.  It’s free.  I edited the photos half with VSCO cam and half with Insta Booth and have noted in the photo descriptions.  VSCO cam is more flexible in that the filters can be adjusted so their’s room for creativity.  Insta Booth has lots of set filters, including, HDR, but they can’t be adjusted.  Okay…there’s my mini review I slipped in there.  Wasn’t planning for that but I really enjoy using these two apps so thought I’d share it just in case anyone hasn’t heard of them.

The family vacation was fun.  My 12-year-old had national dance competition in Seaside, OR, so the family decided to make it a one week road trip vacation.  This trip was one of those where we weren’t exactly sure where else we were heading after the competition so we brought our passports along just in case.  The competition was one full week but daughter’s dance group only competed one day.  The thing was if they ranked high enough they would then have to compete three days later at the finally event.  It turned that daughter’s dance group didn’t make it into the finally so that meant we had the rest of the week to kill.  With the extra time we decided to take a ferry up to Victoria, British Columbia (Canada).

On the road trip, we rested in Twin Falls, Idaho.  It was July 4th, Independence Day, when we arrived in Twin Falls and got to watch fireworks from the hotel parking lot.  We arrived in Astoria, Oregon the next day and stayed at a hotel right under the Astoria bridge.  I was surprised at how quiet it was in our hotel. [Photos edited and framed in Insta Booth]

VACOR1_072014_800Astoria bridge at sunset, dance daughter’s silhouette, and other daughter getting dirty in the sand.  [Photos edited in VSCO Cam and framed in Insta Booth]

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Another silhouette and Canon Beach. [Photos edited in VSCO Cam and framed in Insta Booth]

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We drove up to Washington State, left our car, and took the ferry to Victoria.  The ferry ride was about 90 minutes but it felt so much shorter…like maybe 30 minutes.  Victoria was gorgeous but extremely touristy.  When we first arrived, there was a Starbucks staring at us, so we headed there for drinks.  We stayed two nights and two days, walking the city, and riding a carriage horse, in which the tour guide provided us with some really interesting history about the city.  [Photos framed in Insta Booth – no editing]

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The carriage tour guide recommended we try Roger’s chocolate so we went there after the ride.  [Photos edited in VSCO Cam and framed in Insta Booth]

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The family walked the streets a couple of times.  Everything was pretty close so and the historical buildings made the walks enjoyable.  It was fun spending Canadian money.  I didn’t know they don’t use pennies or one dollar bills. [Photos edited and framed in Insta Booth]

VACCA3_072014_800As mentioned in an earlier post, I didn’t bring the DSLR but did bring the waterproof point and shoot.  Didn’t use it much though.  I think we only took five photos with it and then resorted to the camera phones.  They worked out pretty good.

Hoover Dam in Black and White

During our stay in Vegas, we drove to Hoover Dam and took a tour of the powerplant.  I’ve visited the Dam before in the couple of times I’ve been to Vegas (years ago) but I’ve never taken the tour (and I’m not sure why).  It was pretty fascinating to learn the history and go underground to see how everything worked.

Photos are of the Dam, bypass bridge, and powerplant.

Road Trip Photos

Photos of our road trip to Las Vegas.

We stayed at the Hotel at Mandalay Bay.  It was gorgeous, except for the headless statue near the self-park entrance.  Kylie was scared of it so each time we passed it she would look the other direction or close her eyes while one of us held her hand and told her when it was okay to look or open her eyes again.

Road Trip To Vegas

The family just got back from our road trip to Las Vegas.   I’ll be posting better photos soon.  The photo above was taken with my camera phone during our drive through the mountains.  We were stuck in the snow for about two hours because the roads were icy and someone probably either drove too fast and got into a slippery accident or semi’s blocked the way to chain their tires.