At the rate I am documenting our 3-week summer road trip, I should have us back home in sunny L.A. just about the time we leave for summer vacation 2012! Slow and steady, right? Anyway, I want to send a big shout out to my Mom and Dad who can now read this on their new iPad! Welcome to the 21st century, dear parents! I hope you enjoy all the pictures of your grandchildren!
After we left the Grand Canyon we traveled down to Flagstaff, AZ to spend the night. Don't ask Gustav how the hotel was. He will break into hives and start uttering under his breath about excessive points and lackluster facilities. He is right. It was a dud.
However, after we cleaned out the dud hotel at free-breakfast-time (seven people can do that pretty easily) we were off on another fantastic adventure. We hopped back on I-40 heading east and exited onto Route 66 in Holbrook, AZ to head toward the Petrified Forest National Park. Along the main street we passed this gem...The Wigwam Hotel. Can you say 'inspiration for Cars??' We HAD to stop and takes some pics. It was so super-cool!
No, I haven't slept in a wigwam lately...or ever, for that matter. I highly doubt they sleep seven without the cozy factor becoming unbearable. The period cars were neat-o, though.
Ever Mater was there!!
After our little unplanned detour (one of the things we so love about road trips) we headed to Petrified Forest National Park which is located within the beautiful Painted Desert of Northern Arizona. This place was amazing - maybe because I had no expectations at all...but I REALLY loved it. Of course, there is no actual forest, as it is located in the middle of the desert (actually it is categorized as grassland, but it seemed super desert-y to me). But there are many, many trees and partial trunks that have, over time, become rock. Some of the colors are simply beautiful. Here is my budding geologist, Lillian, enjoying the sights:
The day was perfect with a deep blue sky and beautiful puffy clouds. Just gorgeous.
The Painted Desert is simply breathtaking to drive through. Pictures do not do it justice.
After a bit more driving on scenic roads such as this one we made it to Albuquerque, NM. This time our hotel room was grand... a lovely little garden suite with a short walk to the pool and hot tub. The boys had endless fun with the luggage carts. I'm not sure which of my four boys enjoyed it most :-)
After much swimming, eating, and watching "hotel TV" (aka cable) we headed out the next morning for our longest driving day of the eastward trip - approximately 550 miles. As we sailed through the Texas panhandle we encountered some weather. The clouds were scary, but thankfully, they never started spinning around.
We spent a peaceful night in Oklahoma City and then moved on to Memphis the following day. Here's the gang getting ready to fill their faces with good 'ol Memphis BBQ at Marlowes Ribs & BBQ on Elvis Presley Blvd. Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives came through with that recommendation. The food was amazing!
Fat and Happy, Baby. Fat and Happy.